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An Insider’s Perspective on What is Going on in Washington DC

December 31, 2011

10:30am – 11:45am An Insider’s Perspective on What is Going on in Washington, D.C.

This was one of the more interesting talks I attended. The talk was hosted by a group called National League of Cities, which is a municipal lobby group at the national level, much like TML (Texas Municipal League) is for the state legislature in Texas.

Their perspective seems to be that although the Federal government is facing imminent collapse, the feds should continue to do tax increases because cities need to get the money.

The talk was done by Carolyn Coleman who started the talk with this sentence: “If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.” This kind of big government thinking is fairly disgusting to me. If your cause is so worthy, then go solicit for it yourself or raise taxes on your own. That cities must lobby the federal government to keep taxes high so that they can get dollars without spending political capital is disgusting to me.

I think Carolyn Coleman would be an outstanding lobbyist for her group. She was very articulate, very well informed and talked a great game. It’s the same smoke and mirrors as any government plays on though… “Oh, our poor constituents will suffer SOOOOOO much if these funds are removed.” No one gives a damn about the tax-payers and tax-payers not even born yet that are picking up the tab. Who asks about their suffering?

She spoke at length about the Budget Control Act. The Super Committee is tasked with cutting 1 trillion or there will be 1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts. She bemoaned the fact that there had been no transparency (i.e. opportunity to lobby) in the process, but hoped that behind closed doors, they were making progress because they really didn’t want those automatic spending cuts.

She talked about how she didn’t think there could be any deficit reduction without what she called “revenue enhancements” which must be lobbyist code for tax increases. She bemoaned the fact that one of the things on the table was the tax exempt status of municipal bonds. The cities will be devastated if they have to compete in the real world for real dollars. The one thing she spoke of that I did agree with was that Washington needed to quit forcing down “Unfunded Mandates”. I heartily agree with her on that single issue. She spoke of how “very difficult it has become to get things done.” Meaning of course those things which are pro-big-government and pro-incumbent-vote-buying-schemes. She decried that “the negotiations regarding the business of the people is breaking down along party lines.” I almost laughed out loud at that. Isn’t that the purpose of politics? To impose your will on the nation? When those visions collide, might we not reasonably expect that the process would bog down during negotiations?

She spoke for a small part of the American public when she informed the audience that she did not think that the “American Public would not tolerate brinkmanship like we’ve been seeing.” I think she’s wrong. There’s a growing segment of the country that expects nothing less than brinkmanship now that our ship of state is at full express speed heading for the icebergs of debt default and complete arrogance and unaccountability. For too long Republicans have been arguing about how fast to hit these rocks instead of trying to change direction. A pox on such slackers.

While there was much that made me want to vomit, I’d be very interested to know if Watauga is part of the National League of Cities and how we could leverage it to eliminate and repeal unfunded mandates. She recommended that if we wanted to know more about the fiscal state of the union, that we look for a document called “Moment of Truth Fiscal Data”. I can only imagine that will make me want to invest in that third precious metal – lead. Here’s a link to the document. I’ll work on reading it and posting my feedback on it later.

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