By Robert Romano
Polling in early election battleground states Iowa and New Hampshire finds likely Republican voters deeply opposed to bailing out European banks that bet poorly on the sovereign debt of socialist governments like Greece.
As reported by the National Review’s John Fund, overall, 76 percent of Republicans in Iowa, 68 percent in New Hampshire, and 77 percent in South Carolina oppose any U.S. involvement of bailing out Europe through the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
“These polls send a direct message to Republican candidates for President, which is if they support another bailout, they’re finished,” Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson declared.
The results have big implications for the 2012 Republican contest for the presidential nomination, Wilson said, whose group commissioned the two surveys conducted by the polling company, inc. in Iowa and New Hampshire in November. Both had samples of 500 likely Republican voters.
“In 2008, Republicans destroyed their brand by supporting the TARP bailouts for banks that were at the heart of the financial crisis. Politically, they were a catastrophe for the base and handed Democrats complete control of government for two years,” Wilson recalled.
In 2010, Republicans promised in the Pledge to America to “prevent Washington from forcing responsible taxpayers to subsidize irresponsible behavior by ending bailouts permanently”.
Wilson said the polling shows that Republicans have “a golden opportunity to restore the confidence of their base as the anti-bailout party” after their failure in 2008 to claim that mantle.
The U.S. currently contributes $65 billion to the IMF in quotas, $27.68 billion of which has already been lent in various bailouts throughout the world, including Europe. Additionally, in 2009, a Democrat-led Congress approved a $100 billion credit line to the IMF, only $5.9 billion of which has been used thus far.
Legislation by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers would repeal the $100 billion line of credit and recover the remaining $94 billion that has not yet been used. In a recent oped for Human Events, she warned, “The specter of European bailouts — and America’s involvement in them through the IMF — is a powerful issue that continues to grow and won’t go away.”
Last year, the IMF, with U.S. support, proposed doubling the current quota subscriptions to the IMF, bringing the U.S. total to $130 billion. The additional $65 billion would replace a portion of a 2009-approved $100 billion credit line.
But the Obama Administration has yet to make a formal request to Congress for the additional funding, as reported by the Washington Post. Wilson called it “simply a matter of time.”
“House Republicans have two opportunities to defeat U.S. involvement in the European bailouts. The first is by passing the McMorris Rodgers legislation, and the second will be defeating any increase of the U.S. quota to the IMF,” Wilson said, looking forward to the 2012 legislative agenda.
Ultimately, U.S. taxpayers should be held blameless for the crisis in Europe, Wilson said, concluding, “European socialism has failed and must be allowed to die. No more bailouts.”
Robert Romano is the Senior Editor of Americans for Limited Government.