As the Observer writes this, Congress’s approval rating is 17 percent and dropping fast. Congress’s image is devaluing like the German mark during the Depression. Soon, you’ll have to haul a wagonload of Congresspeople to the store just to buy a loaf of bread. In short, most Americans justifiably believe that Congress could not organize a two-car parade. How is it, then, that we should trust Congress to rearrange one-sixth of the nation’s economy? In a larger sense, what has the federal government done to deserve entrustment so many of our hard-earned dollars, not to mention our very health, to it?
In its inimitable wisdom, Congress chose the Internal Revenue Service, another very popular federal agency, to enforce the health care bill. Why is the IRS suddenly indispensable to health care? Because 32 million people are going to be added to the health care rolls, and it will be their fellow Americans – working Americans – who will pay for that health care. Working Americans will not voluntarily pay other peoples’ bills. So they will have to be forced to. Hence, the presence of the IRS. Think of the IRS as a mob enforcer, only less efficient.
Let’s talk specifics: Harry Reid – the guy chosen to run the U.S. Senate – enjoys a national approval rating of 8 percent. Lawyers, as a profession, have an approval rating four times higher than Reid. That should tell you something.
The vice-president, another champion of this bill, cannot keep his mouth closed long enough to keep from dropping the f-bomb after introducing the President in front of the national press. (If you ever wondered what politicians say to each other while they hug after one finishes introducing the other, now you know. They curse at one other and laugh).
Here’s something else you probably didn’t know. Alcee Hastings, a Congressman from Florida, used to be a federal district court judge. Normally, being a federal judge is a pretty good gig insofar as the appointment is for life. You can’t lose your job unless you’re impeached by the House of Representatives and convicted by the Senate. In the entire history of the United States, only seven judges have lost their jobs. Hastings is one of them. He took $150,000 to be lenient with a pair of mafia-types named Frank and Thomas Romano. (The Romanos should have gone to work for the IRS instead of the mob: Same work, but legal). The fine people of Florida’s 23rd district approved of Hastings’ conduct so much they elected him to Congress just four years after his impeachment. That was in 1992. He’s still there. Last week he voted for the health care bill.
Charlie Rangel, another member of Congress, holds himself out as a regular joe. Except that he owns a vacation villa in the Dominican Republic. Nothing special there, right? Everyone has a vacation villa somewhere. The difference is that Rangel did not pay taxes on the rental income – $75,000 in rental income – he received from renting his Caribbean retreat. And you won’t believe this: At the time, Rangel was chairman of the Congressional committee responsible for writing the income tax code, a position he held until three weeks ago when he temporarily relinquished the chairmanship. If you failed to pay taxes on $75,000 of income, the IRS would be fitting you for concrete shoes. Not Charlie Rangel. He’s still in Congress. He voted for the health care bill too.
There are many other examples of whackos in Congress. But space does not permit the Observer to give a full report. The Farmington Press is only so many pages long.
Over and over during the campaign, Barak Obama said, “I’m going to change the way business is done in Washington.” He was right. Politics in Washington now work just exactly like politics in Chicago. In fact, everyone in Washington seems to be morphing into Rod Blagojevich right before our very eyes.
It would be funny, except that this bunch controls our lives.
The Settlement Observer is a resident of Farmington.