Why can’t Democrats and Republicans agree on fixing the Spending?
On March 1st, 2013, I expect our Nice Government Men to follow the same cycle that has played out in each of many prior fiscal showdowns. Nice Government Men flirt with the edge of the cliff but then they posture and bluster, until they strike a deal that is good for politicians and corporate America but a very bad deal for the taxpayer. This is always done in secret and usually at the very last minute.
Automatic budget cuts — known as sequestration — were in fact scheduled for January 2, (the fiscal cliff) but were then postponed until March 1. It didn’t solve the problem of the overspending, but it has been very successful in hiding the issue away in the dark closet where taxpayers do not go looking.
March 1st, 2013 is also a significant date in that it is the date when the U.S. is expected to hit the $16.4 trillion debt ceiling. The amount of debt the nation is now carrying is astronomical and each time the ceiling is raised spending rises commensurately. The debt ceiling has been raised 11 times since 2001 and each time the federal spending has skyrocketed.
Obama and Harry Reid have stated that they plan to raise the ceiling once again. Most of the Democratic politicians are in full agreement that the debt goes up without reducing spending. Ironically most of the Democratic politicians in the house and in the Senate opposed raising the debt ceiling during the administration of George W. Bush. In fact in 2006 a freshman Senator called Obama said:
“Mr. President I rise today to talk about America‘s debt problem. The fact that we are here today to debate raising America‘s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. government cannot pay its own bills. Increasing America‘s debt weakens us domestically and internationally . . . America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.”
Republicans have stated that in March they will FINALLY demand financial reform but are they standing strong? The Brothers Koch, Republican Financiers-in-Chief, have all but ordered the Republican Caucus to cooperate with the President on the debt ceiling. Obama has suggested that the issue get shelved until some time in May. Hey, it worked with the Fiscal Cliff Legislation! Why not again hide the new contentious legislation way back in the big bad, black closet where all good taxpayers fear AND FAIL to look. What a clever ploy. Fooled and conned again. When will we wake up?
Begin by taking a look at what was actually in that secret Fiscal Cliff legislation that got rammed through when we weren’t looking?
Here are a few choice titbits:
- 248 million for film production expenses (Hollywood gets a subsidy)
- 222 million for rum production in Puerto Rico
- 119 million for companies to hire Native Americans.
- 7 million for plug-in motorcycles
- 5 billion to subsidize farmers (mostly for large corporate interests)
- 12.1 billion for tax credits for wind production.
While corporations and special interests receive billions of dollars of tax relief, this bill allows taxes to increase for 77% of Americans, thanks to the expiring payroll tax holiday. Because Congress failed to extend the payroll tax cut, an individual who earns $26,000 per year will have over $500 per year in new taxes – that’s $20 taken straight from each paycheck. And the bill effectively raises taxes on every American because it failed to account for any significant cuts in spending. After all, every dollar of deficit spending is a future dollar that someone will have to pay in taxes down the road. The so-called “American Taxpayer Relief Act” was full of corporate welfare – targeted tax credits and subsidies for companies and industries. The bill actually spends $330 billion more than it takes in with the tax hikes.
The fiscal cliff bill was drafted behind closed doors, and Lawmakers were given ALL OF SIX minutes to read the 154-page bill before voting on it.
There is a lobbying ogre hiding in the depths of the big, black closet and he makes fools out of Democrats and Republicans alike and keeps them at each other’s throats.
So I am asking all people of good will, be they voters or legislators to shine the light of accountability into that big black closet:
The single subject rule is provided for by many state constitutions in the United States of America. Its purpose is to avoid complexity in laws, to avoid any hidden consequences that legislators or voters may miss when reading the proposed law. This in turn prevents politicians from sneaking unpopular legislation through, piggybacked on legislation which is more likely to pass.
For example, the constitution of Minnesota, Article IV, Section 17, requires that “No law shall embrace more than one subject, which shall be expressed in its title.”. Conversely, neither the U.S. Congress nor the U.S. Constitution has such a rule so riders which are completely unrelated to the main bill are commonplace. These are often put into bills at the last minute, so that all who may read the legislation before actually voting on it will not have a chance to catch it.
Quote for the Week
While it is commonly believed to take two to make a fight, a third party must exist and must develop it, for actual conflict to occur.
L. Ron Hubbard.