DownsizeDC.org
February 7, 2008
The $150 Billion Fraud
By James Wilson
Today's Downsizer-Dispatch . . . There are many reasons to downsize DC. A big one, quite simply, is that Big Government hurts the economy:

  • Most government regulations do not achieve their intended purpose of protecting workers and consumers, but only create unemployment and higher prices.
  • Deficit spending causes monetary inflation, and worker's wages do not keep pace with higher prices.
  • Complicated tax laws are grossly inefficient, draining the economy of hundreds of billions in filing costs.
  • Income taxes make it harder for families to save, and for businesses to expand.
  • Every dollar the government wastes is one dollar stolen from the private sector, from the people. For example,the cost of one military helicopter used in an unnecessary war is equivalent to that of 400 cars or 10,000 laptops.

Government is not capable of managing the economy. Its options are mis-managing the economy, or leaving it alone. This means that a real economic stimulus bill would reduce the government's role in the economy. It would:

  • repeal counter-productive regulations.
  • attack inflation by curbing the government's ability to borrow and print money.
  • simplify the tax codes and cut tax rates.
  • cut wasteful spending.

Last week, the House passed the 22-page H.R. 5140 just one day after it was introduced. This "economic stimulus" bill is a fraud:

  • Instead of regulatory reform that would attract business to America and increase employment, it gives businesses some very temporary tax breaks that won't help them in the long term.
  • Instead of attacking inflation, it makes inflation worse by borrowing still more money, and counts on a temporary spending spree this summer to revive the economy. Yet the artificially-created demand will likely cause prices to rise even higher.
  • Instead of genuine tax relief and tax reform that will make the economy more productive, the people will receive a one-time handout that increases the national debt, raises the inflation tax, and increases the debt burden on future generations.
  •  No spending cuts will offset the cost of the package.

You may disagree, and believe this package will at least be a stop-gap that prevents the recession from getting worse. Even so, should a bill that adds $150 billion to the national debt be introduced and passed in just 24 hours? Shouldn't committees study it, and shouldn't the people have a chance to read it and contact Congress with their opinions?

There have been signs of a looming recession for several months - arguably, years - and Congress had all this time to prevent it. Instead, it waited until the last minute to ram through a short-sighted "emergency" bill. That's the way Congress works. And that's why we need the Read the Bills Act.

The Read the Bills Act would not just require Congress to read the bills they pass, it would also require that bills be posted on the Internet for seven days before a final vote is taken. This would give both Congress and the people time to study bills carefully before the vote. If a $150 billion borrow-and-spend bill troubles you, you would have the chance to let Congress know. They wouldn't be able to pass it in a day.

There are  no exceptions for "emergency" bills under RTBA, which means Congress could no longer wait until the last minute to "do something." They would instead have to plan ahead. With planning and feedback from the people, they are more likely to write better bills.

Please tell Congress that you object to the $150 billion the House spent in haste. Tell them that they had several months to produce a thoughtful stimulus package. And tell them they would govern better if they passed the Read the Bills Act. You can do so here.

Also, please consider adding your blog or website to the Read the Bills Act Coalition. This will spread the word about the RTBA, and you'll get a link on our blog and a mention in a Downsizer-Dispatch. Details are here.

This week, we welcome two new members to the Coalition:

Pursuit of Liberty
MPAssetProtection.com
Rich Vermillion

As further ammunition for the Read the Bills Act, we keep tract of the number and length of the bills Congress passes. Although it met for relatively few days in January, the House managed to pass 19 bills totaling 815 pages. The Senate spent most of its time in debate, but passed 3 bills totaling 607 pages. You can see the list of bills below my signature.

Thank you for being a DC Downsizer.

