"There is no practice more dangerous than that of borrowing
money; for when money can be had in this way, repayment is
seldom thought of in time, the interest becomes a loss,
exertions to raise it be dent of industry cease, it comes easy
and is spent freely, and many things (are) indulged in that
would never be thought of if (they were) to be purchased by the
sweat of the brow."
— George Washington
national debt is now $12.4 trillion, not including the $108 trillion
in unfunded federal liabilities. So is it entirely unreasonable,
especially on Washington's birthday, to expect that one's
representatives in Congress would vote no in response to a new
government spending proposal?
Apparently it is. The Father of Our Country didn't understand that
saying no is partisan and, well, negative. So this past Monday, Feb.
22, the U.S. Senate voted 62-30 to close debate on a $15 billion
"jobs bill," effectively ensuring its passage. Our new U.S. senator,
Scott Brown, explained his "yes" vote on his Facebook page:
to Washington to be an independent voice, to put politics aside, and
to do everything in my power to help create jobs for Massachusetts
families. This Senate jobs bill is not perfect. I wish the tax cuts
were deeper and broader, but I voted for it because it contains
measures that will help put people back to work.
disappointed with the continuation of politics-as-usual in the
drafting of this bill, as it was crafted behind closed doors,
without transparency and accountability. I hope for improvements in
that process going forward. All of us, Republicans and Democrats,
have to work together to get our economy back on track. I hope my
vote today is a strong step toward restoring bipartisanship in
not the only one who's disappointed, Scott. Good luck with that
hopey-changey thing or "improvements in that process going forward."
what the Washington-based Center for Fiscal Accountability said
about the bill last week while urging a "no" vote: "Both the surface
transportation reauthorization and the Build America bonds have less
to do with job creation than with misguided priorities and handouts
to labor unions and local governments. The extension Build America
bonds will leave taxpayers to pay the tab for decadeslong interest
buydown, while the extension of the expiring highway funding
authorization disregards the underlying problems with financing
transportation programs. Extensions would not be necessary if
transportation spending wasn't riddled with waste and fraud."
mind. Reaching out on WRKO on Tuesday, Brown assured his supporters
that the $15 billion wouldn't increase the national debt. We're told
that the package just authorizes a one-time transfer of $19.5
billion from the general fund to the highway trust fund.
the general fund running a deficit already? So, if you take out
$19.5 billion for spending elsewhere, doesn't this increase the
general fund debt?
said that the bill will create jobs, cheerfully assuming that these
new jobs will generate enough new government revenues to fill that
new gap. He was apparently assured of this by Harry Reid when the
Senate majority leader "stepped out of church to call me and ask me
to look at (the bill) personally."
we had all had a little more time to look at it. I understand the
argument about frivolous filibusters, intended to stop bills that
the minority party doesn't like, but the Senate debate on the "jobs
bill" was scheduled for 2 p.m. and the vote to shut down debate came
at 5:30 p.m. Three hours isn't much of a filibuster.
discuss this more intelligently if the debate had lasted into two
days, with media coverage the second morning that would have given
us the pros and cons of the bill.
"transparency and accountability" that Brown wishes had occurred
would have been helpful, too.
mind. There is speculation that during the "church-break"
conversation, Brown got something worth his vote — perhaps his
proposed payroll tax deduction. We'll know soon. And at least we
know he will vote against the much more expensive health care bill,
Regardless of what Brown does in the Senate, it's important for
activists not to feel disillusioned about political activity this
year. If Reid does go along with Brown on his better job creation
idea, and open up those closed doors when crafting bills, it will be
only because he is afraid of his own voters in Nevada, and the other
senators are afraid of theirs.
should set aside unrealistic expectations of our representatives,
yet hold them accountable for their campaign promises.
vote for the Democratic "jobs bill," the wildly inappropriate
fawning over Brown may be replaced by watchful waiting.
Noonan, speechwriter for President Reagan, once wrote that we should
"never fall in love with politicians" because they will inevitably
disappoint us. Then she fell in love with Barack Obama in 2008.
understandably need our leaders to make us proud. This year we need
to take pride in our own activist determination to save our country
from those who, in the past, have let us down.