This morning I, along with 40 or so other Charlotte citizens met w/ Congressman Tim Walberg who serves Congressional District #7 in Michigan. In a question and answer format I had a opportunity to politely but directly challenge the Congressman on his most recent vote in favor of raising the debt ceiling and expanding the US debt by at least 7 Trillion dollars to our debt over the next 10 years. We had a full and frank exchange of ideas where I reminded him that with the Republican passage of this debt ceiling the Republican promise to afford the Citizenry three days to review all legislation was violated. I told him I was disappointed in the Republicans and in him and asked him why those more fiscally conservative then him were wrong for voting against the debt ceiling increase. He explained that, “there were good conservatives on both sides,” while invoking a Thomas Sowell article to justify his vote.
I told him, Thomas Sowell being a conservative Economist, is no guarantee that Thomas Sowell is not in error on this. I left it alone after he insisted again that there were good conservatives on both sides. On the issue of Republicans breaking their 2010 campaign vow to never pass legislation without giving the citizenry three days to review the legislation Walberg responded in a two fold fashion.
First, Rep. Walberg said they had to break their word since they were up against the 02 August deadline. When reminded that the deadline was artificial Rep. Walberg insisted that it was not artificial. Informed citizens at the meeting knew that statement either reflected Congressman Walberg’s unfamiliarity with the facts on the ground or that this as dissimulation on the part of Congressman Walberg.
Second, Walberg said that we should be pleased that in seven months this was the first time the promise was broken. Apparently Congressman Walberg thinks that the citizenry should be happy when politicians only openly lie once in seven months. Keep in mind that these kinds of promises are only of any value when they are kept at the point that it is the most difficult to keep them. Any scofflaw can keep a promise when it is easy to keep.
From Congressman Walberg’s statement it seems that Republicans are thinking that stopping Obama in 2012 is the only thing that can be done to halt Obama now. They voted for raising the debt ceiling in the end because they were fearful that even if they were in the right in voting against the debt increase they would have been blamed, rightly or wrongly,for the debacle that may have ensued. In the end Boehner, Walberg and the Republicans caved because they believed that their re-election was more likely if they caved then if they refused to cave. In an attempt to win in the next election, which they think will be the silver bullet to stem Obamanomics they surrendered this time around.
I also asked Congressman Walberg to explain his statement that talk radio (he specifically mentioned Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Mark Levin) were giving out disinformation to their listeners on the budget and debt ceiling issue. When I pressed him to give some concrete examples he only mentioned how Sean Hannity allowed some caller to mis-characterize the legislative process that was being pursued. He also mentioned that Hannity had some conversation with Congressman Ryan where Congressman Ryan put him straight. From Congressman Walberg’s comments I didn’t get the idea that there was a great deal of love lost between the Republican leadership and talk radio hosts, even though Walberg insisted that while there was dis-information by these talk radio jocks he still loved them to death.
From other folks at the meeting I learned that in their private conversations with the Congressman that he believed “the do nothing plan” would have gotten us 10 Trillion in the hole, over 10 years. The do something plan (what they passed) gets that down to 8 Trillion. Rep. Walberg still believes in paying what we owe, so for him, default was not an option. That basically cripples the house from doing anything besides passing bills that they know will go nowhere, or bills that do what the Dems want. Apparently Rep. Walberg said that if he was given a Republican senate and president, and such a constituted House and Senate tried to pass a similar bill as was just passed, he’d vote against such a bill. He didn’t exactly want to go on record with a promise.
Of course such reasoning is really quite faulty. Rep. Walberg’s “do nothing” would have resulted only in temporary default. Informed readers know as well as I do that nobody was going to default. The threat of August 02 default was completely created out of thin air in order to create a crisis mentality that something had to be done.
Second, much of this debt is fiat debt — a indebtedness that has been created out of thin air by the powerful money interest. I have no compunction whatsoever with defaulting the Banksters who have created a system intended to keep us in ever increasing debt.
The problem with chaps like Rep. Walberg is that he just doesn’t seem to understand the game. Is he familiar with what lay behind the creation of the Fed? Is he familiar with why we have boom and bust cycles? Is he familiar with the fact that debt is money in our system? If you don’t understand matters like this on some level you really have no business being in Congress.
Right now I’m all for passing bills that are do nothing. A little sclerosis right now would be a great thing. Who cares if gridlock is the option to Socialism? Where are these guys heads at?
Third, who really believes that a Republican House, Senate and Presidency is going to undo these realities. The neo-cons are in control of the Republican party and their beef with the Democrats is only that the Democrats spend a little more money then the neo-cons would AND they spend it differently than they would. The neo-cons are not fiscal conservatives (or any other kind of conservative).
No meeting like this would be complete without histrionics of some sort. One of the women in attendance was quite shrill in her denunciation of Republicans. I quite agreed with the points the woman was making but she did herself no favors in that context by getting that exercised. It is my instinct that these Congressmen know how upset and angry people are. After all, they had a county Cop in attendance, with a sidearm in evidence.
I believe Congressman Tim Walberg to be a decent well intentioned human being. I am not convinced however that he really understands the background of the issues that are facing the country and without that fuller historical and ideological background I don’t think Congressman Walberg has the tools to be able to vote in an informed fashion. Combine that reality with the reality that almost all politicians vote in terms of the next election cycle and it makes it difficult to see how the US Federal Government ever ends up being constrained from its behemoth size.