Hiding Behind Amendments (Guest Post)

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clean bill

The US Senate is set to vote on an extension of unemployment benefits. That’s fine. Whether you agree with the extension or not is not the issue under consideration here.

What is being considered is the issue of WHY politicians (of both parties) deem it necessary to attempt to attach totally unrelated issue amendments to bills? An example of that very thing is currently ongoing. Republicans have tried to attach amendments addressing the Keystone XL pipeline construction, repeal of a medical device tax, an amendment about coal-fired powerplant emissions, and language in the Affordable Care Act that defines full-time employees as anyone that work 30 hours a week, to a bill that addresses an unemployment benefits extension. What do ANY of these amendments have to do with the unemployment benefits extension issue?

Allow me to be specific.

On the unemployment benefits extension bill, Senate Republicans pressured Democrats to allow amendment votes on the bill and sought eight times to get unanimous consent to attach their amendments to the bill.
But Democrats have refused, noting that they already had 60 votes needed to cut off debate and pass the measure.

A senior Senate Republican aide ripped Democrats for rejecting the GOP offer of a final vote today in return for a vote on a Republican amendment. “They are so afraid of this one amendment that they are willing to blow up their entire schedule,” the aide said.

Senate Democrats are considering a proposal (deal) from Senate Republicans to agree to a vote on an omnibus amendment in exchange for completing work on an unemployment insurance extension bill. The proposal would most likely meet a 60-vote threshold to end debate on the unemployment extension bill. A senior Senate Democrat aide said that Democrats believe wrapping several Republican amendments into one has the effect of “watering down” their efforts to score political points. “The fact that we are considering this at all, I think, shows that their gotcha amendments have lost their punch,” the aide said.

BTW, the deal fell apart. The Senate is set to pass an unemployment extension after voting to end a final GOP filibuster Thursday. The cloture tally was 61-35. Six Republicans – Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Susan Collins of Maine, Dean Heller of Nevada, Mark S. Kirk of Illinois, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Rob Portman of Ohio – joined with ALL Democrats to end debate.

Ultimately, much ado about nothing. But it allows the failing politicians to say that fought the good fight.

Now allow me to generalize, to pontificate.

Perhaps bill amendments is how business is done in Washington DC, it’s how those without the votes get their wishes and/or delay actions. But it’s damn confusing. But, worst of all, it gives politicians cover under which they can hide. They can select one amendment and proclaim support/opposition for that one issue, while the rest of the bill goes unacknowledged. For example, say a Keystone XL pipeline to be built amendment is successfully attached to the unemployment extension bill. A politician can, when campaigning, loudly proclaim they he/she supported/opposed the pipeline issue, while totally ignoring the fact that he/she also supported/opposed the unemployment extension issue.

And they can claim support/opposition of issues as they see fit, that will most benefit them, as polls emerge that express the majority opinion.

By using this tactic, politicians can truthfully claim support for/opposition to any issue. But they never provide the WHOLE truth of their actions. We will seldom, if ever, see a single issue bill that will allow us to see exactly a Senator or Representative stands. And this tactic permits RINO Republicans to claim to be and appear conservative.

But that’s just my opinion.

Cross-posted at The Pot Stirrer, my very conservative web site!

38 Responses to “Hiding Behind Amendments (Guest Post)”

  1. 1

    Smorgasbord

    Allowing amendments to bills lets the politicians vote themselves the pork barrel spending they have grown accustomed to. The politician picks a bill that they think will pass, then they add on what they want. Others do the same. The, “I’ll vote for yours if you’ll vote for mine” mentality prevails in congress.

    SUGGESTED BILLS TO INTRODUCE INTO THE HOUSE AND SENATE
    (1) Only the author/authors of a bill can change it. This would prevent amendments from being added, because the author/authors would have to explain to their voters why they are giving money to other states.

    (2) Bills shall be voted on in the order they are introduced. The first vote would be whether to delay a vote for later. This would end the practice of the speaker of the house and the speaker of the senate being the only ones who can put a bill up for a vote. Many bills have been introduced that neither speaker likes, so they don’t put them up for a vote. The Fair Tax is an example.

    (3) Bills will be written in plain English, so that the average citizen can understand them.

    I know that the incumbents in congress won’t allow any changes that take power and money away from them, so I suggest that each person make a MALL list of what they want anyone running for office to do, and have the politician sign it, then send it back.

  2. 2

    George Wells

    Odd that anyone would think that crafting legislation should be such a simple process. Our country is huge, and its diverse population is represented by a myriad of factions and self-interest groups that are eager to throw their money and time into fighting opponent interests. No majority prevails. Requiring a simple yes-or-no vote on un-amended legislation is the quickest way to bring congress to a screeching halt.

    I spent a two-year tour of duty in Iceland, and I was impressed by how homogenous their population was. Icelandic citizens are virtually all white, there is very little crime, and the culture has a decidedly socialist flavor although the form of government is that of a democratic republic. When they were rocked by a banking collapse in 2008, they let the banks fail. The bond-holders took it in the shorts instead of the taxpayers, social safety nets were strengthened (not eviscerated) and when the smoke cleared, the recovery went remarkably well. All of this was possible because the small, homogenous population isn’t working in an infinite number of different directions. Oh, they have their different political parties, and consensus doesn’t always come easily. But they do NOT have the enormous complexity of regional differences or the population diversity that the United States has, and that is their advantage.

    In the United States, There are a number of agricultural states whose needs and interests differ from those of Northeastern states, for example, or states in which industry is concentrated. Other states have large proportions of rural citizens whose needs differ from those living in urban centers. States that are blessed with significant deposits of coal, natural gas or oil are severely impacted by environmental regulation, while others are not.

    With so many disparate interests in the mix, there is no way any one idea could possibly prevail in congress unless it enjoyed universal appeal. NOTHING DOES. The only way anything can get done is by the various different factions getting together and compromising on their individual priorities to put together a package “deal” that hopefully will do slightly more good than harm to the aggregate. Sometimes they succeed, and sometimes not. But the alternative for a country as diverse as ours is total dysfunction. We’ve tried that for the past two years, and it’s been a mess. It is time for both political parties to abandon their nuclear-option, brinkmanship-inspired approach to governance and get back to the bargaining table. There’s work to be done.

