During a recent Congressional hearing that discussed federal economic aid given to individual states, one witness spent a few minutes in the comfort zone. He cruised along, touting his views with confidence and poise.
And then a Representative destroyed his argument completely, turning that witness' brief moment in the limelight into an ugly charade he'd never forget.
The verbal joust took place in a hearing conducted by the Congressional Oversight Commission, a small oversight group created by the CAREs act.
According to its website, the group handles the following:
"The COC is a bipartisan Commission specifically tasked with overseeing how the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Federal Reserve) are utilizing specific taxpayer funds to provide economic stability as a result of the [pandemic]."
The witness, Republican Chris Edwards, who directs tax policy studies at the Cato Institute, was asked about the benefits of federal state aid. Simply put, the commission wanted to hear if good things happen when federal funds are given directly to states in economic crises such as the current one.
During his time on the stand, Edwards made it clear that he did not believe federal aid to states was wise at all. But one of the members of the Commission, Democrat Bharat Ramamurti, pushed on that premise and the evidence Edwards gave for it.
Ramamurti pointed to an earlier claim made by Edwards: that a 2019 study illustrated that a dollar of federal aid regularly resulted in less than a dollar of economic growth in the state to which it was given.
Edward agreed, and Ramamurti had him right where he wanted.
Ramamurti then took total control of the moment and utterly dismantled Edwards' take on that study, explaining that it actually showed just how beneficial aid can be, the direct opposite of what Edwards said:
"I actually took a careful look at the study, and it also says, later, that when monetary policy is very accommodated — in other words, when interest rates are low and will be low for a long time — government spending in the United States can generate $1.50 or more in returns for every dollar."
"So, as I'm sure you know, Mr. Edwards, interest rates are currently at zero. And the Fed announced yesterday that it was planning to keep them that way through 2023. So do you agree that the study you've cited actually suggests a return of far more than a dollar on every dollar we dedicate to state and local aid right now?"
When Edwards answered back with the claim that the study was based on "a lot of uncertainties," Ramamurti had an answer waiting.
He whipped out a letter that he received from the author of the study which said that, in our current economic conditions, every federal dollar would result in $1.20-$1.50 growth for the state.
Ramamurti then proudly stated that his time was up, Congressional hearing equivalent of a mic drop.
Watch the entire exchange below in all its glory.
A Republican witness testified today that federal aid to states wouldn’t produce much economic growth. This is what… https://t.co/WgjpNiybPq— Bharat Ramamurti (@Bharat Ramamurti)1600379747.0
People on Twitter loved Ramamurti's triumphant effort and lauded his preparedness.
@BharatRamamurti There's a whole slew of representatives who currently do their homework before questioning witness… https://t.co/UERRAQcq3v— josh T. (@josh T.)1600385610.0
@BharatRamamurti Brilliant. Did his homework. Called the author and got an update saying spending in the states is… https://t.co/P3oDGfcrII— Karl Ronn (@Karl Ronn)1600381565.0
@BharatRamamurti @daveweigel 👍 I was watching and thinking "Please have a statement from the author! Please have a… https://t.co/s5oOzZD4X4— David Williams (@David Williams)1600380634.0
@DavidWi88065178 @BharatRamamurti @daveweigel The only thing that would have been better would be for the camera to… https://t.co/ahXjKJbv9s— Tim Chase (@Tim Chase)1600388813.0
@BharatRamamurti Nice burn. But really it’s unfortunate you had to bother the author. It was obvious he was cherr… https://t.co/vAjLziIHlr— DaddySnark (@DaddySnark)1600382732.0
Moral of the story: plan for EVERYTHING when you go to Congress and share your views. Literally everything.