Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) took Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to task on Wednesday for saying the looming sequester would be “catastrophic” for the economy and asked Bernanke to submit his own long-term plan to reduce government waste and spending.
Bernanke was testifying on monetary policy before the House Financial Services Committee, and Duffy accused Bernanke of “giving cover to a set of policies that aren’t responsible.”
“We are all going to pay a price for policies that aren’t responsible,” Duffy said. “Instead of encouraging responsibility, you come in and say, ‘listen, to cut 2 percent of our budget, you can’t do it. It’s going to have a great impact on our economy.'”
Duffy said he–and most Americans–can cut 2% from the household budget, and small businesses have been forced to cut 2% from theirs in Obama’s economy. Meanwhile Congress and President Barack Obama claim it would be “catastrophic” if the federal government cuts 2% from its budget.
“I find it to be unbelievable,” Duffy said of the government’s reluctance to make small cuts in its budget.
The Tea Party Congressman said government spends $2.2 billion to provide free cell phones for the poor, funds studies to study shrimp on treadmills, and pays for the travel expenses for the Watermelon Queen in Alabama.
“How many jobs are lost if we cut the $27 million that goes to Moroccan pottery classes?” Duffy asked, noting there was “a lot of fat” in the budget.
Bernanke continued to say that he was “concerned about the short-term impact on jobs” the sequester would have, implying that government waste actually drives some economic sectors.
Duffy told Bernanke that if he did not like the approach of those in Congress who wanted to cut the budget, the Federal Reserve Chairman could supply Congress in writing of his plan to cut spending in the long term.
“Whenever we try to cut spending, you come at us and say, ‘don’t cut spending today–no, no, no, cut it tomorrow,'” Duffy told Bernanke.