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U.S. Rep. Bob Latta (R., Bowling Green), in a local radio interview Friday, raised the specter of a drift toward socialism following passage of a $787 billion stimulus bill in the House of Representatives.
Mr. Latta said the bill was passed without Republicans having input on it, and said the public will find out what's in it only after the bill's passage.
The bill passed the House 246-183 without a single Republican vote.
In an interview with WSPD-AM 1370 host Brian Wilson, Mr. Latta brought up the current cover of Newsweek magazine, which bears the headline "We are all socialists now."
"I was looking for the hammer and sickle someplace on there," Mr. Latta said, referring to the symbols of the former Soviet Union.
Asked later by The Blade whether he thought the stimulus bill takes the United States in the direction of socialism, he said, "Yeah, yep."
"If you want government to take everything, if you want government to take more and more over with the banks, more of the industries, all of a sudden you're going to have a government auto czar, right there, right down the line, that's socialism," he said.
"We might not be quite there yet, but when magazines are talking about socialism, I think it's time for Americans to look at the Constitution and say, 'Is this what we were handed by our forefathers in September of 1787?' and I think not," Mr. Latta said. "I think America is a much better country than what we're doing now."
"Socialism is when government's taking care of you, you send all your money to the government, the government decides how to spend it instead of letting the people spend it and make all those decisions. Obama has said we've got to keep spending this money," Mr. Latta said.
The $787 billion bill was touted by Democrats and President Obama as a solution to the deepening recession because it would extend financial help to struggling Americans and it would spend money on infrastructure projects that will put people to work.
Mr. Latta said the bill just adds to the country's debt, and will not save or create the 3.5 million jobs its backers claim.
"I don't think we're going to see that happen. They're already saying if this doesn't work, we're going to spend more money," Mr. Latta said.
"They're going to have to increase taxes to start paying for this."
U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) said she voted for the bill because it strengthens the safety net for millions of seniors and unemployed Americans and because it makes "important investments in our future."
"Although I wish it would have focused more on job creation in the short-term, I am also encouraged by the commitment to green energy, infrastructure projects, and high-speed rail," Miss Kaptur said.
U.S. Rep. John Dingell (D., Dearborn) said he was distressed the bill was "rushed" through the House, but felt passage was critical to help hungry and unemployed people in Michigan.
"The bill will bring more than 8,500 new jobs to my district and more than 100,000 to Michigan, That is something to be excited about," Mr. Dingell said. His district includes Monroe County.
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