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Senator Fritz Hollings' Farewell Speech


Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Mr. President, my distinguished colleague, Senator Graham, has been more than generous, and I thank him not just for today but for the years to come. I do so genuinely in the sense that his coming here as a Senator is like going over on the wall and turning on the lights. Here I had somebody diligently working to get things done. That is why I came to the Senate, to get things done for South Carolina. And Senator Graham has not only worked hard --we all work hard; there is no lazy Senator in the 100 Senators -- but he has that secret of making friends. After all, this is a political body, and you cannot get things done unless you make friends.

He instantly came to the Chamber and started working with Democratic Senators, which was a surprise to me. Things are so confrontational at the present time in politics, to see that occur, I said: That fellow is going to be here a long time. And I believe it. He is going to be here a long time.

Just this past week, he got on to my crusade of trying to get jobs and industry. He's following in the footsteps of, our distinguished former colleague, the senior Senator from Kentucky, Wendell Ford, who is on the floor and graces us. He makes me feel like old times when he was our whip, and no one, as chairman of the Rules Committee, did a better job. But Lindsey Graham went out of his way to get things done.

This past week he has been taking around ambassadors from various countries to prompt their interest in investing in South Carolina. As Governor, I started going on trips in 1960 to encourage businesses to move to South Carolina, and now we have 134 German companies in South Carolina. We have French Michelin, and we have Japanese Hitachi, Fuji, and others. Now, Senator Graham is working the beat. He is a realist, and he knows how to get things done.

I cannot thank him enough for being already distinguished, not just because we gave him the title, but because I have heard from colleagues on both sides of the aisle: That fellow, Lindsey Graham, is really a fine fellow. He is working, and you really ought to be proud of him.

I address the distinguished Senator from South Carolina by saying that the only way I can show my gratitude is to make sure he gets this desk. I have the John C. Calhoun desk. You will laugh, Wendell. When I got here I told Senator Russell, I would like to have this desk. He said: Colleague, colleague, colleague -- you know how he talked -- I guess you would like to have this desk. My father sat at this desk, my mother sat at this desk, and I am sitting at this desk.

I said: Excuse me, I didn't know all three of them had been there.

He came to me the night before he left, and gave me the Calhoun desk, and I am going to make sure the Sergeant at Arms gets this desk to Senator Graham.

This is my chance to thank my colleagues for putting up with me for 38 years. I thank the distinguished staff, not just my staff and the committee staff, but particularly this afternoon the floor staff, Marty and Lula and everybody else. We couldn't get anything done without their wonderful help. And I thank the poor reporters. If you can understand what I am saying -- They are always asking later, Mr. President: What did he say and how did he say it?

I will never forget politicking for President. I went up to Worcester, MA. I kept calling it Worcester. I knocked on the door and the lady said: Who are you? I said: Fritz Hollings. She thought it was a German trucking company. I do thank the reporters who have done an outstanding job for me over the many years.

I started my career as a trial lawyer, and I made enough as a good trial lawyer to afford to come to Washington and be in the United States Senate. Senators don't make enough money. You ought to double their pay, and I say that before leaving. I have said that along with Ted Stevens for years. No little young fledgling lawyer, such as Hollings, can afford to run, keep up two homes, and everything else. It can't happen anymore. You all are just politically using the salary and not really attracting the best of the best.

I don't leave with the idea that the Senate is not what it used to be in the sense of personnel. We have a way better group of Senators. We had five drunks or six drunks when I came here. There is nobody drunk in the United States Senate. We don't have time to be drunk and, more than that, we have the women. We had one woman early in my career. She was outstanding, but she was outstandingly quiet. That was Margaret Chase Smith from Maine, a wonderful lady. Now we have 14, and you can't shut them up. They keep on talking and talking and talking. If you get into a debate with Barbara Mikulski or Barbara Boxer, they will take your head off, I can tell you that. They know how to present a viewpoint, and that is very valuable.

The Senators have done a wonderful job. The Senate itself is the greatest of institutions, but I know we can do better. As a trial lawyer, I was overjoyed. When I came here, we had the proceeding to learn the truth and we could hear the best of witnesses. I had better clients as a United States Senator, and obviously, I could make the final argument to the jury and then go in the jury room and vote. That, to me, is a trial lawyer. I had reached the ultimate.

Yet as I am leaving, I am very sensitive to the full docket of unfinished business. I am constantly being asked about legacy, legacy, legacy. I am thinking the things we ought to have done long ago and have not done because rather than seeking the truth -- and I say this advisedly -- we have obscured it.

Take right now the issue that is going to confront us tomorrow afternoon or Thursday of raising the debt limit. I read the business page of the New York Times this morning. We are spending at the rate of $600 billion more than we are taking in. That is a deficit.

Don't give me this doubletalk of on-budget deficit, off-budget, or Government debt and public debt. We are spending $600 billion more than we are taking in, which is 6 percent of our GNP. In the European Union, if you exceed 3 percent of your gross national product, you are not eligible to be in the European Union. Here we are telling the world what they ought to do in diplomacy, international affairs defense affairs, and fiscal affairs, and we would not even be eligible to be in the European Union.

