Isakson says small businesses are crucial

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson said Monday that the country needs to stop borrowing and creating debt.

"I went through four recessions when I had my company. I've never seen anything like this right now. It's pervasive, it's deep and it's protractive. We've got to do some things in Washington, or we're going to make it worse, not better," the Georgia Republican said in a speech to the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce's Member Economic Luncheon at Augusta Marriott Hotel and Suites.

It's also crucial to loosen credit so that small businesses can operate, he said.

"The best way to get out of debt is to raise your income. The best way to do that is raise business activity. More business produces more revenue. We need to extend the tax cuts of '01 and '03, and we ought to make them permanent," he said.

Earlier this year, Mr. Isakson said, he helped foster the Financial Markets Crisis Commission, a 10-member committee to examine the country's financial situation.

"We need some experts, fresh eyes and nonpoliticians looking at everything from Wall Street to Main Street," he said.

The United States also needs to further engage in trade and exports of U.S. products overseas and increase its use of nuclear energy, he said.

Mr. Isakson expects the U.S. will be able to reduce its level of troops in Iraq to fewer than 60,000 before the end of the year.

He also spoke of the health care debate in the Senate.

"The bill that passed the House will not see the light of day in the Senate," he said. "The House bill is only on life support for the time being, but could be resurrected at any time. I do think in the end, though, the value of the Senate and the way it's organized is going to help slow down what they were trying to make a runaway train."

Reach LaTina Emerson at (706) 823-3227 or latina.emerson@augustachronicle.com.

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