Updated last 4/1/2014 re the term limits vote below and also WSJ article re Caterpillar )
So many of our poster children have similar backgrounds in that they get law degrees and then go right into politics without any real world experience to base their lawmaking decisions on. How can they relate to citizens who have to live under their laws? Many laws are made from the pressure of lobbyists and groups that give them support for reelection and who often actually write the laws for them. The high pay and FedGov pensions that most of us could only dream about further keep them isolated from the impact of their spending and tax policies. They should be made to come back home after a period to live under those laws and taxes and regulations, too.
Patrick Leahy from Vermont and Carl Levin from Michigan are two who fit the description. Leahy graduated law school in 1964 and at age 34 was elected to the Senate where he has been ever since. Levin got his degree in 1959 and held several government jobs between 1964 until elected to the Senate in 1978.
Both regularly vote with the liberal-left of their party (Democrat) 95% to 100% in most sessions and that means both vote for virtually every spending, regulating and taxing bill that comes up.
So, it is no surprise that both Poster Boys voted on 2/2/12 AGAINST the proposed amendment to limit the terms of Congress even though they know full well that their constitutents are overwhlemingly in favor of the reform. See how your Senator voted: http://senateconservatives.com/site/votes/112/2/11?c=5R4F2B4F9B3A137 hint: All Democrats but Joe Manchin of WV voted AGAINST.
By JAMES FREEMANCaterpillar Inc. will be dragged before the Senate Permanent Investigations Subcommittee today because committee Chairman Carl Levin wishes the company had a higher tax bill. The Michigan senator, who has helped make the corporate tax code the complicated mess that it is, enjoys bashing corporations for lawfully trying to navigate this mess.
Caterpillar will therefore join a distinguished list of firms, including Apple, that have taken turns appearing before the panel to be condemned for seeking to maximize returns to shareholders.
Today's alleged outrage is that Caterpillar pays an effective income tax rate of roughly 29%, which is more than most companies pay but not enough for Mr. Levin. The senator is ticked off that some of Cat's overseas profits are taxed at around 5% by Switzerland. Would he prefer that U.S. shareholders pay more taxes to foreign governments?
Perhaps Mr. Levin would like every business to pay the combined U.S. state and federal headline rate of 39.1%, which is the highest in the developed world, and a major reason the U.S. economy isn't growing faster. But it's not clear even that would satisfy his thirst for more federal revenues.
If last year's show trial with Apple is any guide, today Mr. Levin will slam Cat's tax strategies as "alchemy" and "gimmickry," but offer no evidence that the company is doing anything illegal or even unethical.
He will probably refer to the results of his staff's "investigation," but there's not much to investigate. Large corporations like Caterpillar are constantly audited by the IRS, and the firm has been doing its taxes the same way for more than a decade.
The real outrage, as unemployment remains high and GDP growth remains slow, is for Mr. Levin to suggest that the solution is to extract more cash from U.S. employers.WSJ 4/1/2014
The non-partisan National Taxpayers Union rates congress from A –taxpayer friendly- to F –Big Spender. Both of our poster boys are consistently rated F. Citizens Against Government Waste (CSAGW), another non-partisan taxpayer group, has bestowed on both boys their “Porker of the Month” award over their years in office. Porker of the Month is a dubious honor given to lawmakers, government officials, and political candidates who have shown a blatant disregard for the interests of taxpayers. When you look at the huge deficits being racked up each year, these two are right up there among the most responsible for the high taxes, numerous counter-productive regulations and a debt that steals from future generations that will stifle their aspirations for the American Dream.
Last September when CAGW named Leahy as their “Porker of the Month” they also noted that he was one of “Seven Nutty Senators Supporting ACORN…” (Poster Boy Sen. Durbin of Illinois was also one of the seven.) “Cutting off funds to ACORN should have been the easiest vote of the year, yet these senators could not bring themselves to do it,” said CAGW President Tom Schatz. “Taxpayers should not be accomplices in the rampant malfeasance of ACORN.” ACORN has received at least $53.6 million in taxpayer-funded grants since 1994, not including millions more from states and localities, as well as foundations. Fannie Mae, for example, which was taken over by the federal government a year ago, bestowed millions in grants on ACORN over the years. For more updated detail on ACORN see the blog alongside A Bite at a Time.Sen. Leahy worked closely with the late Senator Edward Kennedy, another of our Poster Boys, to advance the Hate Crimes Prevention Act as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act. Said Leahy, “This historic hate crimes provision will improve existing law by making it easier for Federal authorities to investigate and prosecute crimes of racial, ethnic, or religious violence.” Sen. Levin as Chairman of the Senate Armed Forces Committee, defended his reasoning for including the provision within the Defense bill: “This is domestic terrorism… When you attack someone because of membership in a group, you are attacking this country itself. This belongs in the Defense Reauthorization Bill!.” Not to mention that virtually all of the crimes covered are already unlawful under present law. This is in response to lobbies who want special recognition and treatment for their particular groups. Do you think it fits in the Defense Bill? When defense outlays are calculated they include much that is not really for the defense of our nation. Poster Children often get their way by inserting unrelated subjects in critical bills that have to pass and thus avoid losing if their special interest legislation couldn’t pass on its own.
Both Senators also responded to recent actions by Senate Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to include a public option in the Senate’s health care bill. The Senators argued that a public option was very important in that it would represent progress in the legislation, but noted that any such provision must include an op-out for states, which they said would promote competition. They didn’t explain how there would even be any competiton after the FedGov takeover. Sure, compete with FedGov.
Our poster children have no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office. Their method is to search out groups or the groups search them out to get something from FedGov and by promising to give it to them our Poster Children get campaign contributions and support for reelection. How they accomplish the payoff is to loot taxpayers. As HL Mencken put it, “In other words, government is a broker in pillage, and every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods.”
Earmarks are a measure of profligate spending for self-promotion among the recipients. It is also called bribery if done in the private sector but business-as-usual in congress. Check out details at this most informative site: http://www.legistorm.com/earmarks/details/member/62/Sen_Patrick_Leahy/page/1/sort/amount/type/desc/year/all.html Legistorm is dedicated to providing a variety of important information about the US Congress. The information is provided in a strictly factual, non-partisan fashion. They have no political affiliations and no political purpose except to make the workings of Congress as transparent as possible. This is how you get to a $16+ trillion debt.
Fiscal Year(s) 2008-2010 Number Cost
Solo Earmarks 185 $228,063,385
With Other Members 115 $260,805,250
All Sponsored Earmarks 300 $488,868,635
Year(s) 2008-2010 Number Cost
Solo Earmarks 33 $124,900,000
With Other Members 678 $804,423,593
All Sponsored Earmarks 711 $929,323,593
The more I study these career politicians the more I fear for the future of freedom in our United States of America and consequently for the freedom of the world. Sen. Jim DeMint originally and now Sen Vitter is making an effort to turn back to a citizen-legislature by offering a proposed constitutional amendment to term limit congress. You can help by going to www.termlimits.org and sign the petition. And then, ask your friends to sign it, too. We'll have another vote in the next session.