James Wilson
Assistant to the President
DownsizeDC.org The following are the bills the House and Senate passed last week. The bills were passed by voice vote except where indicated. Roll call votes for the House are found here, and for the Senate here. The descriptions of bills are essentially taken verbatim from the Congressional Record Daily Digest. Page numbers of bills are based on the pdf display of the latest version from the Government Printing Office. HOUSE 19 bills, 815 pages Providing for the enactment of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008, as previously enrolled, with certain modifications to address the foreign sovereign immunities provisions of title 28, United States Code: H.R. 4986, to provide for the enactment of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008, as previously enrolled, with certain modifications to address the foreign sovereign immunities provisions of title 28, United States Code, with respect to the attachment of property in certain judgments against Iraq and the lapse of statutory authorities for the payment of bonuses, special pays, and similar benefits for members of the uniformed services, by a 2/3 yea-and-nay vote of 369 yeas to 46 nays, Roll No. 11. 602 pages S-MINER Act: The House passed H.R. 2768, to establish improved mandatory standards to protect miners during emergencies, by a year-and-nay vote of 214 yeas to 199 nays, Roll No. 10. 70 pages HOPE VI Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2007: The House passed H.R. 3524, to reauthorize the HOPE VI program for revitalization of severely distressed public housing, by a recorded vote of 271 ayes to 130 noes, Roll No. 18. 58 pages Master Sergeant Kenneth N. Mack Post Office Building Designation Act: H.R. 3988, to designate D30the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 3701 Altamesa Boulevard in Fort Worth, Texas, as the ``Master Sergeant Kenneth N. Mack Post Office Building''; 1 page Army PFC Juan Alonso Covarrubias Post Office Building Designation Act: H.R. 3720, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 424 Clay Avenue in Waco, Texas, as the ``Army PFC Juan Alonso Covarrubias Post Office Building''; 1 page Judge Richard B. Allsbrook Post Office Designation Act: H.R. 4211, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 725 Roanoke Avenue in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, as the ``Judge Richard B. Allsbrook Post Office'', by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 391 yeas with none voting ``nay'', Roll No. 19; 1 page Amending title 23, United States Code, to inspect highway tunnels: H.R. 409, amended, to amend title 23, United States Code, to inspect highway tunnels; 4 pages Commission on the Abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade Act: Agree to the Senate amendment to H.R. 3432, to establish the Commission on the Abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade--clearing the measure for the President. 6 pages Section 515 Rural Housing Property Transfer Improvement Act of 2007: H.R. 3873, to expedite the transfer of ownership of rural multifamily housing projects with loans made or insured under section 515 of the Housing Act of 1949 so that such projects are rehabilitated and preserved for use for affordable housing; 9 pages Amending the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 to provide for the phase-in of actuarial rates for certain pre-FIRM properties: H.R. 3959, amended, to amend the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 to provide for the phase-in of actuarial rates for certain pre-FIRM properties; 5 pages Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Reauthorization and Improvement Act of 2007: H.R. 3992, amended, to amend title I of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to provide grants for the improved mental health treatment and services provided to offenders with mental illnesses; 20 pages Death in Custody Reporting Act of 2007: H.R. 3971, amended, to encourage States to report to the Attorney General certain information regarding the deaths of individuals in the custody of law enforcement agencies. 5 pages Felix Sparks Post Office Building Designation Act: H.R. 4240, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 10799 West Alameda Avenue in Lakewood, Colorado, as the ``Felix Sparks Post Office Building''; 1 page Larry S. Pierce Post Office Designation Act: S. 2110, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 427 North Street in Taft, California, as the ``Larry S. Pierce Post Office'', by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 388 yeas with none voting ``nay'', Roll No. 23-clearing the measure for the President; 1 page Richard B. Anderson Federal Building Designation Act: H.R. 4140, to designate the Port Angeles Federal Building in Port Angeles, Washington, as the ``Richard B. Anderson Federal Building'', by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 388 yeas with none voting ``nay', Roll No. 24; 1 page Amending the International Center Act to authorize the lease or sublease of certain property described in such Act to an entity other than a foreign government or international organization if certain conditions are met: H.R. 3913, to amend the International Center Act to authorize the lease or sublease of certain property described in such Act to an entity other than a foreign government or international organization if certain conditions are met; 2 pages Recovery Rebates and Economic Stimulus for the American People Act of 2008: H.R. 5140, to provide economic stimulus through recovery rebates to individuals, incentives for business investment, and an increase in conforming and FHA loan limits, by a 2/3 yea-and-nay vote of 385 yeas to 35 nays with 1 voting ``present'', Roll No. 25. 22 pages Extending the Protect America Act of 2007 for 30 days: H.R. 5104, amended, to extend the Protect America Act of 2007 for 30 days. Agreed to amend the title so as to read: ``To extend the Protect America Act of 2007 for 15 days.''. 1 page New England National Scenic Trail Designation Act: The House passed H.R. 1528, to amend the National Trails System Act to designate the New England National Scenic Trail, by a recorded vote of 261 ayes to 122 noes, Roll No. 28. 5 pages. Senate 3 bills, 607 pages Technical Corrections: Senate passed S. 2571, to make technical corrections to the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. 4 pages Protect America Act Extension: Senate passed H.R. 5104, to extend the Protect America Act of 2007 for 15 days, clearing the measure for the President. 1 page H.R. 4986, Defense Authorization Act, 602 pages
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