  3. 3

    Scott in Oklahoma

    @George Wells: As one living in a rural agricultural/energy creation state, I can say one of the huge issues we have out here is the people in Washington DC, both political and bureaucratic are real busy making laws, rules and regulations that dictate how we live and how we make our living without having any experience at all in what they ruling over. Compounded by DC’s need to take more of our money and resources (at the point of a gun) they are setting themselves up not just for failure as a group, but for a continued slide downward for our entire country. They are proving that our government is not too big to fail, and only because they have put ego and selfishness ahead of the principles this country was founded on as outlined in our Constitution.

  4. 4

    Common Sense

    Your observations and frustrations are well said and it is difficult to understand why Keystone should appear with an unemployment knowing from the beginning that it will not be part of the final bill. Sadly this practice goes on with almost all bills and both Democrats and Republicans participate. My view is that Republicans as the minority should continue this practice for two reasons. First it creates a track record of rejection by the Majority (Harry Reid) and the Democrats which can be used during the political election process to point out how liberalism has failed. Secondly, it places a bargaining chip on the table to negotiate passage of other less potent legislation but none the less, both parties know unemployment will pass and therefore the minority may be able to in small ways push the conservative agenda. Politicians in swing districts will feel this pressure therefore change can happen. I.E. a Democrat Senator in a swing election in 2014 may and should be held accountable for their positions on these issues. There is HOPE for America in 2014 and that HOPE rests in the Republicans taking back control of the Senate!! We applied a good strategy in 2010 and took back the House in Historic fashion. The unpopularity of 0-blamacare and out of control spending where the keys and they are even stronger in 2014!!

  5. 5

    George Wells

    @Scott #3:

    Your point is well taken, and is a very good example of a fundamentally weakness in our representative Republic. Every different group – be they states with a common interest or groups of people with similar needs – has its own distinct agenda, and these disparate agendas hardly ever overlap. Why on Earth would a congressman from Connecticut ever vote for a bill that helped Oklahoma do ANYTHING? The answer is that to get what IT wants, Oklahoma would have to reach an agreement with Connecticut to support something that it otherwise would not favor. This bargaining process is at the core of compromise and is the reason why amendments are a vital part of almost all successful legislation. Somehow, the different interests of the different states and the different people they contain have to be legislated in the aggregate. Trying to get things done in a linear, piecemeal way just doesn’t work. That’s because politicians cannot trust one another for the five minutes it takes to go from one bill to the next, and with good reason.

  6. 6

    George Wells

    @Commonsense #4:
    Quite correct in your assessment of the practical value of otherwise futile obstructionism by a minority party.
    I would caution you, however, on placing too much faith on “the unpopularity of 0-blamacare and out of control spending” as Republican windfalls at the national ballot box. By 2016, the Affordable Care Act will have been up-and-running for almost a full three years, and the voting public is currently warming to it and may well continue to do so.
    Regarding out-of-control spending, you’ll do better to watch the stock market than the National Debt to gauge what direction the political wind is blowing. If the markets are up, you’ve got nothing to run on, because Uncle Sam can always print more money. As long as people’s 401-K’s are ticking upward, they love out-of-control spending – figure that they’re getting a cut of the pie.
    Don’t count your chicks until the eggs have hatched.

  7. 8

    Smorgasbord

    @George Wells: #2

    It is time for both political parties to abandon their nuclear-option, brinkmanship-inspired approach to governance and get back to the bargaining table.

    As long as politicians need someone else’s money to run for election, the ones with the most money will get what they want. With the new ruling from the supreme court, the ones with the money can donate to as many people as they want. I am neutral on whether this is right or wrong, but it means that the ones with the most money can now donate to as many candidates as they want, meaning they can have many more politicians trying to push threw the legislation that will benefit what the donor wants. If you think the laws are bad now for the rest of us, just wait a few years.

    My son is in the Air Force, and spent two years in Iceland. I visited him for two weeks, and one time he said that he had seen only ONE overweight Islander. It surprised me when I saw how many fast food joints there were in a mall. I didn’t think to ask my son how long they had been there. If the fast food joints serve the same stuff they are serving in the USA, the population should have gained a bunch of weight since then.

    Do you remember the “Keflavik Crinkle”?

  8. 9

    Smorgasbord

    @Scott in Oklahoma: #3

    …both political and bureaucratic are real busy making laws, rules and regulations that dictate how we live and how we make our living without having any experience at all in what they ruling over.

    Most politicians don’t even know what is going on in their own state, because they actually LIVE in washington dc. There should be a law that says a politician has to live a certain amount of time in their home state, or they become a resident of washington dc, and are no longer a member of congress.

  9. 10

    George Wells

    @Smorgasbord#8:

    I was there 1970-72… don’t remember a “Keflavik crinkle,” though we were at the Keflavik NATO Base. But you are right about their good physical condition. They walked everywhere they could, and drove Mercedes on the gravel roads out in the country. Back then they only had 22 miles (or was it kilometers?) of paved roads in the whole country, excepting the city roads. The outdoor swimming pool in Reykjavik was a blast at Christmas, rolling in the snow and then jumping in the hot pool. I recommend the place. Oh, and very pretty people.

  10. 11

    Smorgasbord

    @George Wells: #5

    This bargaining process is at the core of compromise and is the reason why amendments are a vital part of almost all successful legislation.

    I respectfully disagree. When ANY POLITICIAN can add ANY AMENDMENT to ANY BILL, then all the politicians will add any amendment they think they can to any bill. This is why the federal spending is so out of control. A bill that might cost $10,000,000 on its own, can swell up to $10,000,000,000 or more when all of the amendments are added.

    Bills introduced into congress should have an, “INTENT OF THIS BILL” at the beginning of it, and any part of the bill that doesn’t fit the INTENT would automatically be voided. If a bill introduced into congress can only be amended by the author, and if the amendments had to be associated with the INTENT of the bill, there is still room for compromise. A politician from another state can tell the author, “I will vote for your bill if you will vote for mine.” The difference is that both politicians voting for the bill will have to explain to their constituents why BOTH bills are good for the COUNTRY, and not just a state. Keep in mind that the bill could still be changed if the author thinks the changes will be accepted by their constituents.

    Having a system where a bill introduced into congress can have up to 99 politicians add amendments in the senate, and 335 in the house, is why there are amendments that don’t have anything to do with the original bill.

    There has to be a massive overhaul of how congress is run. For example, ONE person in the house, and ONE person in the senate, decide whether a bill will go out for a vote. This means that TWO people in the ENTIRE congress decide which bills will be voted on. It would be interesting to see how many, and what bills, are being held up for a vote because TWO people in congress don’t like them.

