by Cynthia Toney, Contributing Writer and Editor, The Bold Pursuit
I recently posed a question to the Republican candidate for U.S. House of Representatives in my district: “What will you do to stop the momentum that the Democrats in Congress have enjoyed, with the help of some Republicans, in passing one piece of legislation after another?” His answer was on the right track but very short and, I felt, incomplete. So later that evening I attempted to analyze this troubling situation for myself.
There has been a seemingly unstoppable train of legislation coming out of the majority Democrat Congress for the past two years, assisted by some individuals from other parties who seem content with—or perhaps elated by—the rapid growth of our national debt and of government itself. Each time our Senators and Representatives enter into legislative session and jump onto the train, we the taxpayers must desperately cling to our wallets as we are taken on a screaming ride that tears across the landscape of our liberties.
Like any train speeding out of control, the legislation train cannot be examined thoroughly, let alone repaired, while it is still in motion. Because there are so many bills in Congress at any given time, we typically are not aware of the existence of the majority of them, in spite of the fact that they ultimately cost us dearly.
Appropriations bills are relatively simple but sometimes go virtually unnoticed by the public. We are most familiar with appropriations for defense, which is essential to our nation’s survival and which can be financed by the amount of corporate taxes alone. Unfortunately, we seldom hear about appropriations made for foreign countries, under Foreign Operations appropriations. Most taxpayers would be shocked to learn that $48 billion has been appropriated to fight AIDS and other disease in Africa, while millions in the U.S. are unemployed, losing their homes, and unable to pay their own medical bills.
More often than not, bills are mighty behemoths of legal jargon that most members of Congress do not wish to take the time to read, even though it is part of their jobs to do so. Some of us taxpayers take it upon ourselves to read those bills after a long, hard day’s work at our own jobs. In doing so, we find that such large and complicated bills commonly exhibit a feature that may appear within them for very different reasons.
As taxpayers have discovered—often too late—many bills in Congress contain unrelated or lesser pieces of legislation along with the primary legislation. Sometimes the reason for the inclusion of a lesser but altogether worthy piece of legislation is that the sponsors of the bill hope that the added legislation might garner more support from the opposition for the rest of the bill. The opposition is usually tempted by this ploy; plus, it is almost always concerned that, by voting against too many bills from the other party, it may be accused of playing “partisan politics.” It is my belief that conservative taxpayers would like to see a little more “partisan” right now, as well as a little less “what’s in it for my district or state”. I was pleased to hear the aforementioned Republican candidate for the House say that, if elected, he will have the courage to face his constituents and explain why he cannot vote for a particular bill even though it contains a piece of legislation that would benefit them in some way.
Another reason for including an odd bit of legislation is to try to sneak it into a gigantic bill in the hope that it will go unnoticed. This would be legislation that might ordinarily raise some ire, if not from the opposition in Congress, definitely from the taxpaying public. Take for example the healthcare reform bill (with the comely name Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act), which is now law. Didn’t Nancy Pelosi say that we would find out what was in the bill after it was passed? We now know that it also amends the Internal Revenue Code and expands the scope of Form 1099 to track and tax gold bullion and coin transactions. Nobody was looking for that. Taxpayers were already shaken enough by the fact that the IRS must hire tens of thousands of new agents to make sure that we purchase mandatory health insurance.
It has taken some of us longer than others to realize that almost without exception, each time a new bill passes, bureaucracy grows—sometimes in ways never anticipated—and more taxes are required to implement laws that supposedly are meant to save us money.
With each new bill, a new car is added to the legislation train; the train becomes more powerful and more difficult to stop. As a taxpayer, I would like to know that those Senators and Representatives for whom I vote in the future will stop the legislation train and allow the taxpayers to catch their collective breath.
On November 2, 2010, we must vote for those who will most likely employ the emergency brake to stop this runaway train. When it is finally stopped, we must compel those elected to review, repeal, and/or defund all programs not vital to the strength and prosperity of our nation and its citizens.
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