Saturday, December 26, 2009

Memo to Congress: No More Pork!

By Alan Caruba

On the day before Christmas, the Democrats in Congress passed a alleged healthcare reform bill that the vast majority of Americans did not want. Nearly a million Americans had showed up on September 12 to let them know that, but they ignored them and now they have spat in their face, along with the rest of us.

Democrats have forgotten that democracy is supposed to reflect the voice of the People..

And thank you, Republicans, who stood together in opposition. What was most evident about Obamacare was the appalling bribery, using public money, of various members of Congress including the worst offenders, Senators Ben Nelson and Mary Landrieu’s $300 million “Louisiana purchase.”

Given the size of the bill and others like it this past year, it is clear that America is being taken to the poorhouse as the result of the billions in “pork” projects being attached to virtually every bill passing through Congress these days. The Medicare bill is so flawed that it has been called a “monstrosity.” The failed “Stimulus” bill was nothing but pork.

A friend of mine, Wes Driggers, a state certified general contractor, recommended an idea whose time has surely come. As Wes points out, “the reality is that this immoral practice has been going on for over 100 years and it is a corrupt practice to buy votes from their constituents come next election time.”

Wes asks and answers the question, what is so wrong with the practice?

1. It encourages legislators to vote for bill they may not have voted for otherwise.

2. It encourages legislators to buy the votes of their constituents regardless of the merit of the project.

3. It forces the taxpayers of the whole country to pay for a State’s project that may only potentially benefit that state. The Senate’s oldest serving member, Robert Byrd (D) of West Virginia, has become famous for the many projects there that bear his name at the expense of the other 49 States.

What needs to be done? Driggers recommends the following:

1. Term limits for all legislators. The Founding Fathers believed that men of virtue would serve a term or two and then return home, but we now have Senators and Representatives who, due to the practice of “seniority” and reelection, serve for decades. The voter’s inclination to simply reelect an incumbent member of Congress unless he has been found to be corrupt (and sometimes even then!) is itself an invitation to corrupt values and judgments.

2. Specifically, it should be illegal to include any spending provisions in any bill that are not directly associated with the main reason for the bill. In addition, make it illegal for the federal government to fund projects for any one State to the exclusion of others with the exception of aid required by natural disasters.

3. While we’re at it, the ever-expanding “perks” for legislators beyond their salaries should be reduced or eliminated until the budget is balanced.

4. And, of course, require by law that the federal budget be balanced every year. There should also be an end for all “off budget” items.

Both Wes Driggers and I agree that these proposals are not likely to be embraced by a Congress that now appears to be so corrupt that it is beyond redemption, but candidates in the 2010 midterm elections and those to come should be asked to sign a public statement to the effect that they support these measures.

Unless some degree of rationality returns to Congress, this nation is in deep trouble. Something is terribly wrong when the debt ceiling has been raised to $12.4 trillion in an economy that generates about $14 trillion Gross Domestic Product annually.

According to the Committee for Responsible Federal Budget, U.S. public debt has risen from 41% to 53% of GDP in the past year alone. They project it will be 85% by 2018. I believe this is a deliberate effort by the President and his cohorts to bankrupt the nation.


Rose said...

Good points. Let's hope for some measure of sanity. Though HOPE has become a four letter word.

Karl said...

I asked a contractor friend of mine for advise the other day too. I asked him how to repair a problem
I was having with my home.

I must have missed something about the Republicans. I do agree that the Democrats were bought out just like Republican are. To me they are Demobicans and Republicrats. I see little difference in how they operate. Sure they say different things when they use their political speak, but talk is cheap. Action is the true mark of any person. They all continue to rob from the poor and give to the rich...the true redistribution of wealth in this corrupted political/economic system we have today.

Are you saying that the Republican are listening to the People's demands for a single payer/Medicare for all health care system all year? A system where the government runs the administration of billing and payments, but does not own the doctors, hospitals, drug companies, etc. A system that already represents some of the People...Medicare.

This sort of system also makes it more profitable for businesses, as they can compete globally with businesses that do not have to pay for medical insurance. I recall Walmart calling for Single Payer last year and I thought for sure that we would get it if corporate powers want it. Too bad the Drug dealers and insurance robber barons had larger bribes for Congress.

Thanks to you and Republicans for standing up for Single Payer! That is great!

Yes, let's get the pork out of appropriation bills. Let's stop funding the Pentagon with so much pork. So much pork gets into military spending and it can't get out, because if someone votes against it after being added to a defense spending bill, they will be thought to not want to defend the country. So much of their budget is not about defense, but pork. Let's end that. Some of that pork even kills soldiers as we have seen in Iraq with faulty work done with pork spending in the Green Zone of Iraq.

I do agree. Congress has been bought and paid for a long time. This must end. Republicrats and Demoblicans are doing the bidding of the Corporations and not the People.

Public financing of campaigns would end a lot of the problems. An end to lobbyists and Supreme Court judges that go from public life to private life and back to public life...always serving their corporate masters.

This debt is a concern. It is unfortunate that the Republicans have done so much to run up the debt. Reagan inherited $1 trillion in debt. George II doubled the debt in his eight years. In reality, Congress spends the money, so actually Congress is the villain.

Clinton was the only one to balance the budget and stop borrowing money from Saudi Arabi and China. Good lord, what has this world come to if Clinton is the only President in the last few decades to do as you suggest, reduce the national debt.

Obama really is following Republican tactics of borrowing and spending. Obviously, Obama is black so now it is a bad thing. Democrats tax and spending and Republican tax our grandchildren and spend. Not much of a difference, except the kids can't do anything to vote Congress out of office.

A proportional vote would be helpful too.

Term limits should be used with moderation. We have incumbents because of corrupt campaign financing not because of term limits. Their is something to be said for experience. However, one needs more and more money each election to get elected without public financing. The person with the most money wins under current laws. The Supreme Court will probably make that worse in an upcoming case.