  11. 12

    Smorgasbord

    @George Wells: #10

    …don’t remember a “Keflavik crinkle,”….

    I visited my son in 2008. He mentioned that I might see some vehicles where the door was pushed far enough that it crinkled the door and the body. This is caused during the VERY high winds in the winter. He said that a lot of Icelanders tie a ribbon on the antenna. When they are ready to get out of their vehicle, they look at the ribbon to see which way the wind is blowing. If it is blowing strong from behind, they know to hang on tight to the door when they open it, or the Keflavik Crinkle could result.

    Do you remember the Icelanders saying, “There is a pretty girl behind every tree”? All you have to do is find a tree.

  12. 13

    George Wells

    @Smorgasbord #12:
    I remember walking to work one morning (raining), leaning into the steady, 80-knot wind at about a 45-degree angle, when the wind suddenly quit. I promptly fell face-first into a puddle. And my car was sand-blasted by flying pumice over the second winter and had to be repainted. But no crinkle. Maybe the body panels were a bit more substantial back then…

    I thought that republicans were pissed at Harry Reid for not allowing amendments, and I agreed that Reid was wrong. Are you saying that he is right?
    I agree that the practice of the two leaders in congress holding up votes indefinitely is wrong and should be ended. But I cannot imagine a way for congress to overhaul itself, and neither can I imagine a scenario in which the American public does it for them. After years and years of surviving abysmal popularity, congress could care less what its employer thinks of it. Pity.

  13. 14

    Smorgasbord

    @George Wells: #13
    My son said that one winter he was walking from one building to another on base, and a whiteout hit him, and he couldn’t see anything, but he made it to the next building. Some of the outer roads have buildings with supplies for anybody stranded by a storm.

    I thought that republicans were pissed at Harry Reid for not allowing amendments, and I agreed that Reid was wrong. Are you saying that he is right?

    I NEVER AGREE with Harry Reid. When amendments are allowed, amendments are added, and there are usually MANY of them added, and most of them have nothing to do with the original bill. Look at all of the stuff that was added to the obamacare bill that has nothing to do with health care.

    If a bill can’t have any amendments added to it by anybody except the author of the bill, and the bill is voted down, the author can change it so they will think that it will please other politicians, but then the author of the bill will have to explain to their constituents why they changed the bill to what is now is.

    As I mentioned earlier, it is possible for 99 senators to add amendments to ONE bill, and for 335 representatives to add amendments to ONE bill. Each of those amendments can cost WE THE PEOPLE millions of dollars. I’m open for any other way for politicians not to be allowed to add as much as they do to bills. Amendments should only be allowed if they are in line with the INTENT of the bill.

    But I cannot imagine a way for congress to overhaul itself, and neither can I imagine a scenario in which the American public does it for them.

    This is why I suggest that each of us gives a SHORT list of the things we want OUR politician to vote for, or to someone new running for the office, and have them sign a paper saying what they will do if elected. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be a legal document, so the politician wouldn’t have to do what they said they will do, but it will prove that they are a liar if they don’t, and can be used against them in their next election.

    After years and years of surviving abysmal popularity, congress could care less what its employer thinks of it.

    I used to use this as the democrat’s slogan, but it fits both of them now:

    We don’t have to fool all of the people all of the time. We just have to fool enough of them long enough to get elected.

  14. 15

    Common Sense

    @George Wells: Actually recent polling shows that many more Americans are opposed to 0-blamacare than in favor of it. When the realities of 0-blamacare are confirmed it will be even more unpopular. One again 0-blama used politics to describe enrollment into this failure. First of all he said 7.1M have enrolled which does NOT mean they are insured. Secondly a high percentage of those in the program have NOT paid their premiums, especially those who had NO insurance prior to this loser. In addition rates will climb due to the mix of age of enrollment. The younger healthier non insured have said NO thanks and the older more costly non insured have signed up. In addition, if you take into consideration that 5 million LOST their health insurance because of 0-blamacare the 7.1M enrollment number is political and NOT reality. It is interesting to me that 0-blama asked the major networks to give him time to spike the ball and they refused!!  Wonder why??

  15. 16

    George Wells

    @Common Sense #15:

    “o-blamacare, o-blamacare, o-blama, o-blamacare, o-blama.”

    Reminds me of the cooks in Africa who add lots of chili, salt, garlic and lime to their food to hide the fact that the meat is always spoiled.

    If you have a legitimate point to make, why dilute it with insults that prove to the reader that you are anything but impartial.

    I got nothing from your post other than that you are a child. Was that the message you intended?

  16. 17

    Common Sense

    @George Wells: Hey georgie you poor little whiny pathetic liberal wacho baby!! Take your thumb out of your mouth and grow up. If your going to whine this much you need another site to express your idiotic self on!! BTW Democrats have blamed Republicans and Bush for the last 12 years and so I use 0-blama and I won’t stop because your diapers are soiled!!

  17. 19

    Smorgasbord

    @Common Sense: #15

    It is interesting to me that 0-blama asked the major networks to give him time to spike the ball and they refused!!  Wonder why??

    Even rats desert a sinking ship. The propaganda media FINALLY figured out that the USS obamacare is sinking, and it is taking the propaganda media down with it. THE RATS ARE ABANDONING SHIP. They are now in life rafts, and are trying to stay afloat. I hope EVERY ONE of them sinks.

  18. 20

    George Wells

    @Smorgasbord #19:

    “I hope EVERY ONE of them sinks.”

    That’s an encouraging sentiment. Like Common Sense’s #17 post, I see nothing that suggests you will ever rise to a point where compromise with opponents would be acceptable, and in an evenly divided country, that kind of thinking poisons all function of government. The notion of “United We Stand, Divided We Fall” seems to have slipped from our national consciousness.

    I would remind you that we have this president – with all of HIS disasters – precisely because we had eight years of GWB and all of HIS disasters. The “rats” don’t abandon ship, they simply run back and forth, left to right, trying for something better.

    I like your ship analogy. Election cycles are like that rat-filled ship, with people running first to the starboard side and then the port side, always trying to get a better position for themselves but never succeeding. With the vessel consequently rocking violently from side to side, its forward progress is nil. We are dead in the water. Our congress – our government – is in a state of self-inflicted rigor mortis. As long as your side AND my side is content to point fingers and assign blame, it will stay that way.

  19. 21

    Smorgasbord

    @George Wells: #20

    I see nothing that suggests you will ever rise to a point where compromise with opponents would be acceptable, and in an evenly divided country, that kind of thinking poisons all function of government.