We have, Mr. President, the economy on steroids. Add it up. Add up the deficit of 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004 -- those 4 years -- and you have $1.7 trillion that we have goosed into the economy with these tax cuts. We have not increased spending on the war $1.7 trillion. No, no. We have tax cut, tax cut, tax cut, and they still want more tax cuts. I am talking bipartisan because both sides are guilty. I am not talking in a partisan fashion.

We have to do something about that deficit. I was here when we balanced the budget without Social Security in 1968. President Clinton got the Government back into the black. But when Bush came in he turned a $6 trillion projected surplus, to a $5 trillion projected deficit, and now we have to increase the debt limit. Now the dollar is in a deep dive. Interest rates are going to have to go up. We are depending on financing our debt some $700 billion by the Japanese, $170 billion by the Chinese, and $67 billion by Korea. Can you imagine going with a tin cup to Korea, begging: Please finance my debt because I need another tax cut?

What about Social Security? Let's tell the truth about it because there isn't any question that we have been spending Social Security moneys for any and everything but Social Security, in violation of the law.

And don't give me this thing about, oh, yeah, Lyndon Johnson used Social Security. He did not. Look at the record. He balanced it, and we did not spend Social Security moneys until the seventies when Wilbur Mills, the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee on the House side, started giving these inordinate COLAs. We started draining the fund.

We appointed the Greenspan Commission in 1983. The Greenspan Commission came out with an inordinately high tax to take care of the baby boomers in the next generation. Don't misunderstand me. They act like the baby boomers are coming along as a new problem. We foresaw that in 1983. We said, as a result of this high tax, do not spend this money on anything but Social Security.

I fought like a tiger, but we finally got it into law. On November 5, 1990, George Herbert Walker Bush, signed into law section 13301 that says that the President and the Congress cannot use for budget purposes Social Security moneys.

I was talking a minute ago to my distinguished colleague from South Carolina. He is going to try, I guess, to raise taxes. I would support it so long as we are not raising taxes for anything and everything but Social Security. You are going to have to increase the age. You are going to have to get some revenues to make it fiscally sound. But if we started immediately with the Social Security surplus going to just the Social Security trust fund, we immediately have $160 billion, and with that $160 billion in 7 years, we would have a trillion dollars and you wouldn't have to worry until 2045 or 2050, and there would not be any crisis. We ought to study that.

It is the same with trade. Everywhere in the land people cry: Free trade, free trade, free trade. There is no such thing; never has there been and never will there be free trade. I know about freer governmental restrictions, subsidies, and quotas, but that is not going to happen.

People ought to remember that we built this industrial giant and power, the United States of America, with protectionism. The Brits corresponded with the Founding Fathers, and they said: Under David Ricardo's comparative advantage, what needs to be done is we will trade with you what we produce best and you trade back with us what you produce best. Free trade, free trade, free trade.

Hamilton wrote the Report on Manufacturers. He said to Britain: Bug off, we are not going to remain your colony. We are going to maintain our own manufacturing capacity. The second bill that ever passed this Congress in history, on July 4, 1789, was a 50-percent tariff on articles and we started with protectionism, linking the steel mills with protectionism. Roosevelt came in with protective subsidies on agriculture. Our friend, President Eisenhower, had import quotas on oil -- protectionism. President Kennedy came in with a 7-point program to protect textiles. More recently, our good friend President Ronald Reagan, put in voluntary restraint agreements on automobiles, steel, hand tools, and semiconductors.

Ask Andy Grove if he would have Intel today if President Reagan had not put in that protectionist measure. There would not be any Intel.

We did that with Sematech and everybody knows it. But we were treating trade as aid in the war of capitalism versus communism right after World War II. We had the only industry. So we sent over, with the Marshall Plan, money, experts, equipment, and we started giving away my textile industry -- giving it away.

Right now 70 percent of the clothing I am looking at is imported; 86 percent of the shoes on the floor are imported. It is all gone. All that time they said: Don't worry. We are going to be a service economy. My light bill in South Carolina is administered in Bangalore, India. So we have lost the service economy. We have lost the manufacturing economy and capacity.

What happens is your security is like a three-legged stool. You have the one leg, your values as a nation. Around the world we stand for individual freedom and democracy. We have the second leg, unquestioned, as a military superpower. The third leg -- the economy -- has been fractured intentionally and we are happy about it because capitalism has defeated communism in Europe, in the Soviet Union, and in the Pacific rim. And it is defeating it right now in China. Let's not disturb it and what have you, except to begin to compete. As Akio Morita says: That world power that loses its manufacturing capacity will cease to be a world power. What we need to do is to rebuild.

We can begin to immediately rebuild by changing the culture, the mindset, the legislation. Around here we passed, 4 weeks ago, a $50 billion tax cut bill that was supposed to represent foreign credit sales. Instead, it subsidized the export of jobs, the outsourcing of jobs overseas.

We are still treating trade as aid. If you are going to open up Sununu Manufacturing, before you open the door you have to have a minimum wage, clean air, clean water, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, plant closing notice, parental leave, OSHA, a safe working place, safe machinery, and I can go all the way down. And in Manchester, NH, your competition has moved to China because they can operate and produce there for 58 cents an hour and none of those requirements. If you don't move to China yourself, you are going broke. You will go bankrupt.

