Tuesday, June 16, 2015
545 people are responsible for the mess, but they unite in a common con It begins, “Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.” Charley makes the point that we citizens “…don’t propose the federal budget –the president does. We don’t vote on appropriations –congress does. We don’t write the tax code –congress does. If the tax code is unfair, it's because they want it unfair. If the budget is in the red, it's because they want it in the red... Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party….”
Recently I received a fund-raising appeal from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-WV) on behalf of Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) because McConnell says we need to keep the Senate in “conservative” hands. Excuse me, words have meanings and conservative does NOT fit Sen. Kirk. The truly conservative Heritage Action Scorecard rates Kirk down with liberal Democrats at 27% --only Republicans Sen. Collins (R-ME) and Rep. Dold (R-IL) are slightly more liberal at 18% and 22%, respectively. Sen Kirk votes against economic growth issues most of the time as computed by the Club for Growth.
The point of this Poster is that altho Republicans as a group are far more likely to vote for lower spending (NTU), less waste (CAGW), more economic growth and individual freedom, there are far too many career Repubs for whom attracting campaign contributions for getting reelected is more important.
The difference between the parties is stark. The Heritage Action Scorecard provides a breakdown by party. The average House Repub scores 75% vs House Dems 6%; In the Senate the Repubs average is 74% while the Dems average is 3%. However, individual Repubs at the lower end of the ratings are very similar to Dems in voting for uncontrolled spending and regulating and for more federal government control over every aspect of our lives. To them, the debt they’re piling onto our children is of no concern. Among conservatives and libertarians in the party they’re known as RINOs –Repubs In Name Only.
We’ll highlight a few of the worst below. Just over 150 –all Repubs— rate 80% or better; 98 scored 0% --all Dems; the 263 under 40% included 15 Repubs. We’re continuing to use the Heritage Action Scorecard because it covers more votes and breaks them down for us and is an almost exact opposite of liberal/progressive scorecards. A liberal/progressive reading this can be proud of Sen. Nelson (D-FL) at 0% while a conservative/libertarian would know that he is in favor of Big Government and all that implies. It is an accurate, useful tool.
Among the Repubs with scores reflecting big spending, taxing and wastefulness, in addition to Sen Kirk, and who have been there more than 8 years:
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) at 18% is, for all practical purposes, a Dem as she votes with them most of the time. See her Poster of a few years ago: When Perfect Attendance is Costly . We should update her poster but not much has changed except that the $14.7 trillion debt is now closer to $19 trillion! And she did her share of running up that burden on our children –no mention of her having any children. She favors same-sex “marriage” and is avidly pro-abortion.
Sen. Shelley Capito (R-WV) is in her first term in the Senate replacing Dem Jay Rockefeller but her entire life has been immersed in politics. Her father was Governor Arch Moore; she spent two terms in the W. Virginia legislature and 7 terms in the U.S. House and now as U.S. Senator. In searching her record in the House I discovered the Madison Project which interestingly uses a combination of Heritage Action and Club for Growth scores to arrive at a Madison Performance Index (MPI). MP concludes that Shelley Capito has spent her time in Congress, “… amassing one of the most liberal voting records in Washington.” Since she has voted both socially and economically liberal, MP put her in their Hall of Shame.
Six-term Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) is at 39%. Before being elected to congress in 2004 he was in the state legislature for 14 years –as with most of our Posters for term limits, he spent little time in the productive private sector. Not surprisingly, he’s not big on economic growth, either –latest Club for Growth rating is 37%.
Two long term Florida Repubs with liberal voting records – Reps Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart –both at 39% current Heritage Action score qualifies them for mention here as RINOs. They will be the subject of our next in-depth poster so, for now, they’ll just get this mention. Note that the highest rated Dem on the conservative scorecard is Rep Henry Cuellar (D-TX) at 33% --lower than the lowest Repub.
Bottom line: both Parties have put the country deeply in debt –and continue to do so. When getting reelected is Job #1, professional politicians will vote for what furthers that goal and only secondarily for what is constitutional and/or best for the country. Exceptions are too rare. Only congressional term limits can and will remove the incentives to continue the destructive tax-spend-elect system for tenure.
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) is a monolithic group with virtually identical voting records, disgusting behavior and a complete disregard for their oaths of office. They lack the knowledge, principle and integrity to hold their high positions, but unfortunately, there they are: All of them, but one, Poster boys for term limits. Let's look here at just one more. We’ve already reviewed Maxine Waters, Charlie Rangel (a co-founder of the CBC), James Clyburn, John Conyers and Hank Johnson.
Congressman Alcee Lamar Hastings, born September 5, 1936, represents Florida's 23rd congressional district, a post he has held since 1993. He spent ten years as a federal judge (1979-1989), but was (oh, my!) impeached and removed from office for corruption and perjury--making him a perfect candidate for Congress and the CBC. He was only the sixth federal judge in American history to be impeached and removed from office. (For more details, see Alcee Hastings in Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia).