    Keep in mind that I don’t belong to any political party. How much further is the republican party supposed to compromise. They let obama increase the limit of the national debt several times, they let him have obamacare, they let him change laws as he wants, they let him ignore laws, they let him reduce the military, etc., etc., etc. I guess you figure a compromise would be to let obama be crowned king like he wants to be. I know he would accept it if offered to him, not like George Washington refused it.

    The notion of “United We Stand, Divided We Fall” seems to have slipped from our national consciousness.

    That statement was in reference to whether to let the USA split into two countries. The founding fathers knew that WE THE PEOPLE never would be united. That is why they created three SEPARATE branches of the government, so that one can contradict the others if it feels it needs to. Whenever you have more than one, there will always be division.

    I would remind you that we have this president – with all of HIS disasters – precisely because we had eight years of GWB and all of HIS disasters.

    Have you noticed that democrats ALWAYS blame the republicans, but that a lot of republicans will say when they disagree with THEIR president? Why do you look at your presidents as if they are infallible? Isn’t there even ONE thing ANY democratic president did or didn’t do that you don’t like. George Bush got a lot of complaints from republicans.

    The “rats” don’t abandon ship, they simply run back and forth, left to right, trying for something better.

    As I read that, I visioned the USS America with no way for others to board it and help keep it from sinking, or going in the wrong direction. We always have the same crew, except for a few changes each election. Running for office has purposefully been made so complicated so that the same ones can keep steering the ship. We need a rescue ship to come and take over. I want ALL OF THE POLITICIANS thrown overboard, just like the tea was in Boston Harbor.

    I like your ship analogy. Election cycles are like that rat-filled ship, with people running first to the starboard side and then the port side, always trying to get a better position for themselves but never succeeding.

    Just like a ship at see, there can’t be any change of people until they find land. Until that happens, the people are stuck with what they have. Unfortunately, the USS America doesn’t seem to be able to find a port that has decent replacements for the crew they have.

    Imagine a rat maze with 435 rats trying to find the prize in the center. They are looking for what is best for THEM. That is what congress is right now: A bunch of rats looking for the prize for THEMSELVES. All for one, and that one is me.

    Our congress – our government – is in a state of self-inflicted rigor mortis.

    We both agree on that.

    As long as your side AND my side is content to point fingers and assign blame, it will stay that way.

    My side isn’t in office. My side can’t run for election because the people and businesses won’t donate to people who won’t agree to do what they are told to do if they get elected. They want politicians in office that will be a marionette like obama, and let puppeteers attach strings to them that can be pulled ANY TIME. I want autonomous politicians that only allow the ones who elected them to have any control over them.

    Wouldn’t you rather have politicians who vote the way they think the voters want them to, than to vote the way they get the most money?

    WE NEED TO CALL AN EXTERMINATION SERVICE. That sounds like a good theme for a Tea Party sign.

  20. 22

    George Wells

    @Smorgasbord #21:

    “How much further is the republican party supposed to compromise. They let obama increase the limit of the national debt several times, they let him have obamacare, they let him change laws as he wants, they let him ignore laws, they let him reduce the military, etc., etc., etc.”

    You site unexceptional examples of compromise. Lets look at them:

    1. Republicans “let” Obama raise the national debt several times. When doesn’t congress “let” the president raise the national debt limit? I have difficulty interpreting the graphs on this, but it sure looks like Congress “let” Reagan raise it 6 times, and the debt TRIPLED under his watch. Twice under GHWBush, twice under Clinton, 6 times under GWBush (doubling), and clearly set to double under Obama. Obama has seen the worst increase versus GDP since WWII, but the case could be made that the recession was the worst disaster the US has faced since that war, and while you and I may not have agreed with the way the current administration tried to spend its way out of that recession, we are past it today, and it is difficult to give that spending NO credit for what recovery there has been. My view is that we never should have lowered trade barriers (NAFTA) and we never should have made it attractive to ship our manufacturing base abroad. I’m tired of enriching China every time I need a new microwave or television or air conditioner or camera or lawn mower or… get the point? Where are the jobs? In China. Duuuh! That’s not Obama’s fault. In the mean time, Republicans tried the wrong Band-Aid: NOT raising the debt limit and thus threatening default. Bad Mojo.

    2. “Let” him have Obama-care? Only one House Rep. voted in favor of it, and that vote wasn’t needed for passage. Fact-check gives you a raspberry on this one.

    3. “Let him change laws as he wants? Other than issuing “executive orders” in essentially the same manner as has been the case with other presidents, Obama has no authority to “change” laws. When Holder announced that he would not defend certain provisions of law – such as DOMA Part 2 – he defended his decision by explaining that, in his PROFESSIONAL opinion (he IS in the position to make such a determination professionally, but would still be subject to SCOTUS override) that legislation was unconstitutional. SCOTUS agreed, which would seem to vindicate his decision in that matter. There is ample national and international precedence for responsibility to countermand unconstitutional legislation, wrongful direct orders, etc. If and when Obama oversteps – and he has – he is subject to redress as have been other presidents (Nixon).

    4. “Let” him reduce the military? Well, we already looked at the debt issue. And we already know that the Republican game-plan was to cut taxes to the point that social safety net programs would be unaffordable. Bush2 did a great job of getting us half way there, cutting taxes and launching a trillion-dollar war with no provision to pay for it. Then a disgruntled American public elects a Democrat who you THEN think is going to cut his own political throat by gutting those Dem. programs? He caught a lot of flack when he put EVERYTHING on the table in an effort to do that “Grand Bargain” thing, and Republicans balked because they couldn’t stand the thought of increasing taxes. Bad BAD Mojo. Cutting the military? At this point, we need to cut EVERYTHING. And while we’re at it, taxes need to go up, too. EVERYBODY needs to chip in, not just the rich, and not just the poor. But to get to this magic sweet spot, both political parties are going to have to accept the fact that THEIR side isn’t going to get off free, and so far, neither side likes that prospect because they are afraid of what will happen to their jobs. As the Prince says at ther end of Romeo and Juliet: “All Are Punished.”

  21. 23

    Smorgasbord

    @George Wells: #22
    For anybody who doesn’t read the whole comment, please go to the bottom and read about how to get recall notices from the government, especially if you have kids or grandkids.

    I have difficulty interpreting the graphs on this, but it sure looks like Congress “let” Reagan raise it 6 times, and the debt TRIPLED under his watch.

