Did even one Democrat read the bill?

Press Release from Americans for Tax Reform:
Did even one Democrat read the bill?
All but seven Democrats voted “Yes”””did they each buy a pig in a poke?

WASHINGTON, D.C.”” Today, on February 13, all but seven House Democrats voted in support of the conference report for H.R.1, the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009″- a massive spending package promoted under the guise of economic “stimulus.” The final legislative language was not made publicly available by Congressional leadership until late Thursday night, giving the public less than 16 hours to read the more than 1,000 pages. Prior to the vote, Americans for Tax Reform asked all Members of Congress intending to vote for the conference report to sign and fax back/email to ATR the following form:
I, _____________________________, commit to the taxpayers of the (___________________ district of the) State of _______________________, that my vote in favor of the conference report on H.R. 1 will be an informed vote, because I will have read the full text of the bill and the conference report by the time I cast my vote.

However, not a single Democrat has confirmed he or she actually read the bill before voting on it.

“There was a long list of reasons for which to vote “No” on this package — the size of its spending component, the fact that it will do nothing to grow the economy, and the secrecy and haste with which it made its way through Congress. None of these apparently were good enough for Democrats to reject the Pelosi-Obama-Reid package,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “Constituents in the district should call their member of Congress and inquire whether they claimed to have read the bill word for word or voted for the bill without reading it.”

Americans for Tax Reform is a non-partisan coalition of taxpayers and taxpayer groups who oppose any and all federal and state tax increases. For more information, or to arrange an interview with Mr. Norquist please contact John Kartch at (202)785-0266 or by email at [email protected]

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Posted by at 06:00 | Posted in Measure 37 | 14 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • dargagnan

    Did any Republicans read the bill — or did they just vote the way Rush Limbaugh told them to?

  • Wayne Brady

    The Republicans tried to read the bill but were not given enough time and were forced to read hard copy since the bill was not available in electronic form.

    There was plenty to vote against in this bill. Nobody needs input from Rush Limbaugh to see this bill is a disaster for this country.

    The bill permanently increases the size of government and will prolong the recession.

  • Anonymous

    There’s the Bill and then there’s the bill to pay for it.

    Democrats think the rich will pay the bill and the rest of us will be helped by an every growing government.

    Unfortunately they, the Democrats have long been taken over by incredibly stupid people who’s perception of the past, present and future is entirely fictional and fantasy.
    From the smallest detail to the largest issue they have fallen prey to the
    imaginations of fanatic vagabonds of man’s evolution.
    This has them pursuing the most unjustified and unattainable pursuits possible while ignoring nearly every basic common sense responsibility.

    Stupid is as stupid does.

    Unfortunately they do to us.

  • Mike

    If MORE people had listened to Rush, Sean, and Mark the last 8 years, we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in today. The problem is that people forgot their conservative roots and went completely partisan and voted for liberal ideologies. They then got voted out of office. We’re standing up for ourselves now and waiting for a true conservative to step forward and bring REAL CHANGE to Washington since Obama isn’t bringing any change…he’s just taking our change from our pockets.

  • Jim Knowlton

    The arguments Republicans have been making about not getting to read the bill and Arlen Specter’s admission that he didn’t actually read the bill he was voting for got me thinking…is this typical behavior? I actually (unlike other Republicans) don’t have a big problem with it…if they’re going to have to read the whole thing, why should they even have staff? They may as well do it all themselves.

    I think it’s unreasonable to expect a single congressman to be an expert on all the aspects of a bill as big as this one, and to expect them all to read the entire bill before they vote on it, would mean it would take months to get anything passed (since many bills are quite large).

    Bottom line:
    I agree with opposition to the stimulus, and even with the idea that there wasn’t time to review it, but the “you didn’t read it yet you voted for it” argument might get people fired up, but seems to me to be without much merit.

    Jim Knowlton

  • davidg

    George Bush taught Obama that you can quickly steamroll anything through Congress if you can scare people enough. Bush led the way with the Bank bailout. He told us the economy was in danger of immediate collapse. Obama used the same tactics with the porculus/stimulus.

