The truth is that President Bush is not a popular president, but his meager approval ratings are head and shoulders above that of Congress. Congress is supposed to be our representatives, why do we hate them so much? A key reason is they just don’t listen. American Voters feel that Congress doesn’t do whats needed to improve their lives. The controversy over drilling rights is a great example as Congress refuses to consider public opinion and allow drilling in the US. But drilling isn’t the only issue where Congress is sitting on its collective “pitooies:”
The Opposite of Progress By PETE DU PONT
July 23, 2008
“I have come to the conclusion, that one useless man is a Disgrace, two are a law firm and three or more are called a Congress.”–John Adams, “1776”
“Just 12% of voters think Congress has passed any legislation to improve life in this country over the past six months. . . . The majority of voters (62%) say Congress has not passed any legislation to improve life in America.”–Rasmussen Reports, 2008
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* * * Why is Congress so unpopular? Because it is often intent upon doing things that will make life in America much worse. The most important example is continued blockage of access to America’s energy resources. No new nuclear power plants have been permitted in decades; no new oil refineries; no additional drilling off the coast of Alaska, California, Florida or parts of the Gulf of Mexico where there are huge amounts of useable energy; and continuing opposition to building liquefied natural gas facilities. Added to these energy reduction policies is another proposed “windfall profits tax” on oil companies. Sponsored by Sen. Harry Reid (D., Nev.) and 22 other Democrats, it proposes a levy of 25% on whatever Congress thinks are excess profits. Remember that back in 1980 Jimmy Carter’s windfall profits tax reduced domestic oil production between 3% and 6% and increased imported foreign oil by about 10%. the new plan would have similar consequences. None of this congressional thinking will improve life in America, so Americans are beginning to think differently about energy policy. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) says relenting on the offshore drilling ban would amount to capitulation, but a recent Pew Foundation poll shows that 47% of people want to increase exploration, mining and drilling and have more power plants, compared with 35% last February. Those who want more conservation and regulation have dropped to 44% from 55%. Then there is Congress’s virulent protectionist thinking. As the North American Free Trade Agreement has shown, trade is good for America; it has increased jobs, incomes and available goods in our country. The next Congress will likely try to limit Nafta’s trade arrangements, and Congress has already rejected a free-trade agreement with Vietnam and postponed one with Colombia, the third-largest country in Latin America and an ally of the United States. Ms. Pelosi blocked a vote on the Colombia agreement because “the president has made this a key part of his legacy.” Many Republicans are protectionist, too: 40% of them also voted against the Vietnam trade agreement. Next comes the Boxer-Lieberman-Warner climate bill, which fortunately failed in the Senate last month. It too would have made life in America much worse, for it contained a huge expansion of regulation, permitting, and taxation that would have cost America 600,000 jobs a year, raised electricity prices by 44%, and brought about economic losses that the Environmental Protection Agency estimated at $1 trillion to $2.8 trillion a year by 2050. Government would have auctioned off emission allowance permits to businesses, giving Congress about $3.3 trillion to hand out to favored constituencies and supporters. And tucked away in the bill was the creation of government agencies that could restrict American importation of foreign nations’ goods by imposing higher import tariffs on their products. Then there was the two-party override of the President’s veto of the largest farm bill in the history of the United States, a roughly $300 billion bill that received over half the Republican and three-quarters of the Democratic override votes. And there is Sen. Barack Obama’s proposal to increase U.S. ethanol production to 75 billion gallons from 36 billion, a $38 billion bonanza for farmers and the ethanol industry, while also keeping the high import taxes on cheaper and higher quality Brazilian ethanol. Congress has refused to seriously limit its earmarks, which allow members to add some 10,000 or more projects–more than $20 billion–each year to the budget to get money to their constituents. Among the recipients of your tax dollars: the National Mule and Packers Museum, the National Wild Turkey Federation and the Philadelphia Fathers Day Rally Committee. Finally, Congress intends to raise income taxes by allowing expiration of the Bush reductions on income, capital gains and dividend tax rates. Those tax cuts had increased federal tax revenues by $785 billion over four years, but only a handful of Democrats in the House and Senate (9 of 253) voted for them in 2003. Higher personal taxes and greater federal spending are the base of the current Congress’s economic thinking, so in the initial budget bill passed by the House this year most of the Bush tax rate reductions that produced the revenue surge were not renewed, and discretionary spending was increased by 8% for the second year in a row. * * * None of these policies will improve life in America, for the congressional priority is increasing the size, scope, reach and spending of the federal government. John Adams’s theatrical vision of Congress in “1776” doesn’t seem too far off the reality of the Congress in 2008.