    You also heard and read about a lot of conservative bloggers and talk show hosts who complained about it. Bush NEVER used his item veto even once that I know of, so the debt was JUST AS MUCH HIS FAULT as the democratic congress at that time, but you NEVER heard or read about even ONE liberal media complain about the excessive spending, or the excessive spending when of the democratic presidents were in office. Why?

    Republican voters complain about their republican presidents and congress members, but very few democratic voters complain about their democratic president and congress members. Why?

    I’m guessing that the democratic voters are content with the spending as long as THEY are a part of the reason for the excessive spending. It would be interesting to find out which party the generation after generation welfare recipients belong to. It would honestly surprise me if most of them were republican, but since there is no proof either way, I have to admit ahead of time that most of them could be republicans.

    Obama has seen the worst increase versus GDP since WWII, but the case could be made that the recession was the worst disaster the US has faced since that war, and while you and I may not have agreed with the way the current administration tried to spend its way out of that recession, we are past it today, and it is difficult to give that spending NO credit for what recovery there has been.

    I no longer blame democrats for their excessive spending that increases the debt. I blame CONGRESS. BOTH PARTIES have become the “spend now pay later” party. This is why I want BOTH PARTIES out of congress.

    You said, “…you and I may not have agreed with the way the current administration tried to spend its way out of that recession….” Do you realize you just admitted that you think increased government spending is the way to get out of a recession. Study after study has found out that the massive spending from the government during recessions actually EXTENDED that recession. The money has to come from some place, and that means the government has to raise taxes, and that means the people and the businesses have less money to spend, so they spend less money, making the recession last longer. The idea SHOULD BE to let the people KEEP as much of their money as they can, then they will either spend it, or save it. Either way it is a win-win for the economy. If they spend it, business grow. If they save it, banks will have more money to loan at a lower interest rate, so people can get loans for homes, to start a business, or for any other reason.

    Let’s look at it a different way: You have maxed out all of your credit cards, and borrowed all you could from the bank, but you have a house and car payment coming, and your kids have a college tuition payment coming up. You have applied for government welfare, but was denied because you earn too much to qualify. Which of the following possibilities would you choose?

    (1)Apply for another credit card.
    (2) Seek loans from other people.
    (3) Find a way to reduce spending.

    I’m guessing you would SETTLE for #3 after #1 and #2 failed.

    You failed to mention that the stimulus money went mostly to districts that donated to obama. Remember how Chrysler had to fire ALL of the dealerships that didn’t donate to the obama administration? You seem to have a habit of forgetting about things like that. There also has only been ONE house that was saved by the bank bailout. Can you provide a link to any more that the billions of dollars given to the banks saved? The American banks sent billions of the money to FOREIGN BANKS.

    Please list the ways you SAY the spending has helped the recovery:

    (1)

    I don’t know enough about NAFTA to form an opinion, and things I don’t understand enough about I don’t form opinions about. Knowing congress like I do, whoever gives them the most money is how they will vote, even if they know it will harm the USA.

    I’m tired of enriching China every time I need a new microwave or television or air conditioner or camera or lawn mower or… get the point?

    Then, do like I do. If I WANT something, but I can’t find a non-Chinese made one, and I don’t NEED it, I don’t buy it. There are a lot of things I don’t have that I want because I can’t find ones NOT MADE IN CHINA.

    I was in a second hand store one time and bought a Chinese made item, and the person behind the counter knew I don’t buy Chinese if I don’t have to, and asked me about it. I explained that buying something used made in China is different. They made the money off of the ORIGINAL purchase, but they aren’t making money of MY purchase.

    If I need something, and can’t find it in stores, I will go to the Internet and put “made in use” in quotation marks to look for American made products. I was surprised how many companies in America have the products I want, and at a price that surprised me (jeans for #30, leather gloves $15-20). For the items I very seldom buy, or will buy once in my lifetime, I will pay a higher price, knowing the money will stay in the USA, and help America grow. I’ve listened to a lot of people who don’t care where the stuff comes from, as long as it’s the cheapest they can get.

    ANOTHER REASON NOT TO BUY CHINESE
    I read an article that said that the reason we have won the wars we have been in is that we could ALWAYS produce more war goods than the enemy could destroy. With the US factories vanishing like they are, if we would ever have to produce war goods like we did for WWI and WWII, we wouldn’t have the factories to do it. Changing an existing factory into a war goods factory is much faster and cheaper than having to build them.

    What if the country or countries we are fighting are friends of China and Russia? Where would be get our war goods? Could this be one reason the Chinese government is subsidizing many of their businesses?

    RECALL NOTICES
    Everybody should subscribe to the government’s recall web site and receive the recall emails they send out. You will be shocked how many of the products are “Made In China”, and a lot of the products are for babies and toddlers.

  22. 24

    George Wells

    @Smorgasbord #23:

    “Republican voters complain about their republican presidents and congress members, but very few democratic voters complain about their democratic president and congress members. Why?”

    Seems just the other day I caught Rachel Maddow going on at length about how Obama was violating the nation’s trust – and his own campaign promises – by continuing the NSA’s aggressive collection and storage of private information. Seems she blasted his “drone” policy for much the same set of reasons. When Obama failed to advance long-promised gay rights, liberals went on the attack and ultimately got Biden to do an end-run around him, embarrassingly forcing Obama to finally “evolve” on the issue. When I write to my Democratic senators and to my Republican representatives, the messages are the same: I credit their good decisions and I fault their failures. Certainly both sides engage in partisanship, but if you fail to see Democrats critiquing Democrats, it’s for lack of looking.

    “You said, “…you and I may not have agreed with the way the current administration tried to spend its way out of that recession….” Do you realize you just admitted that you think increased government spending is the way to get out of a recession.”

    You mistook my meaning. I meant that we both DISAGREED with what the current administration did. I favored the Icelandic approach, which allowed bankrupt institutions to fail. The creditors who invested in bad actors lost their collective shirts, but the innocent taxpayers were unharmed. (The Icelandic economy’s recovery was surprisingly robust.) Seems fair to me. Detroit wouldn’t have disappeared. If banks are “too big to fail,” then break them up. But don’t make the tax payer pay for their mistakes and then let them keep making the same mistakes. If the taxpayer is going to foot the bill, then make the taxpayer the owner and fire the over-paid crooks.

