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October 6, 2008

Taxpayers Robbed Again, and It Won’t Be the Last Time (Watch Social Security)


There is an old saying that if you like sausage, you may not want to see how it is made or what’s in it. That’s true of the national financial crisis “bailout” bill passed by Congress last week.


It is legislative sausage at its best.


The bill contained some important tax extensions such as relief from the unfair Alternative Minimum Tax, but it also contained billions of dollars in opportunistic pet pork projects – “earmarks”. What it did not contain was transparency so taxpayers could easily understand what was in it. In fact, the last time we had a transparent pork-free bill passed in Congress was when the Constitution was signed in 1787.


Some people are still so angry about the crisis and how we got here that they still cannot accept the fact that to do nothing was not an option. Yes I am still angry, but I have accepted the painful reality of a $700 billion economic medication.


The bill will not be an instant stimulus for national economic growth. The best outcome is that it will loosen the flow of credit, and mitigate the rapid economic decline that we have seen within just the last few weeks. Hopefully, the taxpayers will not have to swallow much of the $700 billion, if any.


But I do not accept the necessity of adding billions of dollars in “sweeteners” to the legislation to persuade enough lawmakers to vote for it in order to get it passed. Members of Congress will tell you that’s reality. I say that’s bull feathers.


The taxpayers were robbed again.


There was another alternative plan that did not have a $700 billion price tag and no sweeteners, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would not allow it to even be introduced, debated or discussed. The alternative plan was based on unleashing cash stuck in other countries because of income tax rules, and cash stuck in investment capital accounts because of capital gains taxes.  


The alternative plan was developed by the Republican Study Committee in the House of Representatives (www.house.gov/hensarling/rsc).


Obviously, Speaker Pelosi’s problem with the alternative was that it was a Republican proposal. Surprise, surprise!


In business, decisions are made based on the lowest cost and most effective alternative solution to a problem. It appears to be just the opposite in a Democratic-controlled Congress, which prefers highest cost and least effective.


If this is Speaker Pelosi’s definition of “A New Direction” as promised during the 2006 election year, then I shudder to think of what Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid will attempt to steal from us if Barack Obama gets elected president.


The taxpayers have been robbed before.


We were robbed when Congress voted back in the 1980s to allow Social Security taxes to be used for purposes other than Social Security benefits. They routinely substitute the money for “IOUs” and call it a “Trust Fund” account. The only thing we can trust is that there are no plans to ever put that money back into Social Security.


We were robbed again when the Senate voted down a resolution to disallow this practice a couple of years ago by an 85 to 15 margin. Most people never even heard of this proposal because there was no visible and immediate Main Street impact, and the mainstream media never gets excited about a fiscally responsible idea.  


Every time a bill is passed in Congress with “earmarks”, or money is redirected for purposes other than originally intended, taxpayers are being robbed of their hard-earned money and their freedom to say no. Sadly, most of our elected representatives will not say no for us. That’s reality. 


In less than 10 years the Social Security system will have become a financial train wreck. It will be another crisis and we already know it is coming.


What we don’t know is how we will be robbed the next time.


© 2008 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


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