Students of Congress probably think that a bribe-taker who sullied his high office like that would fit right in as one of “the worst of a bad lot.” But how does one of such low reputation get elected over and over again? He has had some reputable opposition but they couldn’t come close. And that, of course, is the point of this blog: Entrenched politicians have such power and money derived from their offices that challengers have little chance of unseating them. Part of the reason that blacks like Hastings can be elected and stay in office indefinitely almost no matter what they do is the federal mandate that districts be established with majority black populations. Blacks vote overwhelmingly for Democrats so no Republican need apply. Many Republicans also favor this racial districting because it then concentrates more of their likely voters in their own districts. Politics has become a slimy, self-serving business. They don't call D.C. the District of Corruption for nothing.
In September 2008, Alcee made controversial statements on vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, saying: "Anybody toting guns and stripping moose don't care too much about what they do with Jews and blacks." He made the comment at a panel discussion sponsored by the National Jewish Democratic Council. He talks a lot about "civil rights" but nobody ever thought he was civil.
The Congressional Black Caucus is, by definition, racist. Yet this is generally overlooked by Congress as a whole. A notable exception was Oklahoma congressman J.C. Watts who famously called the group, “race hustling poverty pimps.” Because he voted as a conservative, they labeled Rep. Watts an “Uncle Tom.”
Because Democrat party policy is to chose chairmanships by seniority rather than by competent experience in the committee subject some of the worst of a bad lot are in powerful positions and cause more harm than good. The gerrymandered districts insure reelection of the black pol in predominant black district thus guaranteeing seniority eventually. Republicans have term limits on chairmanships.
The Criminal Caucus
Hastings is not the only CBC member tainted by scandal as we’ve seen in previous posters.
There’s the case of another bribe-taker, nine-term Rep. William “Cold Cash” Jefferson. The FBI found $90,000 in cash in his home freezer in 2005, yet he was reelected in 2006. He is currently residing in other federal facilities as a result of his eventual conviction. That is one of the few ways congressmen have been term-limited.
At one point in the 111th Congress in 2008 eight lawmakers were under formal investigation by the House ethics committee, including Rangel and Waters. All eight of them were CBC members.
Membership in the Caucus is limited to black legislators –they don’t say it but if you’re a Republican or a black conservative, don’t bother. Just ask Gary Franks who was the first Republican member. He was Chairman of the Republican Party Task Force on Civil Rights that produced the 1991 Civil Rights Bill which passed by the largest plurality of any past Civil Rights Bill. And he was a supporter of Clarence Thomas for the Supreme Court. He played a significant role in passing the Welfare Reform Act in 1995 that gave a new life to so many who were stuck on welfare. Yet he was much maligned by the Black Caucus.
Will recently elected conservative Republican Mia Love be welcomed in the Black Caucus?
It is a rare member of the Caucus who is not reelected with little or no opposition. Of course, that is also true, although to a lesser degree, of the the Congress as a whole. From its history we can conclude that the CBC is not so much a “Black” caucus as it is a Liberal Caucus --and a far left one at that. It routinely plays the “race card” to pursue its welfare state goals which are closely tied to the member’s reelection campaigns. By promising their constituents freebies from the government they are overwhelmingly retained.
The Caucus opposes education reform such as school vouchers or teacher tenure rules which keep bad teachers in the classrooms especially in minority schools. It favors ever higher minimum wage laws that have the effect of preventing the poorly educated from getting their first job; black youth unemployment is around 50%! Since blacks on average have shorter life spans they receive a lower return on their Social Security payroll taxes. Yet, the CBC opposes Social Security reform such as privatization which would give their constituents ownership of their pension accounts and a chance to build an estate. This practice is often referred to as “keeping them on the Liberal Plantation.”
We started with Alcee Hastings so let’s complete this poster by recognizing his time at the public trough. Like most of the other poster children, he spent the bulk of his life on government payrolls after getting a law degree. He's been sued for sexual harassment and has raised concerns about how he spent overseas travel funds. In 2012, Judicial Watch ranked Hastings as being the largest practitioner of nepotism employing his girlfriend --to the tune of over $600,000!--on his congressional staff.
No surprise that the non-partisan National Taxpayers Union has rated Hastings “F” for every year in Congress which earns him the appellation “Big Spender.” His long tenure helps explain our $17+trillion national debt. The Club for Growth gives him a score of “4” out of 100 which means he routinely votes against programs that promote growth in the economy. Specifically, he votes against trade, reform of Social Security, regulation reform, school vouchers, lower marginal tax rates and limiting spending.
Last week Alcee whined about his low pay and at a committee hearing he insisted he should be paid more. $175,000/yr, a huge pension plus all kinds of perks and God knows what else he scrounges on the job just isn't a fair wage for a man of his accomplishments --in his humble opinion.
So there you have it: Alcee Hastings and the Congressional Black Caucus. Another strong argument to term limit Congress. Sign the petition: http://www.termlimits.org/
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Professional politician, Tammy Suzanne Green Baldwin, (D-WI), began her political career in 1986 on the Dane County Board of Supervisors and a year on the Madison City Council. Then in 1983 onto the Wisconsin Assembly representing the most liberal Madison district before being elected to Congress in 1998; after 7 terms was elected in 2012 to the US Senate succeeding Herb Kohl. So, another Poster Child has spent the bulk of her life in government with little or no experience in the private sector. Her voting record, as you’ll see below, shows that inexperience in a lack of understanding of economics and what makes for freedom and prosperity.