    I do see a certain “leveling” effect of government spending on the extremities of economic cycles. The natural inclination of people and businesses to tighten belts when the economy slows has a self-reinforcing effect that constant or increased government spending offsets. Otherwise recessions would be more severe than they are. But the government must in better times somehow recoup those extra spent dollars, and since Clinton there hasn’t been a president who had the stomach to do so. By now, everything Obama tries (minor cuts to the military) is too little, too late.

    “Then, do like I do. If I WANT something, but I can’t find a non-Chinese made one, and I don’t NEED it, I don’t buy it. There are a lot of things I don’t have that I want because I can’t find ones NOT MADE IN CHINA.”

    That is an INCREDIBLY bad solution to an incredibly HUGE problem. I can see how a bias toward a non-interfering small government might take that position, but remember that it was the government’s elimination of many trade barriers that sent our manufacturing base packing in the first place. The elimination of trade barriers requires that our wage and price relationships move toward parity with wages and prices throughout the world (the only mitigating differences being the costs of transportation). As one of the highest-paid work forces with a rapidly shrinking industrial base (moving quickly to Mexico and China) we had the most to lose, and we continue to lose it.

    And your assessment of our convertibility to a war economy is correct for the same reason. Obama didn’t lose the leverage Roosevelt had by not talking “tough” with Putin. That leverage was lost decades ago, and Putin knows it. What is the point of drawing lines in the sand when your opponent knows that if the stick you are using breaks, you can’t replace it?

  23. 25

    FAITH7

    It boggles my mind how, this administration can hire an ‘additional’ 16,000-20,000 (new) IRS agents to “make sure” and to ENFORCE the TAX LAWS (currently Obamacare/ACA) so that the taxpaying citizens of this country PAY UP “their dues”….’their fair share’ (sarc) and all for the “privilege” of “working” to EARN their OWN Money to pay for themselves and their families…in society… as a ‘free’ society should operate I might add….
    Not only is the working Americans healthcare being jeopardized (cancelled in many many instances) they are also being fleeced from their own property (earned monies) by the Government which has grown way too big.

    Why would you fight for all Americans to have healthcare only to CANCEL Millions of Americans healthcare plans (healthcare which they already HAD) and leave (additional) millions of Americans WITHOUT HEALTHCARE…is this most stupid??? This is mind boggling STUPIDITY.

    This is not without consequence. Obama and his minions are personally responsible for anyone, ANYONE who is put into DEBT (wasn’t that a stickler for voting FOR Obama care? So people would NOT be in Debt – See Pelosi propaganda) which by the way IS HAPPENING. Though I am sure it does not, and WILL NOT get ANY PRESS.

    ….as pointed out in a comment on this post…. with the Obamacare bill now law, tons of pork was added into that bill and I do not agree with what I think is unscrupulous acts (in this case for the purpose of getting Votes for the dismal failure that is Obamacare)…it is underhanded and wrong not only for Americans (as we are now finding out) but, for the country. In my opinion the pork added to this ‘bill’ has ‘lined many pockets’ again, at the tax payers expense. The bloated Government makes it very difficult (on purpose??) to…actually ‘follow the money’….

  24. 26

    FAITH7

    Big Bloated Corrupt, out of Control Government….which is precisely one (1) reason the Tea Party continually calls for smaller, more manageable Government. We continually feed a gigantic Federal Government Bureaucracy . One that has reached a terrifying tipping point.

    I keep harping about the NONE – TO LITTLE “ACCOUNTABILITY” (checks and balances) IN ALL DEPARTMENTS of our GOVERNMENT – Democrat or Republican. The Non-Accountability that produces LOOPHOLES which the evil and unscrupulous “public” can lead (and does lead) to massive fraud and yes waste of TAX PAYERS MONEY…Under ALL GUISES…

    The following is a excerpt from an article (and also featured on a cable show – ID Discovery). These two ‘women’ stumbled upon a loophole within our Government…and the loophole in my opinion, is our Government is wayyy too big (and hires people who do not do their JOBS… except for the IRS of course(sarc)).

    What these two women did on the backs of the taxpayers and on the backs of our Veterans is a travesty and certainly begs for reform of some kind…

    One of the Deadly Sins…Greed, Envy, Jealously…these two women lead a lavish lifestyle for YEARS…Money SPENT much of which will never to be recovered…all because for 6 long years the bloated Government was not paying attention…(checking and balancing tax payer monies and spending)

    Twin sisters Charlene Corley and Darlene Wooten bilked the federal government out of millions with their company, C&D Distributors of Lexington, SC. The fraud totaled $20.5 million over six years and exploited a weakness in the Defense Department purchasing system. Bills for shipping items marked “priority” to combat areas or U.S. military bases were automatically paid with no scrutiny.

    The scheme was detected in September (after 6 years) when a purchasing agent noticed a bill for two 19-cent washers with a shipping fee of $969,000. The purchasing agent rejected the bill and began reviewing other bills, which uncovered the first bill for $998,798 for shipping two washers, which had been paid the month prior.

    The sisters and two of their employees were barred from receiving federal contracts in December.

    http://www.sequenceinc.com/fraudfiles/2007/08/millions-of-dollars-stolen-from-federal-government-via-shipping-fees/

    20 Million is what they (Government) could actually ‘recover’ the amount “actually” stolen is dramatically ‘higher’ more like 242 million dollars….These two had 72 months or 72 billing cycles worth of defrauding…taxpayers… they didn’t ‘just do this 3 times a year’ they kept pushing the envelope…

    This is JUST ONE of TONS of Schemes bilking the Taxpayers out of their hard earned money…no only by the Public…YOU CAN BET BY (Washington D.C.) INSIDERS AS WELL you have to be an idiot to think otherwise…The question is, how does this get stopped??

  25. 27

    George Wells

    @Faith07 #26:

    “The question is, how does this (fraud) get stopped??”

    Answer is two parts – both are essential:

    1. More enforcement. Guess what – people will do anything they think they can get away with. Smaller government is VERY easy to take advantage of. More enforcement is needed to catch more of the crooks.
    2. Absurdly harsh penalties for abuse, corruption and the like. (A constitutional amendment redefining “cruel and unusual punishment may be needed.) The current slap-on-the-wrist penalties for fraud don’t cut it.

  26. 28

    George Wells

    @Faith #26:

    The Affordable Care Act is a lousy piece of legislation, full of stumbling points and bad economics, and very unfortunately the product of one party instead of two. Had both parties been partially responsible for the bill, Republicans would not today be so heavily invested in the programs complete failure.

