I would like to welcome Senator Schumer and all of my colleagues to the first hearing of the Economic Policy Subcommittee of the 108th Congress. I would also like to thank all of our witnesses for testifying today.
Today we have the first of a series of hearings titled; "Jumpstarting the Economy". I am very concerned with the state of our economy. I am very worried about the possibility of a double-dip recession. I know that puts me at odds with more optimistic economic experts, like Chairman Greenspan, but we have disagreed before. We are not growing like we can, and we are not creating jobs. There are many reasons for this.
I believe Chairman Greenspan acted way to slow to cut rates back in early 2001. He should have cut them in the fall of 2000. The corporate governance scandals have hurt trust in the markets. Sarbanes-Oxley and other actions have helped, but it will take a long time for corporate America to rebuild that trust. September 11th, had a devastating effect on our economy. The two wars we have had since then have also not helped.
The reason why most of these events have been so harmful to this economy is because they have created uncertainty in our markets. If there is one thing that shakes the markets, it is uncertainty. I am hopeful that our witnesses today will help us find a way to bring some certainty back to our markets.
Since the height of the bull market in March of 2000 the stock markets' market value has been reduced by about $8.5 trillion. At the market's high back in early 2000, the market cap of the Wilshire 5000 totaled $17 trillion. By the time of the market's low in early October, the index's market cap had shrunk by about half that amount, or about $8.5 trillion. We have a $10 trillion economy. We have had stock losses of $8.5 trillion in three years. It is not surprising that investors are skittish.
But if we are going to grow this economy, we have to get people investing again. We need to create capital so businesses have the ability to invest and grow. Before we adjourn for Memorial Day, we will be voting on a growth package. I think it is crucial that we send a package to the President for his signature. I wish the package was bigger, I hope $350 billion is enough to move a $10 trillion economy. But we must make this start. We must create jobs and we must make sure our economy grows.
We must bring some certainty back to the markets if we are ever going to grow this economy and prevent a double-dip.
Once again, I thank all of our witnesses for testifying today.