By Their Votes Ye Shall Know Them
The respected independent public policy groups that follow the voting records for a specific purpose, not partisan politics, are instructive: Citizens Against Government Waste calls the Junior Senator from Wisconsin “Hostile” to taxpayers at 4% --in contrast the State’s Senior Senator Ron Johnson who is applauded as a “Super Hero” to taxpayers at 100%. The Club for Growth shows her at 5% in favor of economic freedom for votes favoring free trade, free markets, rational tax policy affecting job creation, growth and prosperity. Again, Sen. Johnson is at 95%. The National Taxpayers Union gives her an “F,” their Big Spender category.
Unarguable Testimonial from one who knows from experience
Wednesday, January 7, 2015
*There are numerous books documenting how career politicians “…extract your money, buy votes, and line their own pockets” --EXTORTION by Peter Schweizer explains the process and names names.
**67 Repubs rightly opposed CRomnibus http://netrightdaily.com/2014/12/67-republicans-opposed-omnibus-right/
But These 24 Senate Republicans voted to waive the Constitution and did so after being given a mandate by voters to stop obama’s dictates, betrayed us all: Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), John Barrasso (R-WY), Roy Blunt (R-MO), John Boozman (R-AR), Richard Burr (R-NC), Dan Coats (R-IN), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Susan Collins (R-ME), Bob Corker (R-TN), John Cornyn (R-TX), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Dean Heller (R-NV), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Mark Kirk (R-IL), John McCain (R-AZ), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Pat Toomey (R-PA), Roger Wicker (R-MS)
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Rogers is a signer of Americans for Tax Reform’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge vowing to commit, in writing, to oppose all tax increases. The implied commitment is to not create spending that must be paid by increased taxes. Virtually all of our poster children ignore that part. In fact, the governor of his state, also a signer of the Pledge proposed eliminating tax deductions for Alabama families as a means for solving his overspending problem. Get this: Republican Gov. Bentley says that eliminating deductions is not the same as raising taxes. Hello? The families’ taxes go up as a result but he doesn’t call it a tax increase?
On social issues Rogers has voted in opposition to abortion and gay marriage; supported an amendment to declare that people retain the right to pray and to recognize their religious beliefs, heritage, and traditions on public property, including schools. He cosponsored legislation to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States. He sponsored a bill expressing the continued support of Congress for equal access of military recruiters to institutions of higher education.
He has acted to protect the Armed Services industry in his area. On the Armed Services Committee, he opposed military base closures and won passage of a bill that would assure that universities would provide access to their facilities for military recruitment purposes and ROTC.
He dissented with the Morocco free trade agreement to protect the Alabama textile industry; and votes to continue price supports for Big Sugar –protections that raises costs to virtually all consumers. His votes in support of increased food stamps (SNAP) and against work requirements for able-bodied on welfare also raise costs to taxpayers. For a clear explanation of Rep. Rogers' voting record see Heritage Action Scorecard and decide for yourself if we need term limits to rotate these big spenders out of office.
He actually sponsored legislation making it illegal to satirize or in any way parody the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Oh my! We don’t want to criticize the government, do we?
Friday, December 5, 2014
Term limits on congress would go a long way to eliminating incentives for career pols like Hoyer to continue spending without limit. Now, about 95% of incumbents are reelected with few seats seriously contested. Incumbents have such huge advantages in money from lobbies for special interests and they have name recognition. Those advantages are too daunting in time, effort and expense required for a civic-minded person to offer to represent the interests of the taxpayers for a specified period. It is proven in the states that have limited their legislators’ terms that fresh blood often brings in reps that are successful in business and professions and are not as concerned about reelection as they are about civic duty. Many now come in with experience in the private sector that they can put to use on behalf of their constituents –something few, if any, of our poster children ever have.
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Here’s the hypocrisy part. In 2006 she sued president Bush over a bill that reduced some spending on Medicare and student loans. Also plaintiffs in the suit were other Poster Children --John Conyers, John Dingell, Charles Rangel, JamesOberstar, Barney Frank, Pete Stark and other Democrats, half of the House. Ms. Strassel mused that maybe her suit had “slipped her mind.” Among the interesting facts in the article was that 44 other lawsuits seeking standing were filed over time 70% by Democrats and the reason they failed was because they were “political stunts.”
The non-partisan National Taxpayers Union has consistently rated Slaughter a “Big Spender.” Citizens Against Government Waste (non-partisan) calls her “Hostile to Taxpayers.” See the history here . The liberal/progressive Americans for Democratic Action is proud to give Rep. Slaughter a 95% rating –see those votes for the 112 congress here . The Club for Growth rates on votes affecting growth of the economy, job creation and fiscal soundness without considering social issues. The Club found a vote somewhere to give her a lifetime score of 5% --a killer of jobs and the economy. There are other scorecards and ratings groups but these are indicative of how our Poster votes.