    What the ACA DID do is attempt to fix what Democrats saw as a growing failure of health care and the insurance industry to serve all Americans. Republican’s failure to recognize the problems that were concerning Democrats and their unwillingness to help correct SOME of the problems led to what we ended up getting – as in “if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem”. This ACA is at least a modest enough bill that it can be altered piecemeal if needs be to effect improvement. Think what a mess you’d have if the Dems had gotten Nationalized Health Care pushed through.

    If House Republicans would stop their obstructionist tactic of endlessly voting to repeal the ACA and instead worked CONSTRUCTIVELY to improve the bill (there ARE some features of the ACA that the public likes and wants to keep) then we could all end up with something better.

  27. 29

    Smorgasbord

    @George Wells: #24
    Certainly both sides engage in partisanship, but if you fail to see Democrats critiquing Democrats, it’s for lack of looking.

    It’s interesting that you can only go back a short time to point out where the propaganda media is complaining about obama, and that you only mentioned ONE thing. The reason the propaganda media was complaining about the NSA spying was because they found out the NSA was spying on THEM. I don’t go to the propaganda media, but please give ONE link to a story where the propaganda media complained about the NSA BEFORE they found out that THEY were being spied on too.

    In my comments, I was referring to the individual voter complaining about THEIR president. I can’t say I have heard many democrats complain about ANY OF THEIR presidents, but I have heard MANY republicans complain about THEIR president lots of times.

    I favored the Icelandic approach, which allowed bankrupt institutions to fail.

    You have me confused. All along you have been defending the stimulus and auto bailout spending, saying how it helped the economy, and now you are saying that the government should have let them go bankrupt.

    Many years ago when Chrysler was having financial problems, I did not think they should get a bailout. The foreign car companies were making better quality cars, and Americans will pay for quality, so let the companies who can’t compete with quality products, fail. Isn’t it interesting that Chrysler is now owned by Fiat?

    I do see a certain “leveling” effect of government spending on the extremities of economic cycles.

    Of course you see a, “certain leveling” effect when the government takes money from those who are earning it, and give it to those who aren’t.

    The natural inclination of people and businesses to tighten belts when the economy slows has a self-reinforcing effect that constant or increased government spending offsets.

    Imagine a system of government where the government CAN’T help ANY private business if it is having financial problems. The businesses all know they are on their own, and will go bankrupt if they spend more than they take in. Under those circumstances businesses would be less like to take risks. When businesses know that if they donate enough to the right politicians, they will get what they want, then they will be less careful with their financial decisions, just like an individual will be more careful if there isn’t unemployment insurance, or any welfare to be had.

    Otherwise recessions would be more severe than they are.

    As I have mentioned before, taking money from the working and giving it to the non-working actually EXTENDED the recessions, just like it is now. If that system would work, our economy would be at the highest it has ever been, considering how many TRILLIONS of dollars has been spent to stimulate it.

    You liberals don’t understand that the government DOES’T HAVE ANY MONEY. Every penny they have has come from WE THE PEOPLE, and the more they take from others, the less the people have to spend on themselves, and that affects the businesses where they would normally spend their money.

    But the government must in better times somehow recoup those extra spent dollars, and since Clinton there hasn’t been a president who had the stomach to do so.

    The best way not to have to “recoup” the money is to not spend it on things that extend the recession.

    …but remember that it was the government’s elimination of many trade barriers that sent our manufacturing base packing in the first place.

    There are different reasons why manufacturing went out of the USA.
    (1) Most foreign companies figured out that Americans will pay a higher price for quality. When the auto industry got the government to impose a $1,000 tariff on all imported cars, the Americans paid $1,000 more for the quality they wanted. Ford is the only American auto manufacturer that gets in the top 10 ratings once in a while. The others haven’t been their for years.

    (2) Whoever donates the most to politicians, get what they want. How many politicians took campaign donations from companies or organizations that wanted NAFTA? I don’t know.

    (3) Without unions, workers would be working in the sweat shops like they used to, but the unions have to let the companies make a reasonable profit. When a union employee works at a certain machine, and that machine breaks down, and the company can’t put that employee somewhere else, but has to pay them not to work, that can cost a company millions of dollars per year.

    I knew a man who worked for a power company as a truck driver for the electric department. He would drive his truck to a construction site, then sit until the truck had to be moved. He was not allowed to help the ground crew get stuff ready. At a construction sight, a truck can sit in one place all day. He said he got so bored that he switched to the gas department.

    The elimination of trade barriers requires that our wage and price relationships move toward parity with wages and prices throughout the world (the only mitigating differences being the costs of transportation).

    Maybe we should let that trusted body that cares so much about the world set the wages for a World Wide Wage. The United Nations has ALWAYS been fair about world wide issues. Let them set the wages, since you want to be paid the same as someone in Bangladesh.

  28. 30

    Smorgasbord

    @George Wells: #27
    There shouldn’t be any parole. They do their time. With good behavior, they are out after their time is served. Bad behavior gets added time. Mandatory sentences for most crime means the judges couldn’t be bought off like they are now.

  29. 31

    FAITH7

    @George Wells #28 – There was an idea put out there…and I still believe it is out there..I thought the ‘ economic idea’ of ‘opening up the (insurance) markets’ across state lines to induce competition, thus increasing quality of ‘services’ and reducing costs and better ‘choices’ for Healthcare was a great idea. Opening up the ‘free markets’ ? Does (did) that make any ‘good sense’? Guess what side of the isle that idea came from? Guess what side of the isle rejected it? Will it need tweaking? Probably, but that ‘tweaking’ cannot be any worse than what we are experiencing now….

  30. 32

    George Wells

    @Smorgasbord #29:

    ” I can’t say I have heard many democrats complain about ANY OF THEIR presidents.”

    I’ve repeatedly complained about Obama, HERE. “Many?” You’re fixating on numbers? You get so few Dems here, these posts can’t be representative. How about the LONG fights in Congress over the ACA? Southern Dems balked, remember? I wonder why each party thinks that the members of the opposing party are all a bunch of lemmings? Must be wishful thinking.

    “All along you have been defending the stimulus and auto bailout spending.”

    NO I HAVEN’T!!!!
    You make me crazy! I have to rationally concede that “stimulus” spending does “stimulate” the economy (how could it not?) but that doesn’t mean that I supported that stimulus. I have also argued all along that the efforts to bail out the economy were NOT wise, and that placing the burden to pay for them upon the backs of innocent taxpayers was wrong every way you cut it. It is the investors who should have lost their shirts, not the public. You need to get it through your head that I am liberal on civil rights and conservative on fiscal policy, education, etc. We don’t all fit the same mold.

