A link to complete video of Hastings’ speech is included at the end of this post.
This past Friday night, Congressman Doc Hastings gave a speech that “revved up” the crowd, as a local newspaper headline put it. The speech was given to the Yakima County Republicans at their annual Lincoln Day Dinner. This year, the event was held at the Clarion Hotel in Yakima.
Hastings said that the Lincoln Day Dinner in the year following an election is the kickoff for the next year’s election. He joked that every year he always says that the upcoming election is the most important one we have ever had for this country. However, he said it really is the most important this time.
“If you wanted to pay off a trillion-dollar debt, and you wanted to pay it off at a rate of $1 million per day, it would take you over 3,000 years to pay it off. Our national debt is now over $14 trillion,” said Hastings.
In the two years since Obama took office, Hastings noted, there has been a 25% increase in the debt as expressed as a portion of our GDP. He said that entitlement spending is now 60% of our budget, and that we are kidding the young generations if we don’t do something about this level of spending.
“Programs such as Medicare and Medicaid have already tried some things that Congressman Paul Ryan proposes in his budget plan, and they have worked,” said Hastings. Welfare reform put more decision-making into the hands of the states, and has worked well in the past 15 years. He further said that the same thing can be done with Medicare and Medicaid through block grants to the states.
Hastings pointed out that Medicare Part D (the prescription drug benefit) has come in 40% under its projected budget. The reason for this, he said, is that the private industry has been brought in to provide services for this.
“When you allow the American people to make decisions that are best for them in their personal lives, you get the best results for the country,” said Hastings.
Congressman Hastings is the Chair of the National Resources Committee, and he noted that Obama’s actions are 180 degrees opposite of what he says. In 2008, gas prices went over $4 per gallon. At that time, there were Congressional and Presidential prohibitions on drilling for oil off California and Atlantic coasts.
When Obama took office, he closed off drilling areas on both coasts, with the exception of an area off of Virginia, and also closed off more areas in Alaska.
Hastings said that energy is vitally important to our economy, and that we have national security aspect the demands that we develop energy in our own country.
Our founding fathers put checks and balances into our government, and elections are part of that process, he said. In the last election, we had 80 new people join my caucus in Washington D.C. These new folks are making a huge difference in changing the debate in our country, he said. Hastings said that we control one-half of one-third of the government, so there is a lot of work left to do.
In closing, Congressman Hastings said:
“I am not prepared to say I am going to be a candidate in 2012, but I will say this, I can’t see myself not being a candidate in 2012!”