While watching this cesspool of a Congress wrap up it’s final sessions, I am reminded why I decided to remain independent of Party politics. Just looking at the latest piece (of crap) legislation that ties continuing the Bush era tax cuts to unemployment and a growing number of other “perks” is sickening to me. This 111th session of Congress has lost the ability to debate issues for the ‘common good’. Instead, they have resorted to ‘collectively bargaining’ our rights, resources, and riches away.
The term, “collective bargaining”, is a term that is, usually, reserved for contract negotiations between labor unions and corporations. During the negotiation process, both the company and labor unions begin talks with outrageous demands from the other side, eventually to be whittled down to a temporary deal that both sides can agree to. These types of contracts are temporary in nature because company profits margins and competition constantly change. It does neither side any good if the company can not maintain a decent profit margin to remain competitive on the world market, if the company fails, the union fails also.
So what does this have to do with Congress?
It is exactly how they [Congress] have been treating the legislative process. Over the years, it seems as if politicians have given up on finding common ground and have resorted to collectively bargaining our rights, resources, and riches away instead. To iterate my point, I will use the extension of the Bush era tax cuts as an example, since this legislation is ripe for the pickings.
On December 4, 2010, the Senate voted, and rejected President Barak O’Bama’s plan that would increase taxes on individuals making $200,000+ or families making $250,000+ annually. Likewise, it rejected Senator Charles E. Schumer’s plan that would raise taxes, only on those making $1+ annually. It is important to note that neither of these pieces of legislation were bound with other pieces of legislation, so there was no “bribery or collusion”, however, Senator Claire McCaskill has gone on record, stating that, “because Republicans, and 7 Democrats, did not choose to increase taxes on a portion of America, they are taking the rest of the nation “hostage”.
It is also important to note that, at no time during the 111th Congress, has legislation been introduced on the floor of the House or Senate to extend the current tax rates to all Americans. However, four days later, as the deadline for the tax rates to expire draw near, it is being widely reported that President O’Bama ‘collectively bargained’ a deal with Republicans to extend the current tax rates to all Americans for two years. However, this proposed legislation, unlike the two previous versions of the tax rate extension bills, is not about extending the current tax rates to all Americans, it’s about “give and take”.
I find it ironic that, both progressives and conservatives are angry with the leaders of their respective Parties for betraying the core principles of their constituents. President O’Bama, a self professed progressive Democrat, is attempting to sell his Party on a backroom deal with Republicans, and progressives are not buying. Much in the same way, Republicans are trying to sell this backroom deal to conservatives who are also, not buying.
While there has been no vote on whether this plan is acceptable, the public outcry against it is rising.
On a personal note, I am angry, with the GOP for not demanding that a clean, earmark free, piece of legislation be brought to the House and/or Senate floor for a vote that, simply asks the question, “should the current tax rates be extended to every American?”. Instead, the GOP have become a group of collective bargainers, being satisfied with small gains at high prices. Why isn’t Senator McConnell, in the press, asking Senator McCaskill if she believes that this, also, constitutes “hostage taking”? Why does the Republican Party insist on playing the game of ‘give and take’, abandoning it’s conservative principles for an earmark or two?
So let’s be serious for a moment, shall we?
Every piece of legislation that comes before a Congressional Committee represent the concerns of certain groups of American individuals in some way, shape, or form. It is the job of these Committees to make sure that proposed legislation is not unconstitutional, vetted for mistakes, calculate costs, and package legislation for discussion in the House and/or Senate. It is then, the job of the House and/or Senate to discuss and vote on the proposed legislation.
How does it serve the best interest of the American public to have Congressional Committees using collective bargaining techniques, packaging unrelated legislation, and sending it to the House and/or Senate floor(s)? How can State representatives give an accurate view of their voting record when there is no, singular, issue to vote on? How do you, as a voter, hold your representatives accountable, when they can always claim, “the good legislation outweighed the bad”? You can not.
I hope that everyone will join me in emailing or calling their representatives, even if you do not think it will do any good, within the next week to stop this legislation from going anywhere. If taxes increase for all Americans because Democrats refuse to bring a clean bill to the floor, that simply asks the question, “should the current tax rates continue, at the current rate, for all Americans?”, then let Democrats explain THEIR swampy actions. Republicans have GOT to quit participating in collectively bargaining our rights, resources, and riches away.