Monday, January 3, 2011

Good Riddance To 111th Congress

  The 111th congress is now history and I'll bet a dollar to a doughnut they will go down in history as one of the worst. They misread the change election that gave us Barack Obama and over reached themselves into the history books as arrogant, self indulgent, and incapable of bipartisanship.  In a center right country, they lurched far left  on a massive progressive dream project, "Obama Care," which had to be brought across the finish line with parliamentary malfeasance against the will of a majority of the American people. Nancy Pelosi's infamous statement, "We must pass the bill to find out what is in it," is symbolic of their arrogant and irresponsible legislative attitude. Obama Care did not even address the real health care problem this country faces. Escalating costs continue unabated as the democrats rewarded trial lawyers by refusing to address tort reform and  competition by keeping in place restrictions that don't allow purchasing insurance across state lines. We know that Obama Care was never about cutting costs, but about  control and a huge expansion of the federal government. The mandate that all must purchase insurance is being challenged in 21 different states, and Virginia has already won a victory in 4th district court that the mandate is unconstitutional.  There will be an obvious supreme court resolution to all these suits and the 112th congress will attempt repeal votes periodically, if for no other reason but to keep Obama Care front and center and a huge campaign issue for 2012.

The 111th congress began their deficit spending spree with an enormous and ineffective stimulus bill which has swelled to over $860 billion. That is more money spent then seven years of the Iraq war. The administration said it must be passed to keep unemployment under 8%. Unemployment has now been above 9.5% for 17 straight months. The stimulus was less a stimulus then a payback to democrat constituents like public employee and labor unions. Democrat districts got 81% more stimulus money then republican districts according to an op-ed by Kay Bailey Hutchison. We all remember Barack Obama's famous smack down, that those who won the election should write the bill. Well, they wrote it, and they gave most of the funds to their districts,  and now they must take responsibility for it's failure and almost a one trillion dollar addition to the national debt. It's ironic that with all the pork and earmarks within the stimulus intended to help vulnerable democrats in the 2010 midterms, republicans still picked up an historic 63 seats in the house and six in the senate.

They followed the stimulus with an omnibus bill that increased discretionary spending by 8% and included more then 9,000 earmarks. This would follow an 8% increase in discretionary spending from the previous year. President Obama vowed to veto bills with earmarks during his campaign, but rushed to sign this monstrosity. It's instructive that once the public began to speak out against this huge overspending and the 2010 elections neared, the democrats decided to forgo their constitutional duties and failed to pass or even introduce a budget  for fiscal 2011. Of course after the election, Harry Reid introduced a 1.1 trillion dollar omnibus in the recent lame duck that was immediately pulled because of public outcry, and many vulnerable 2012 democrats saying no.

The house of the 111th congress passed a cap and trade bill that would have drastically increased utility rates for average Americans, and caused huge job losses. The senate rejected the bill thanks to a threatened filibuster from the GOP. Once again the 111th congress showed their arrogance, especially in the house, by trying to push a bill that would have severely hurt Americans and their standard of living. Their insistence that carbons must be reduced even though the science is still unsettled in most Americans minds, and the whole global warming cabal seems to be falling apart, is wrong headed especially in an economic malaise that would exacerbate if Cap and Trade became law. This congress showed again their disconnect with the American people who are screaming for job creation and reduced government spending.

The financial reform legislation that this congress passed did nothing more then make borrowing harder which of course hurts job creation. As a small business owner I keep CDs in my local credit union. When I have a cash flow problem, I would simply call and borrow off the equity of these CDs. It usually would take a three minute call over the phone, and the interest rate was never more than 3% above what I was getting on the CDs. After the financial regulation bill was passed I found myself in a cash flow deficit and called to borrow off one of these CDs. I was told I now needed to come down to the bank and fill out loan applications because of the new law. I drove down and was there for almost an hour filling out paper work and and signing my name over and over again. I asked if this was a one time thing and we could now return to the phone transactions, and I was told no, your signature is now required each time. I suppose I could have simply cashed out the CD and taken the penalty for early withdrawal. At maturity I probably will. So besides having to spend the time and gas to go to the bank, there were two bank employees trying to make heads or tails of this huge new law. Of course the 111th congress didn't even address Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac in this new law which were the two greatest contributors to the financial meltdown. They continue to protect their interests and campaign contribution sources while piling regulation and burdens on every day Americans.

The 2010 Lame Duck session saw the democrats get DADT repealed and the new start treaty ratified. Both of these should have been delayed until a new congress convened, but the dems knew that would be a harder lift. The dream act died in the Lame Duck, but Harry still tried to get it through. The GOP capitulated on the tax cut extensions by giving away too much. and didn't do enough to stop the dems from their pet bills. The real evil of this 111th congress was their condescension to the American people. They tried to trivialize the Tea Party movement as racists and even contrived a scenario of racial slurs being hurled during the run up to the health care vote. It's obvious it was planned that while they walked to the vote that unfounded accusations of racial slurs and spitting would be made to discredit the protests against their crowning achievement.  Their arrogance was finally confronted on November 2nd. The problem is, they still didn't get it as the Lame Duck proved. It would be hard to imagine a more disastrous congress then the just finished 111th, that succeeded running up more then $3 trillion in debt, by expanding government and assaulting our freedoms.
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