• 63°

Wicker in Picayune

Sen. Roger Wicker edvisit to the Republican party headquarters in Picayune on Friday to meet with constituents.

On the campaign trail to rally his supporters, Wicker met with the Picayune Item to discuss some current issues.

Key topics centered around energy independence, the financial markets bail-out plan and what can be done to help with the current economic crisis.

Lifting the drilling ban, which expired Oct. 1, could be a good thing for the nation. However, Wicker said lifting of the ban will not greatly increase drilling in the Gulf of Mexico since a compromise to open up that area was reached two years ago. While that compromise put the Gulf states ahead of the game for increased drilling, the current lack of a ban will help other areas of the United States along the coasts of the Atlantic and Pacific.

Congress could go back and enforce the ban at any time, but if the ban stays off, Wicker expects increased drilling will be a boon for the economy.

Energy independence is possible, and Wicker said to do that he agrees withtelevision commercials by T. Boone Pickens. Currently, the United States spends about $700 billion buying energy from other countries. Finding energy independence will create a number of jobs for Americans, improving the U.S. economy. He thinks using natural gas combined with more drilling and better use of oil shale can help.

Wicker said he did not vote for the recent bail out of troubled Wall Street financial firms. He said Mississippians appear suspicious of a government solution, especially one that has shown no effect on the market. He said that for seven straight days the market has continued to suffer in spite of the bailout.

“The bailout clearly was not an immediate solution,” Wicker said.

Wicker said his solution would be to continue with a free market and pass a permanent, or even temporary repeal, of the capital gains tax.

“We can only hope that things will turn around,” Wicker said.

The community reinvestment act, which forced lenders to make loans to people who may not be credit worthy, has only hurt the economy, Wicker said. He said he called for a resolution of Fannie Mae and Fannie Mac in 2005, and he thinks that if it had gone through, then their current crisis could have been avoided.

To cure some of the economic woes affecting the nation, Wicker said the last thing the people need is higher taxes. Instead, he proposes to make the 2001 tax cuts permanent and repeal laws that send tax dollars overseas.