    Franklin Roosevelt seems almost quaintly nostalgic with his rhetoric about “we have nothing to fear but fear itself.” For Bush and Obama, inciting fear has become the ticket to more power. I think we can expect more of that from Obama in the future.

  • Dean

    There is an alternatgive explanation: Occam’s razor. Rather than pile up assumptions about this extraordinary legislation, why not at least consider that the leading economists who advised Bush (conservatives) AND those who advise Obama (liberals and moderates) all agree that we are on the knife’s edge of a multi-year recession-depression unless a lot of money is rained on the land.

  • John in Oregon

    dargagnan asked >*Did any Republicans read the bill*

    Short answer, its not necessary to read the whole thing to recognize a turkey. Abraham Lincoln knew what kills a skunk is the publicity it gives its self.

    But then Senator Specter when asked by a reporter if the Federal Control of Health Care and medical decisions had been removed from the bill responded as follows.

    Sputter sputter, ahh uhhh err, hummada hummada, mumble, wella uhhh … what Federal Control of Health Care decisions?

    So dargagnan has a point. Sens Specter, Collins, and Snowe obviously didn’t read the bill as they went through it line by line.

  • Jerry

    The bill doesn’t even seserve reading. It is a sham and a hoax. These people are completely insane. Nothing in the bill will do anything good.
    Trust me on that.

  • John in Oregon

    Dean you said > *the leading economists who advised Bush*

    HUH? Sorry Bush didn’t bring in a blue ribbon panel of economists, or any at all. TARP and associated mess is all in the hands of Paulson, Bernanke, and Geithner. Don’t lay that at the feet of economists.

    > *why not at least consider that the leading economists … all agree*

    Because your premise is false. Consider this list of those that disagree.

    Gary Wolfram Hillsdale College
    President John F Kennedy
    Edward Glaeser, Glimp Professor of Economics at Harvard University
    John Maynard Keynes
    Alan D. Viard Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute
    Bruce Bartlett former Treasury Department economist
    President Ronald Reagan
    Gregory Mankiw the Robert M. Beren Professor of Economics at Harvard University
    Eric B. Rasmusen the Dalton Professor at the Kelley School of Business, Indiana University.
    Robert Rector the Heritage Foundation
    Francis Cianfrocca business and investment
    Steve H. Hanke Professor of Applied Economics Johns Hopkins University
    Friedrich August von Hayek,

    ENOUGH, THIS IS STUPID. This is just an old tired recycled AGW argument. As Clive Crook noted in the Financial Times, *Politics is damaging the credibility of economics.*

    When the point of view is the middle of a Democrat rally with Obama roaring “What do you think a stimulus is?” then from that prospective an economist couldn’t be found with both hands.

    Following that thread, consider what Obama has said. “The situation we face could not be more serious”. “We have inherited an economic crisis as deep and as dire as any since the Great Depression.” Only government can prevent turning crisis into catastrophe.” The stimulus is necessary in a crucial effort to pull the nation back from the brink of depression.

    Fear is a powerful motivator so I see why Obama uses it. But is it true?

    We need a yardstick. In 2008 after growing by 0.9 percent and 2.8 percent in the first two quarters of 2008, GDP declined by 0.5 percent and 3.5 percent in the third and fourth quarters of the year. That’s our yardstick 4% decline in two quarters.

    Now the research.

