It’s always fun following our political class because you never know what they will say or what they will do that either makes no sense, is embarrassing, or has very little impact on the average American. Consider some of their recent escapades:
– “Stating The Obvious” – Former President Bill Clinton was quoted in a September 21, 2010 Associated Press article: “Do you know how many political and economic decisions are made in this world by people who don’t know what in the living daylights they are talking about?” Talk about stating the obvious. Given our continuing domestic economic situation and the fact that the political class has not solved a major issue in decades, I would say Mr. Clinton nailed this one perfectly.
– “And Who Is Responsible For This Mess?” – Democratic Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado was quoted in a Washington Post article on September 3, 2010: “We have managed to acquire $13 trillion of debt on our balance sheet. In my view, we have nothing to show for it.” The article went on to say that the good Senator voted “yes” on the economic stimulus bill, the health care overhaul bill, increased education funding and other bills that a Democratic Party-controlled Congress passed on his watch.
The economic stimulus bill has gotten us 9.8% unemployment while wasting hundreds of billions of dollars, the health care overhaul bill is already coming apart and as is its prediction of reducing the national debt, our public schools for the most part do not educate, and no major issues have been solved for the $13 trillion. Looks like the Senator’s keen insight is very compatible with Bill Clinton’s experience.
– “Now You Tell Us” – A quote from retiring Democratic Senator Christopher Dodd appeared in the December 6, 2010 issue of Businessweek magazine: “Powerful financial interests, free to throw money about with little transparency, have corrupted the basic principles underlying our representative democracy.” This quote is from a U.S. Senator who chaired the powerful Senate Banking Committee. During his tenure, he was one of the largest recipients of campaign donations from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two of the largest financial entities that he was supposed to be overseeing. To add insult to injury, Fannie and Freddie were, and are more so now, government entities that should not have been involved in any kind of campaign funding modes, lest of all with the one person who had Senate oversight responsibility for them. The Senator’s words would have had a lot more meaning if they had been spoken during his Senate tenure, as he returned the money he received from Fannie, Freddie, and other powerful financial interests.
– “Light My Fire” – The Associated Press reported on December 9, 2010, that soon-to-be ex-Governor Crist of Florida has been successful in getting a pardon for Jim Morrison, lead singer of the Doors. Morrison was arrested about forty years ago for obscenity during a Miami, Florida Doors’ concert. He has been dead for almost as long so it is not as if Crist was bringing solace to an old man. The Florida economy is in the dumps with higher than average unemployment and probably almost as many homes in foreclosure as there are on the market for sale.
But these family affecting crises can all wait as a politician toils on a completely useless piece of work. Just like the recent passing of Federal legislation that regulates the sound volume of television commercials, where do you think the pardoning of Jim Morrison would fall in the top priorities, concerns, and issues facing the typical American family? I doubt it makes the top 100 but it somehow lit Governor Crist’s fire, to the benefit of no one in Florida.
– “Assault With A Deadly Bicycle” – Reason magazine reported in its January 2011 issue that the town of Black Hawk, Colorado has banned the use of bicycles on most of its city streets. The local town council felt that there could be possible collisions between cars and bikes on the town’s narrow streets. Is this a big problem or top priority of Black Hawk residents? Probably not since, according to the article, there has never been a bike/car collision in the town.
– “Who Ever Reads The Fine Print Anyway?” – According to a New York Times article on July 7, 2010, when President Obama was signing the voluminous financial industry regulation bill, he said: “If you’ve ever applied for a credit card, student loan, or a mortgage, you know the feeling of signing your name to pages of barely understandable fine print.” If he cannot understand what he is signing, how confident does that make the rest of that he and the rest of the political class know what they are doing? (See Bill Clinton’s observation above). It recalls the infamous Nancy Pelosi quote that we would not know what is in the health care reform legislation until we actually passed it. (Clinton is looking smarter and smarter by the minute).
– “Talk About Gun Control” – Not to be outdone by the American political class, Reason magazine reported in its January, 2011 issue that in Queensland, Australia, they really take their gun control seriously. They are considering a statute that would require all TOY guns to be licensed. Those who fail to license their TOY guns would be subject to $4,500 in fines and… if they do not lock up their TOY guns they would be subject to an additional fine of up to $750. They are almost as good as working on inconsequential stuff as American politicians. Bill Clinton did mention politicians around the world not knowing what they were doing, looking smarter and smarter, Bill.
These are funny stories and quotes but also pathetic commentary on what and how our political class works today, to the benefit of no one but themselves. Maybe they need some help from the following steps to get focused:
- Downsize government by 10% a year over five years, hopefully reducing the amount of useless initiatives and low priorities our politicians currently work on and get them focused on real issues, not efforts like banning bike riders or pardoning dead rockers. At the very least, even if they accomplish nothing with this limited to do list, we would save our tax dollars.
- Revamp and re-democratize our election processes so that people like Senator Dodd would not be “tempted” by “powerful financial interests.” These steps would include banning campaign contributions from anyone or any organization except individual American citizens and not allow campaign contributions to cross Congressional district or state lines, e.g. someone living in Kansas could not contribute to a candidate running for the U.S. Senate in New Jersey.
- Require all members of Congress and the Presidential administration to take and pass a course on basic economic theory to try to address Bill Clinton’s insight above. How much damage would the course to, given the poor economic track record of those in power today?
- Impose term limits on all Federal politicians so that we have a reasonable chance of getting rid of the bad ones before they decide that regulating the sound volume on our television commercials is a top priority or we end up with politicians that do not even know what is in the legislation they are passing.
Notes and quotes, makes me sad and mad that we have to put up with them, despite their comic relief