“They’re treating an infection with aspirin instead of an antibiotic. It’ll take the fever down but not cure the underlying infection,” Eighth Congressional District candidate Darcy Burner told the Redmond Rotary Club on Thursday, referring to a government bailout of banks crippled by the nationwide mortgage crisis.
“Reforming the banking system” and being “really smart in how we invest to grow the economy,” were the themes of Burner’s brief presentation.
Burner’s opponent, incumbent Congressman Dave Reichert (R-Auburn), had been invited to the luncheon meeting, as well. But with Reichert engrossed in the vote for or against the $700 billion bailout, Burner appeared solo.
Rotarian Brad Lehrer introduced Burner, a Democrat, citing her blue-collar, military family background and how she earned a prestigious college degree and successful career at Microsoft before entering the political arena.
Burner told the group that when she accepted a scholarship from ConAgra in 1989, it was with a condition that she’d take at least an introductory course in economics.
As it turned out, “I love economics. My degree is in computer science and economics. The last couple weeks, this has come in very handy. It’s what’s on everyone’s minds,” she said.
She traced the country’s current economic woes back to 1999 when banks were released from restrictions that prohibited them from risky mortgage transactions. People’s income has gone down while costs of food, fuel and housing have steadily increased.
“This makes it a whole lot harder for families to pay their bills. Banks have extended more and more credit … and made riskier and riskier mortgages, with everyone hoping reality wouldn’t catch up. But reality caught up,” Burner stated.
She expressed concern for middle-class Americans who are caught in the middle of this problem.
“You’re at the pizza place down the street or any company who uses credit in a responsible way. … Your credit is pulled back through no fault of yours. Now you’re laying people off.”
And she alluded to the fact that Republicans — including her opponent, Reichert — have contributed to the problem, when she added, “We have to get this country back on track. We’ve been off track for eight years.”
A member of the audience commented, “People are sick of partisanship. Blame is on both sides.”
Burner acknowledged that there must be agreement across party lines to reform the banking industry.
“I don’t think either party is completely right or wrong. We can’t fix the problem we have without addressing the mortgages,” she said.
Describing herself as “socially progressive and fiscally conservative,” Burner concluded with an idea that would help the economy, “investing in new industries, energy for instance …” instead of giving “massive subsidies to the oil companies.”
Eighth Congressional District
David Reichert vs. Darcy Burner
Oct. 8: Meydenbauer Center, Bellevue
Paid luncheon. Register in advance at www.seattlecityclub.org or call 206-682-7395
On-site registration begins at 11:30 a.m.