    1949. GDP declined by 5.8 percent in the first quarter of that year and 1.2 percent in the second, *Total _7%_ *
    *2008 was 4%, 1949 was far worse.*

    1953-54, the downturn was 2.4 percent in the third quarter of 1953, by 6.2 percent in the fourth quarter and by 2 percent in the first quarter of 1954.
    *Total _10.6%_*
    *2008 was 4%, 1953-54 was far worse.*

    1957-58. the fourth quarter of 1957, GDP declined by 4.2 percent, and the first quarter of 1958 declined by 10.4 percent. *Total _14.6%_*
    *2008 was 4%, 1957-58 was far worse.*

    1974-75 the third and fourth quarter of 1974, GDP declined by 3.8 percent, 1.6 percent the first quarter of 1975 fell 4.7 percent. *Total _10.1%_*
    *2008 was 4%, 1974-75 was far worse.*

    1981-82 the fourth quarter of 1981 declined by 4.9 percent and first quarter of 1982 fell 6.4 percent. *Total _11.3%_*
    *2008 was 4%, 1981-82 was far worse. Remember the Jimmy Carter misery index?*

    So is this “an economic crisis as deep and as dire as any since the Great Depression”? NO. Do “all agree that we are on the knife’s edge of a multi-year recession-depression”? NO.

    To be fair to the administration, in addition to the recession we also have a financial credit problem due to bad credit instruments. As I have said we can’t address the downturn without clearing the toxic credit paper.

    What did we get in the Stimulus spending bill

    *O* Lots of spending.
    *O* Bailing out of bankrupt reckless spending states. (IE New York, California, Oregon, Washington, true and blue)
    *O* Rolling back Clinton’s welfare reform.
    *O* Expanding entitlements.
    *O* Programs which increase cost to employ a worker.
    *O* Trade protectionism and trade wars.
    *O* Government role in directing private investment.
    *O* Government commanding green jobs, the same green jobs legislation experiment that failed in California.
    *O* Some bridges, roads, and multi-modal bike paths.

    So I ask, is the bill a stimulus? Does it fix bad credit paper? Or is it just more Government?

    America’s economy has grown in the past because our people have not been overburdened by government. Mr. Obama could cause irreversible decline by creating an unsustainable government.

  • John in Oregon

    I did forget one item in the Stimulus spending bill.

    *O* $13 for 95%

    • anonymous 2

      This is Dean, but Catalyst is not accepting posts under my name for some reason. Afraid of alternative ideas perhaps?

      John…Paulson, Bernanke and Geithner ARE all economists. They advised Bush that unless he dumped $700B into the banks, “this turkey was going down” to quote Bush himself.

      Obama’s economists, including Geithner again, have said dump money out there, as much and as fast as you can. Useful if you can find things to do with it. Just rain it on the land if you can’t.

      President Ronald Reagan? I did not know he had weighed in on this event. And I did not know he was a professional economist. Also Keynes? He doesn’t or wouldn’t support this? Really? Whatever reality you want to live in I guess.

      Yes…surprise. The stimulus bill contains lots of spending. The Republicans, who managed to double the national debt during their rule, were prepared to go just as deeply into debt, but with tax cuts, which nearly every economist agrees would do far less to stimulate.

      No…the stimulus did not “fix” the bad paper that the private financial sector created. That is going to take another few trillion. Fun isn’t it?

      America’s economy has grown quite well under 90& top marginal tax rates. It grew quite well under periods of high debt and periods where debt was paid down. It grew very well after Clinton and the Democrats in Congress raised top marginal tax rates without a single Republican vote, and with Gingrich predicting a depression. It grew well before we had much government and grew well long after government settled in at 20% plus of GDP.

      The notion that the private sector needs government “out of the way” is mythology. The private sector needs an active, well run, strategic government that makes smart investments and maintains a strong safety net for times like these.

  • John in Oregon

    > *Catalyst is not accepting posts under my name for some reason. Afraid of alternative ideas perhaps?*

    I believe not. What kind of message do you get? I have seen the moderator here caution others about name calling in your direction so exclusion doesn’t make sense. I have noticed some of the links and pointers here get out of kilter on occasion. But don’t worry, Waxman will step in and shut down inappropriate conservative thought on the Internet.

    > *Paulson, Bernanke and Geithner ARE all economists. They advised Bush that unless he dumped $700B into the banks, “this turkey was going down” to quote Bush himself.*

    Never said Paulson, Bernanke, and Geithner weren’t economists. Also never said Bush was right about TARP. But, by the way, isn’t it the Democrat mantra that Bush is always wrong. So if Bush says it’s a sunny day the Democrats cloud up and rain all over him?

