Monday, January 27, 2014

High-Priced Politician




Senator Mary Landrieu is one of our most expensive politicians. You do remember her invoice to taxpayers for her vote on Obamacare?  Landrieu demanded a $300,000 payment to Medicaid for Louisiana before she would vote for the program. That noxious deal became known as the Louisiana Purchase and, along with a similar bribe dubbed "the Nebraska Cornhusker Kickback" to Sen. Ben Nelson, were the deciding votes which allowed the Bill to pass.

But she's an award winner! Citizens Against Government Waste has just nominated her 2013 Porker of the Year for her refusal to support reform of "the antiquated and costly federal sugar program in the Senate version of the 2013 Farm Bill." Her arrogant response to her critics: “Yes, the price of a candy bar might be a penny or two higher, but who needs cheaper candy bars? No one.”

Senator, what we actually need are cheaper politicians.

But career politicians do not follow their own rules–they’re above that, you know. They call themselves "public servants" but act like little kings and queens. A recent case in point is the bloated $1.1 trillion, 1,532-page omnibus spending bill that breezed through both House and Senate without any of our “public servants” even bothering to read it.  It’s their job, dammit! This pork-filled monstrosity was passed instead of the legally mandated budget; the Congressional Budget Act requires the President to submit a budget to Congress by February 1st and then the House and Senate have to agree on a final version.

And it is Sen. Mary Landrieu and the other Poster Children who are responsible for this sad state by their breach of duty. Tragically, thanks to these entrenched career politicians, the United States is well along on the path to financial ruin.

Senator Rand Paul offered a Bill (S.Res 28) to the current 113th congress that “Makes it out of order in the Senate to consider any measure or matter until one session day has passed since introduction for every 20 pages included in the measure or matter in the usual form, plus one session day for any number of remaining pages less than 20.” as seen in this video. Sen. Harry Reid, the Majority Leader, would not allow it to be voted upon. Sen. Reid recently called the idea of passing a budget “foolish.”

As another poster, Rep. John Conyers said, “What good is reading the bill if it’s a thousand pages and you don’t have two days and two lawyers to find out what it means after you read the bill?” (See Sen. Reid’s and Rep. Conyers’ posters –click their names on the right side of this page). 

Now you know why we call these Poster Children “the worst of a bad lot.”

Mary Landrieu is true to her roots--she's from a political family. Her father, Moon Landrieu, was mayor of New Orleans and a former secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Her brother Mitch is the current New Orleans mayor and formerly lieutenant governor of Louisiana. She went to a Catholic high school and graduated Louisiana State University in 1977. After a couple of state-level posts and a failed run for governor in 1995 she was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1996 and has been there since. She’s also chair of the Homeland Security Appropriations subcommittee. She's up for reelection in 2014.(See comment following.)

As most of our posters, Landrieu has spent her entire life in politics with little or no experience in the private sector. No matter--in 2008 she became Chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship! Career pols get to rule on subjects they have no understanding of or experience in –it's all a matter of tenure. Special interests affected by their laws help them understand their business needs while contributing to their reelection. And for the career pol, reelection is Job #1. 

With term limits it will be more likely that candidates who have been successful in business and professional careers can get elected.  Real life experience might avoid much of the counter-productive rules and regulations coming from lifetime professional politicians whose only experience is politics. 

The U.S. unfunded liabilities debt (promised future obligations) now exceeds $118.5 trillion, a debt of over $1 million per U.S. taxpayer. And now we must add in the multi-trillion dollar Obamacare law. On March 1, 2012, Landrieu voted against a measure that would have repealed a birth control mandate in the health care bill. In October 2013, she introduced a bill to force health insurance companies to re-issue plans which they had already cancelled.

Without Sen. Landrieu’s votes, Obamacare would not be the disaster to our healthcare system and economy that it is today. 

 All of our poster children have been in congress during the period of this incredible spending spree and these long-tenured politicians did nothing to control spending--and all of them approved regular increases in the debt limit.

The non-partisan ratings groups: NationalTaxpayers Union (NTU) for taxing and spending and  Citizens Against Government Waste's (CAGW) for waste and extravagance. NTU gives Landrieu an “F” for most years and a “D” for others, among the worst in congress http://tinyurl.com/m54ybclCAGW rates her “Hostile” to taxpayers http://tinyurl.com/l635p97 The Club for Growth looks for votes that allow for free markets to function in growing the economy; the Club rates her at a lowly 16% meaning she votes for growth-stifling programs 84% of the time! http://tinyurl.com/mx2zzy3 .  No wonder the economy is stagnant.

Her Heritage Action score is currently 3% http://tinyurl.com/k7avjba  --that makes Landrieu 97% liberal. The ADA gave her credit for voting to not let religious groups opt out of the Obamacare abortifacient* mandate. (She says she’s a Catholic.) But the ADA didn’t like her vote to enable the construction of the XL pipeline. http://tinyurl.com/25fntsq For more clarity go to the sites for details --just click on the links given after each to see all of the votes. 
 
