and the
Citizens Economic Research Foundation

Barbara's Column
October #2

Voters need to send Congress, Beacon Hill a loud wake-up call
by Barbara Anderson

The Salem News
Thursday, October 9, 2008

I apologize to my readers for last week's irrational exuberance, when I was celebrating us "little people" whose resistance to "The Bailout" sent the House version back to the drawing board.

On the Senate drawing board, enough earmarks were added to buy sufficient votes in the House for passage. Adding insult to injury, it's now "The Bailout Plus a Few Million Pounds of Pork."

When we're told that Sarah Palin isn't smart enough, educated enough, experienced enough to be vice president, I ask: Compared to what? Wall Street? Congress? The Bush administration?

Compared to whom? All those over-educated, experienced geniuses who got us into this mess?

If she wasn't on the ticket, I'd hate having to vote for John McCain, who I recall wiggling his pen at us during the presidential debate as he pledged that he would veto any budget that contained earmarks. Then he voted for "The Bailout Plus Pork" along with Barack Obama, of course.

As Congressman John Tierney said when he voted for it, "We had to do something."

Well, if that's all that's required doing something/anything why didn't you all just resign in disgrace? The stock market might have leapt with joy. Those pro-bailout incumbents with opponents could be quickly replaced in November. Governors could appoint replacements for the rest. We'd have "change" indeed.

Massachusetts would have Jeff Beatty as its junior U.S senator next year. The 6th District would have Rich Baker as its congressman. Barney Frank, one architect of the mortgage crisis, would be replaced by Earl Sholley.

It would be fine with me if Gov. Deval Patrick got to choose replacements for other pro-bailout Massachusetts congressmen; he deserves to have some fun after moving to take over the Massachusetts Turnpike and limit police details.

Give the governor credit; he doesn't seem to have the traditional Democratic politician's fear and awe of the public employee unions, who are fighting so hard against the income-tax repeal. They are afraid he'll use its passage to address the public pension and health insurance excesses that will eventually bankrupt the state if nothing is done.

I saw Peter Meade, chairman of the Vote No Committee, on "Keller at Large" Sunday morning. He referred often to the Big Business groups that oppose Question 1, but mentioned "labor groups" in passing, not using the word "unions," even though they are the primary source of funding for his committee. Their polling must show that if emphasis is on Big Labor's support, they lose.

Of course other groups are also in the opposition: Oh look, there's ACORN, which helped cause the sub-prime mortgage crisis. Small world!

Meade's mantra is the word "reckless." He says, "If you want to send a message, get a Hallmark card." He insists we tell him where to cut, though he refuses to tell us what plans his group has to address our many concerns.

The Vote No committee logo is a hand with the "thumbs down" gesture. Knowing these people, it should have a different finger pointing up.

It's all about Big Government, Big Business and Big Labor asserting their federal, state and local dominance over us little people, again.

I'm not going to debate the fine points of this ballot question, which has been created by Carla Howell's Committee for Small Government. I am voting yes for one reason: It's the only protest game in town.

I've noticed that when government is out of control, concerned voters fall into one of two categories. 1.) Those who "get it," who understand that politics is a game and we need to learn to play it, too, or we get the booby prize; and 2.) The boobies, who think it's all for real, debate the fine points, and enable bad behavior by refusing to become combative about it.

Massachusetts politicians despise us, and for good reason. We re-elect them no matter what they do: Spend the money from the fourth highest per-capita taxes in the nation while not getting the job done; building up pensions and other public employee benefits while insisting we can't afford good state services or maintain state infrastructure; and, my favorite, raise taxes that they promise are "temporary," then repeal the voters' repeal of them.

They think we are fools. Sometimes they're right.

The enablers are told by The System that they aren't like those "mindless tax-cutters"; but rather they are good people who care about children and community. Then these "sensible" (not "reckless") people are patted on the head and sent on their way to vote against tax cuts, while The System laughs at them all the way to the bank, to the next political office or an early pension.

Here is the choice on Question 1: Vote "Yes," and give the more competent politicians a chance to show what they can do with this voter back-up; or vote "No," and give up all hope that government will ever get better.

Here's my Hallmark card for Peter Meade: "Greetings. Though we seem to be helpless against the Bailout Plus Pork, we sensible little people refuse to support continued reckless behavior on the part of our state government. Thumbs up."

Barbara Anderson is executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation. Her column appears weekly in the Salem News and other Eagle Tribune newspapers; bi-weekly in the Tinytown Gazette; and occasionally in the Lowell Sun, Providence (RI) Journal and other newspapers.