Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Earmark Porker

A multiple recipient of the dubious distinction “Porker of the Month” from Citizens Against Government Waste tells you right away that this career politician helped grow the $18 trillion deficit created by profligate government spending. His most recent dishonor from CAGW was earned by his second attempt to restore earmarks (his first was March, 2012).  House Republicans rebuffed Rep. Roger’s effort to earmark projects for “state, locality, public utility or other public entities.” Earmarking led to congressional corruption, including the incarceration of members, staff, and lobbyists who used the process to buy votes. “A return to earmarking would again entice members to vote-trade, hold back-room deals, and increase wasteful spending,” declared CAGW President Tom Schatz. “Voters awarded Republicans control of the Senate and a larger majority in the House in order to [restore regular order to the budget process and cut the bloat that continues to plague government]: A return to the bad old days of earmarks would be a repudiation of that mid-term election message.” For attempting to reinstate earmarks instead of focusing on fiscal restraint, CAGW names Rep. Rogers the November 2014 Porker of the Month. Read more about the Porker of the Month.

     Alabama Representative Mike D. Rogers (R-3rd) was a successful lawyer and is now a professional politician who will begin his 7th term in 2015.  Getting reelected is Job #1 for career pols and earmarks help in buying votes with taxpayer money. And voting for deficit spending in favor of grateful special interests –campaign contributors—also raises cash and dissuades qualified opponents from running against such advantages.  The non-partisan National Taxpayers Union gives Rogers a “C” meaning he is the middle range and definitely not a “Taxpayers’ Friend.”

     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?  

     Mike D. Rogers is not the worst of the “worst of a bad lot” but he leaves a lot to be desired for his big deficit spending that puts his three children and all of our children in enormous debt. Trying to pay the interest alone will greatly reduce their opportunities in life. Term limits is the one costless reform that would enable successful professional and business people willing to come to congress as a civic duty, not a career. We need the benefit of successful experience in the private sector –something we have very little of now in congress.  Most are lawyers or others who have never worked in any productive aspect of the economy.  See on how you can help by at least signing the petition.


Friday, December 5, 2014

A Tax Cut is an Expense?

 Rep. Steny Hoyer once was nominated for “Porker of the Year” by Citizens AgainstGovernment Waste* for refusing to acknowledge that Washington has a spending problem and instead asserting, "The country has a paying-for problem. We haven’t paid for what we bought; we haven’t paid for our tax cuts; we haven’t paid for war." Representative of Maryland’s 5th  district since 1981, Steny Hamilton Hoyer is currently second in rank in the House Democratic Leadership behind Speaker Nancy Pelosi. To a career politician with no experience in the private sector (he did some lawyering) tax cuts are an expense that have to be paid for.  How do we “pay” for a tax cut?  See answer below.  *CAGW calls Hoyer “Hostile to Taxpayers” for his votes for waste and extravagance.

Back to the real world and Steny Hoyer’s impact on the country.  The spending that hasn’t been paid for will be his legacy: The non-partisan National Taxpayers Union gives him an “F” for every year for over 20 years—this failing grade places him in the "Big Spender" category.  He sure knows how to spend but lacks any idea of how to pay for it.

One way to pay for such extravagance is to earn more and one way for a country to earn more is to have a strong vibrant growing economy –just as back in the real world, if you spend you need a job to earn enough to pay for it. Am I right or am I right?  The Club for Growth  knows that so they urge congress to vote for economy-building bills and against economy killers. Again, Steny disappoints with another failing grade of 8% -- a long way from 90 -100% that earns the Club’s appellation “Defender of Economic Freedom.”   A growing economy generates tax revenue --and tax cuts pay for themselves as they help stimulate the economy. Presidents Kennedy and Reagan so dramatically and successfully proved that with their tax-cutting policies. Our Poster Children could learn from history if their goal was have to have a free and prosperous society.  Unfortunately, their goals are more concerned with reelection and power and, too often, with leftist ideology.

Check out Rep. Hoyer’s record as rated by the conservative Heritage Action Scorecard that covers more bills not just those regarding waste, taxes and growth like the three non-partisan groups cited. Also, check out Americans for Democratic Action for the liberal ratings.  At 13% from Heritage Action and 75% from the ADA ,  Rep. Hoyer confirms his statist bent. Look at his votes and judge for yourself.  He never votes against spending or for any limitation on government or for economic freedom/growth and so he is a major reason for the $18 trillion debt being charged to our posterity. 
           His stands on issues of the day: Against the Second Amendment, for gun control; Pro taxpayer-paid abortion; For raising income taxes; Against deportation of illegals; Supports same-sex marriage.  Check the various scorecards for individual votes on these and the other issues.

 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.