Congressional term limits is a costless reform that can go a long way to limiting the damage that entrenched politicians like these Poster Children can do. Now, with congress approval ratings in single digits is a propitious time to get it done. See www.termlimits.org and sign the petition –we’re already over 250,000 signatures on our way to a million.
 
 *abortion-inducing drugs, etc.

Monday, December 9, 2013

46 YEARS IN WASHINGTON? Say No!



                                                                  " No, I look at the senators and I pray for the country."                                                                                                        - Everett Edward Hale




         Another example of having a great start in life and significant accomplishments and then to end up in later years as one of our posters. William Thad Cochran, born and raised in Mississippi, was an Eagle Scout as a youth and was awarded the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award as an adult. He graduated valedictorian from Byram High School near Jackson and received a B.A. degree from the University of Mississippi with a major in psychology and a minor in political science in 1959. There he joined the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity and was on the cheerleading squad.After a stint in the U. S. Navy (1959–1961), he earned a Law Degree from the University of Mississippi in 1965. He then practiced law for seven years. He married Rose Clayton on June 6, 1964; the couple has two children, Clayton and Kate. (source: Wikipedia.)

Now, at age 78, Cochran is the fourth-longest currently serving Senator having been first elected to the Senate in 1978; he also served in the House from 1973 to 1978. As with the other poster boys, he’s had no private sector experience to apply to the laws he helped pass for the private sector to live by.  He is the senior Senator from Mississippi, currently the ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, having been chairman from 2003 to 2005 and also chaired the Senate Appropriations Committee from 2005 to 2007.  He is currently the ranking Republican on the Agriculture Committee. In his 35 years on powerful committees he has a record of supporting bailouts, more debt, tax increases, and even funding for Obamacare although, as all Republicans, he did vote against the mis-named Affordable Care Act, ObamaCare.

The overriding issue today in the US is our national debt currently racing past $17 trillion –to be piled on our next generations and that doesn’t count the unfunded entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and now the multi-trillion dollar ObamaCare law!  All of our poster children have been in congress during the period of this incredible spending that caused the debt and these long-tenured politicians did little to control the spending and all of them approved of the regular increases in the debt limit.  Thad Cochran was no exception having voted to increase the debt limit ten times!  After 40+ years in congress he cannot escape blame for much of the spending and debt. In 2010 he finished at the top of the Citizens Against Government Waste's (CAGW) list of congressional earmarks, having requested a total of $490 million for his supporters.

The non-partisan ratings groups tell of his voting record -- the NationalTaxpayers Union (NTU) for taxing and spending and CAGW for waste and extravagance. NTU gives him a “C” (very low for Republicans) while CAGW rates him “lukewarm” to taxpayers.  The Club for Growth looks for votes that allow for free markets to function in growing the economy; the Club rates Cochran at a lowly 48% for his votes that suppress growth. 

Partisan rankings are best expressed by Heritage Action for the conservative view as they rate all meaningful votes. Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) rates from a liberal view but uses fewer votes and doesn’t publish often –their 2012 votes gave him 20%. So, we recommend that if you want to know the more accurate liberal rating, use the reciprocal of the Heritage Action score which is currently 57%. For more clarity we’ll note some specific votes but anyone can go to the sites for details of all of the groups –just click on the names. 


He voted for the Dept. of Education and to defeat a plan to balance the budget in ten years. Cochran voted to tax the internet! The one free marketplace that is thriving would be taxed by the thousands of jurisdiction where they have customers even if they have no physical presence and use no local services yet would be taxed by those jurisdictions! A big no-no for conservatives, libertarians, constitutionalists but favored by liberals. He voted to Invoke Cloture which led to passage of the $1 trillion farm bill in the Senate –a 56% increase since 2008. Despite claims of reform, the farm bill continues to spend nearly $1 trillion on a variety of programs, including crop subsidies, conservation programs and food stamps.

 He voted against repeal of sugar supports that have raised the price of sugar in the US so high that many companies left for Canada and other places at the cost of thousands of jobs. It also adds cost to the consumer food products that contain sugar, a hidden tax. But Big Sugar is generous to the pols who vote to continue to give them advantages –it’s called crony capitalism.  Those are just a few votes that Heritage Action criteria views negatively –for all of the votes go to http://tinyurl.com/nlgnuob


 Critics of congressional term limits recite the mantra, "We already have term limits, they are called elections."  The problem with that little flower of homespun wholesomeness is that it isn't true. Competitive elections are rare in the U.S. Congress anymore. Since 1970 well over 90% are reelected very few competitively with all the benefits of incumbency.


 

Cochran is not the worst of the worst but he is typical of the professional politician who spends his entire life in politics and doesn’t ever have to meet a payroll or deal with government bureaucrats. No, he deals with lobbyists who pay him for voting their way; he takes their money to pay for reelection campaigning. It is a vicious circle and the people’s work doesn’t get done properly. We need citizen legislators; we need experienced successful people who will use their skills in service to the nation not self-service like the career politicians.  In Florida, and other states with limited legislatures there are regular elections and the result is a distinctly higher quality representative than before –not universal, of course, but we now have more successful people willing to offer their expertise and experience for the benefit of their state and country. 

Did we mention that our poster boy voted against congressional term limits?