Monday, October 17, 2011
When Perfect Attendance is Costly
If our $14.7 trillion dollar debt is any indication, the majority of the 535 members of congress are qualified for these posters. Who else would spend so much more than they take in and for what reason?
Well, if you are a professional politician with no real talent or skills in the private sector, then being a politician offers great rewards; as long as you’re willing to do or say almost anything to get elected. And then to disregard your solemn oath of office in doing all that is necessary to get reelected. The career politicians we’ve exposed so far have spent all, or nearly all, of their working lives in politics. With no experience in the real world, they create legislation in areas they have no knowledge of or experience in, resulting in bills they seldom actually read. Then these bills go to a huge bureaucracy to administer by writing thousands of regulations that the working population has to follow--or be fined and maybe even go to jail. They, themselves are routinely unaffected by the laws they pass. Sometimes they even specifically exempt themselves from these laws.
Special interests have thousands of lobbyists offering big bucks to these elected officials to pass laws favorable to them. They need this money for reelection, and they pile up $millions for that purpose. Our laws end up with too many exceptions for favored industries, and as a result our tax code is extremely complicated; you can be sure that every loophole is bought and paid for by lobbyists.
Lobbyists are uniformly against any term limits on their “honest” politicians. They define “honest” as those who, once bought, stay bought. We need a law requiring members of Congress to wear logos like race car drivers and golfers wear to advertise who gives them money.
Typical of this kind of politician is Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME). We mentioned Collins in our poster of Olympia Snowe, also a Senator from Maine. Both are considered “moderates” in the Republican Party and both vote with Democrats so often that many Republicans refer to them as RINOs –Republicans In Name Only. Recently, as taxes, regulation overreach and onerous executive orders have mired the economy in recession, Sen. Collins has taken note and written a mostly reasonable piece in the Wall Street Journal (9/26/2011).
However, in this op-ed she calls for a one-year “time out” on excessive FedGov regulations. What? A time out? Beam me up, Scottie! She writes, “A one-year moratorium on such regulations is a common-sense solution that would help create jobs.” That's preposterous. The common-sense solution is to tear up the regulations permanently. Businesses will not start hiring with only a one-year window of certainty regarding regulations. Uncertainty is one of the major problems, and with a one-year "timeout," uncertainty would not be eliminated. What we need is a permanent solution, not a short-term gimmick. This is just another glaring example of a career pol showing how out of touch with reality she is.
Who is Susan Collins?
Collins was born and raised in Caribou, Maine. Both parents served in elected positions and her uncle was a state Supreme Court justice. She met Sen. Margaret Chase Smith —whose Senate seat she now holds-- in 1971 while participating in the U.S. Senate Youth program in Washington D.C. In 1975 she graduated from St. Lawrence University with a degree in–what else?—government.
She was a legislative assistant to Congressman and later U.S. Senator William Cohen until 1987 when she returned to Maine to join the governor’s cabinet and other political jobs in the State capitol until 1992. President George Bush appointed her to the Small Business Administration for a few months after which she went to Massachusetts to become Deputy State Treasurer for another few months. Back to Maine she won an eight-way primary race in the 1994 gubernatorial election but didn’t get support from conservative Republicans and came in third behind an independent and the Democrat. After a short job at Hussen College she ran for the Senate with Sen. Cohen’s help when he went on to join President Clinton’s cabinet. She won a four-way primary and beat the Democrat 49% to 44%. She’s been a fixture there ever since.
Notice once again the typical route to Congress--no practical experience in the free market, no position in the private sector much less ever having to meet a payroll or create a job. Yet these are the people who tell us how to run our businesses and make decisions that affect every aspect of our lives!
Collins is aggressively pro-abortion. She is a member of Republicans for Choice and was one of only three Republicans to vote against the Partial Birth Abortion Act. A major LGBT organization, the Human Rights Campaign, endorsed her campaigns. Collins voted in favor of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010. Both Collins and Snowe voted to acquit Clinton in his impeachment trial admitting he broke the law by committing perjury, but they didn’t think that was serious enough to remove him from office. She voted against restrictions on travel to Cuba, harsher punishments for drug users, and amending the U.S. Constitution to prohibit same-sex marriages. She was the recipient of the Gay and Lesbian Leadership Award (10/5/2011); curiously, her co-recipient was Rep. Ellison (D-MN), a Muslim.
A protectionist, she regularly votes against free-trade, including the Dominican Republic–Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). In 1999 she and Snowe were two of the four Republicans (with Jeffords and Specter) to vote for an amendment to the Trade and Development Act of 2000 which would have conditioned trade benefits for Caribbean countries on "compliance with internationally recognized labor rights." This vote for what is in effect world governance put her to the left of many Democratic senators including Edwards, Dodd and Biden. Just last week she was the only Republican to vote against the trade agreement with Columbia that is expected to create thousands of jobs in the US.
She wrote in that WSJ article, “…the Environmental Protection Agency proposed a new rule on fossil-fuel emissions from boilers that—by the EPA's own admission—would cost the private sector billions of dollars and thousands of jobs. The owner of a small business in Maine told me the proposed rule would require him to scrap a new, $300,000 wood waste boiler he recently installed.” She’s just finding this out after sponsoring such bills herself like the Cantwell-Collins bill (S. 2877), also called the Carbon Limits and Energy for America's Renewal (CLEAR) Act, that creates a program to regulate fossil fuels. How many thousands of regulations in those bills?
She voted for the confirmation of two U.S. Supreme Court nominees, Alito and Roberts but she also voted for President Obama's nominees, Sotomayor and Kagan.
Collins was one of just three Republican lawmakers to vote for the so-called stimulus, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and in mid-December 2009, Collins was again one of just three Republican senators to back a $1.1 trillion appropriations bill for the fiscal year beginning in 2010. You can see how the $14.7 trillion deficits happen.
In January 2009 Collins voted in favor of the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act. But she voted against ObamaCare in December 2009 and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.
Currently, she is the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Feel safer now?
Collins has an unbroken voting record in the Senate, never missing a single vote since becoming a senator in 1997. Too bad.
We really need term limits www.termlimits.org