Enquirer Photo: Clif Knight Ted Grantland of Priceville, right, chats with U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks following a town hall meeting in Hartselle Monday night.  | Clif Knight
Ted Grantland of Priceville, right, chats with U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks following a town hall meeting in Hartselle Monday night. | Clif Knight

Archived Story

Brooks: Debt unsustainable

Published 12:01pm Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Fifth District U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville, painted a bleak picture for the nation’s economic future at a lively town hall meeting at Hartselle High School Monday night.

“Our $17 trillion national debt is unsustainable,” he told a large crowd of listeners. “The interest alone is $251 billion a year during a period of historic low rates. In personal terms, my daughter, son-in-law and each of their three children have a $55,000 debt hanging over their heads. When you consider the fact that only about one-half of American workers pay income tax, the debt rises to $110,000 each.”

“Our huge debt is also the biggest threat to our national security,” he added. “and that’s a conclusion reached by our own Joint Chiefs of Staff. “We have fewer aircraft in the Air Force, fewer ships in the Navy and the smallest number of men and women in uniform than before World War II.”

He said a $300 to $400 billion increase in revenue this fiscal year was the result of three or four tax increases on individual taxpayers, not because the government spent less.

He also said he opposes raising the country’s debt ceiling but would not want to see a government shutdown where salaries of military personnel are withheld and Social Security payments are stopped.

Christopher Wilson of Hartselle asked Brooks to explain his position with respect to the National Security Agency’s authority to monitor phone calls of U.S. citizens as a means of uncovering plans of terrorist activity.

Brooks said a lot of false information has been spread regarding NSA activity.

“Only 300 queries have been made and all of those involved phones calls from the U. S. to foreign countries,” Brooks pointed out. “Every court decision has upheld what NSA is doing. On a positive note, 54 terrorist attacks have been stopped and 13 of those involved the U.S.”

He said when NSA has telephone information that raises questions it is turned over to the FBI or the appropriate agency of a foreign government. From there, nothing moves forward unless the FBI has a search warrant.

The question of Brooks’ position on immigration reform was raised by a six-year-old Hispanic girl (U.S. citizen) who read a letter asking for help to be reunited with her father who is living in Mexico.

Brooks said he doesn’t support immigration reform legislation being sponsored by the “Big Eight in the U.S. Senate” because it would result in an economic burden on U.S. citizens.

“It would mean 44 million more people with legal status living in the U. S. over a 10-year period,” Brooks pointed out. “Wages of American workers would go down and unemployment would go up.

“I’m not anti-immigration but I’m against legalizing illegal conduct.”

Brooks said he favors an integration policy that welcomes foreigners who have the skills and abilities to contribute more to the government in terms of tax revenue than what they expect the government to do for them.

When asked for an assessment of the hour and a half meeting that attracted about 15 questions form the audience, Brooks said: “This is what town halls are about. I very much enjoy discourse. Sometimes you agree and sometimes you don’t. It’s the nature of politics, and we witnessed a very vigorous discussion tonight.”

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