The policy of the crowd that is hollering and wailing and moaning about the outsourcing of jobs is exactly the policy of the very crowd that is causing that outsourcing. If you head up a multinational, you are supposed to compete and make a profit.

We are supposed to create a strong economy and produce jobs. The Congress of the United States, the Senate, we are the guilty parties. We have to put in a change of the culture. We need a Department of Trade and Commerce, and to put the Special Trade Representative over there and to do away with the International Trade Commission, because this is just a sop. The International Trade Administration -- and not Commission -- should find the penalty rather than having that separate hearing and say there is no injury and everything else of that kind.

I have worked with the lawyers. We need a Deputy Attorney General for Trade in the Justice Department. We have one for antitrust. We have one for civil rights. We have one for taxation. We don't have one for trade. We need somebody enforcing those laws. We need, by gosh, to turn around and start competing the way they have done.

Let me just say what we need to do is get ahold of ourselves and realize we have a problem. I was at a meeting earlier today where one of the Senators was counseling the new Senators: Don't take too many committees. The new ones are going to take all the committees. Our time has come. We want it all. So we want all the committees.

The rules ought to say a Senator should not be on any more than two committees. You can't keep up with it. I am on the Appropriations Committee. They used to have 17 members; now they have 29 members. You know, the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense has 19 members. You can't hardly get a quorum for the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense. Everybody wants to be on all the committees, so you have your staffs doing all the work, because you can't keep up.

But the main culprit, the cancer on the body politic, is money: Money, money, money. When I ran 6 years ago, in 1998, I raised $8.5 million. That $8.5 million is $30,000 a week, every week, for 6 years. If you miss Christmas week, you miss New Years week, you are $100,000 in the hole and don't you think we don't know it and we start to work harder at raising money.

As a result, the Senate doesn't work on Mondays and Fridays. We have longer holidays. The policy committee is adjourned and we go over to the campaign building because you can't call for money in the office. So we go over to the building and call for money and obviously we only can give attention to that. We don't have time for each other. We don't have time for constituents, except for the givers. Somebody ought to tell the truth about that. Unless and until we excise this cancer, the Congress and Government is going to languish alone because it has to be done.

When I helped write the Federal Election Campaign Practices Act in 1973, we said each Senator would be limited to so much per registered voter. That meant that Strom Thurmond and I were limited to $637,000. Fast forward 25 years, add in inflation, and give me $2.5 million. Quadruple it, $2.5 million but not $8.5 or $10 million that you have to spend because all your time is on the campaign and not the country. I can tell you right now we are in real, real trouble.

I worked with John McCain and Russell Feingold on the McCain-Feingold. I worked with Senator Biden on public finance. What really needs to be done, and I tried 20 years ago, is to put in a constitutional amendment that Congress is hereby empowered to regulate or control spending in Federal elections.

Then we can go back to the 1973 act: So much per registered voter. When you are limited to $2.5 million, you have limited the campaign. You have limited the time of the campaign; you have limited the expenditures of the campaign. Then you have time for constituents. Then you have time for problems.

When I came here, Mike Mansfield would have a vote at 9 o'clock just about every Monday morning and we would work to Friday at 5 o'clock. We all stayed here on the weekends and we didn't have all of these long holidays we have now..

But if you want to limit campaigning and if you want to change -- as Abe Lincoln said -- disenthrall ourselves of the dogmas of the quiet past that are inadequate for the stormy present of money grubbing, then we have to think anew and act anew. We need to disenthrall ourselves from this money grubbing and go to work finally for the country instead of the campaign.

That is our situation. I have watched it. I have studied it. I have seen it. They don't have me going to meetings. They have me going to the telephone and calling and calling, traveling all over the country for money. Money is a cancer on the body politic.

Other than that, I have spoken seriously about trying to face up to some of these problems that we have confronting us. There are a lot of opportunities.

They are talking now about immigration. Mexico is not a foreign country. They are our neighbor. All you have to do is put down the billions that we spend: Give them a Marshall Plan, increase their standard of living just like Canada. Then you don't have immigration. I can tell you right now, the money spent on immigration, drugs, and border patrol, and financing that government out of the banks in New York and then refinancing it on us taxpayers, we could have a Marshall Plan and solve the problem.

There are a lot of problems that we can solve. But if there is a last word, it is one of gratitude. This has been the finest experience I have ever had. When you come right down to it, I was always worried that I couldn't make enough money to stay in Washington. Now I have looked at my trial lawyer colleagues who made a lot of money. Most of them are dead. Those who are alive are looking for a new golf course and a new drink and they don't know anything about what is going on and they are not interested in anything going on. If you really want to be enriched in your life be a United States senator. The best postgraduate course is to run and be in this Senate.

It is with heartfelt gratitude I thank the colleagues for their indulgence this afternoon, particularly my colleague, Senator Graham. We just have a fine time working together, and I know he will be representing us in the Senate for years to come.

Mr. President, I yield the floor.

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