    Your rather long-winded treatise on governmental non-interventionism ignores the fact that the policies that have encouraged American industry to move abroad were non-interventionist. Once allowed to do so, industry moved to the source of cheap labor and zero environmental protection. You want child labor here? How about Beijing smog? That we cannot compete here at home is as much the fault of our higher standard of living as it is the fault of greedy unions. Remember that unions have been losing influence for a VERY long time. The propensity of American consumers to buy quality did nothing to encourage American industry to stay at home making quality products. Instead, your John Deere riding mower you buy at Home Depot is made in China, not Iowa. And the fact that it is a piece of garbage compared to the American-made facsimile of decades ago hasn’t stopped the American consumer from buying them in bulk,and in doing so putting future generations of Americans in hock to the Chinese. The solutions to these problems are not as simple as you suggest.

  31. 33

    George Wells

    @Faith 7 #41:

    I fail to understand why anyone opposes opening up insurance markets to interstate business. My guess would have to be that some politicians are reserving this issue as a bargaining chip – politicians do that – like they hold back on tort reform. If they are hoping for some sort of “grand bargain,” I wish BOTH parties would give it another try. So much potential, so little progress. (sigh)

  32. 34

    Smorgasbord

    @George Wells: #32

    Once allowed to do so, industry moved to the source of cheap labor and zero environmental protection. You want child labor here? How about Beijing smog?

    We can’t regulate other countries wages, but we can pass laws saying that any country we do business with will be under the same safety and environmental laws as we are. Every new developing country goes through the same process as they grow: Smoke out of chimneys means money for businesses, and waist products can go in the ground or in the water. The country doesn’t get concerned about pollution until THEIR PEOPLE start getting sick. If countries want to do business with the USA, let them adopt the same standards we have. Where is the UN while all of the countries are polluting the world?

    That we cannot compete here at home is as much the fault of our higher standard of living as it is the fault of greedy unions.

    I agree. As other countries start producing more, and the people want to be paid more, and as raw goods prices go up, there prices go up too, but we will always have the standard of living issue to deal with, and will lose sales because of it.

    The propensity of American consumers to buy quality did nothing to encourage American industry to stay at home making quality products. Instead, your John Deere riding mower you buy at Home Depot is made in China, not Iowa.

    I pickup up 17 400 horse diesel engines from the east coast. They were made in Brazil, and I took them to John Deere in Waterloo, Iowa. Think how much it cost to ship them that far, but it is evidently still cheaper than making them in the USA.

    And the fact that it is a piece of garbage compared to the American-made facsimile of decades ago hasn’t stopped the American consumer from buying them in bulk,and in doing so putting future generations of Americans in hock to the Chinese. The solutions to these problems are not as simple as you suggest.

    A lot of the stuff make in China is garbage, and a lot of it is dangerous. Kids toys have lead paint, kids clothing is not fire retardant, batteries explode, products we consume with harmful chemicals in them, and now we are seeing food from China. Try to find an American made toothpick. Idaho is lumber country, but the government won’t let us touch the forests, so we buy from China.

  33. 35

    George Wells

    @Smorgasbord #34:

    “We can’t regulate other countries wages, but we can pass laws saying that any country we do business with will be under the same safety and environmental laws as we are.”

    We could, but we don’t. And the result is what we have: We allowed our industrial base to be exported, along with all of the associated jobs, and now both political parties are blaming each other for the dismal job situation that BOTH parties are responsible for. We can no more influence a country’s environmental policy than we can influence their wage policy. We can’t even influence our OWN wage policy, and Republicans don’t want us enacting environmental policy that hurts industry, as if ANY environmental policy DOESN’T hurt industry. China has the huge advantage here, as their state-coordinated economy points industry, labor and environmental policy all in the same direction with the singular goal of winning the economic war against capitalism. (Read the next paragraph to see how that’s going.)

    “Idaho is lumber country, but the government won’t let us touch the forests, so we buy from China.”

    You need to get your facts straight, Smorg. The National Forests are constantly being cut. The US sells the rights to cut for pennies-per-acre to the likes of Weyerhaeuser, who then chop-chop-chops and sells at a huge profit to… yes, CHINA!
    YES!
    The US is a net EXPORTER of lumber, and China’s importation of US lumber was up by 40% in 2013 alone. We are buying our own limber BACK from China. We are PAYING China to convert it into toothpicks, and then we buy them! We have become a third-world country being plundered of its raw materials. Blame corrupt congressmen for allowing what the lumber lobbyists paid for. Weyerhaeuser’s shareholders are the short-term beneficiaries, but China is the big, long-term winner. With it’s huge profits, China is slowly buying up the US. At the rate we’re going, it won’t even BE our country. We’ll have to parrot Venezuela and nationalize everything that China bought – won’t THAT be a mess!

  34. 36

    Smorgasbord

    @George Wells: #35

    You need to get your facts straight, Smorg. The National Forests are constantly being cut.

    In Idaho we aren’t even allowed to take the dead trees out of the forest. When our Search And Rescue crew goes out, one of the major obstacles are the trees. Sometimes they are piled on top of each other.

    You said that you agree that the USA could make other countries obey environmental laws, but that we won’t. AS I have said different times, as long as we have an election system where the ones with the most money get what they want, the ones with the most money will get what they want from congress.

    I agree that we are letting China buy too much of America’s land. When I lived in Iowa, it was the first state that did a study on how much land Japan was buying in the state. They were buying a lot. It was our own fault.

    A farmer told me that he had to buy special equipment to filter the grain so that all that he sold to the elevators was grain, but the elevators were allowed 10% dunnage. This means that 10% of the product could be anything else, so the elevators would throw in their rotten grain, broken concrete, or anything else they wanted to.

    Japan got tired of getting garbage, so they came to America and started buying up grain elevators so that they could get the grain they paid for. Sometimes the greed of American business is what causing hard feelings towards us, and we have earned those hard feelings many times.

  35. 37

    George Wells

    @Smorgasbord #36:

    Well, I have to wonder what is different about Idaho. I can tell you about Virginia, and I’ve seen how Maine – that was once covered from one end to the other with timber – has been clear-cut and laid bare. And the statistics on timber and lumber exports are there, and you can see what’s happening. We’re selling off our raw materials to buy toys that break – worse than the guy who burns his furniture to keep warm.

    Someone once said that God gave us children so that we wouldn’t be so disappointed by death. Maybe he gave us politicians for the same reason.

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