    The greater point is when did 3 become equal with most or all? Must be that new math counting system of 1, 2, and many. We dont need 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, or 0.

    > *Obama’s economists … have said dump money out there*

    Ohhh so there are economists that aren’t owned by Obama. Cool. Why don’t you quote some of them?

    *President Ronald Reagan? I did not know he had weighed in on this event.*

    Ronald W Reagan, (1911 – 2004). You bet Reagan had lots to say about taxes, spending, and Government. His policy is the antithesis of the present administration. Reagan also has the advantage of putting his policy into effect and been proven correct.

    > *Also Keynes? He doesn’t or wouldn’t support this? Really?*

    Correct. Keynes held his spending theory was narrowly applicable to the transition from a war time economic footing to a free market. Hayek documented that quite some years ago if you would like to look it up.

    > * America’s economy has grown quite well under 90& (sic) top marginal tax rates.*

    That was the period after WW2 and the war tax holdover. The pent-up demand and productivity after the war served us well during the 1950s. If your claim is correct then answer this. Why did John F Kennedy campaign in the late 50s and early 60s to slash the 90% marginal tax rates for the good of the country?

    We did well in the 90s thanks to Reagan’s tax and regulatory policy in Washing DC. And not just DC, thanks to Reagan’s California. Computers, Silicon Valley, the Internet, and more. Yet in less than 15 years politicians have managed to wreck a great and productive economy and turn in 41 + billion in red ink. Not the best way to turn a state red.

    Dean you say > *The notion that the private sector needs government “out of the way” is mythology… The private sector needs an active, well run, strategic government that makes smart investments…*

    Would that be the “smart investments” like, oh I don’t know, for example;
    The Portland dry dock
    The Beaverton round
    The Cascade station
    South Waterfront bio-tech
    The OHSU vaccine program shipped to Florida
    The PGE Park
    The Portland Convention Center
    The Tram
    The Multnomah county jail, funded with bonds, built and never opened.
    The California Embryonic Stem cell program $3 billion which produced nothing while privately funded Adult Stem Cell programs are producing hundreds of therapies
    Or possibly the skyrocketing State employee wages, benefits, and retirement costs?

    > *No…the stimulus did not “fix” the bad paper*

    well if the spending bill doesn’t address Barney Frank’s bad paper or empower small business and enterprise what does it do?

    • anonymous 2

      Actually Dean again. I get: invalid message. Comment could not be added. Comment caught by anti-spam measurements. It only happens when I use dean as my name…which as luck would have it IS my name.

      I am spam.
      Spam I am.
      I am not a right wing fan.
      Just a liberal rhyming man.
      Spam I am.

      I agree…the Catalyst has always shown kindness to this liberal stranger in the past. Which is why this has me befuddled. But it’s okay. There are more posible names in cyber space than I could ever use up in what’s left of my aging life.

      Anyway…no…Democrats, or at least this Democrat has never assumed Bush is or was always wrong. Just most of the time. TARP, bad as it was, probably did free up the credit markets at leas a bit. It was a few thumbs in the dike. Unfortunately the problem appears to be way larger and way more complex than had appeared back in what we will someday refer to as “the good old days” before the real meltdown. Buddy can you spare a debit charge.

      “Many,”…or “much” is definitely the operative word. The taps will be open until the situation is stabilized OR we run out of water. Let’s both hope we don’t run out of water first.

      I know Reagan had lots to say…or at least he had a very few things to say but said them over and again. I don’t know what Reagan would have done had he been President right now. For all his rhetoric he governed fairly pragmatically. He raised taxes after lowering them. He pulled troops out of Lebanon after many were blown up. I think the words he used were. “we can always have a war in the Middle east.” How right that was. He negotiated a deal with the Soviets. And he did not start any large wars. My hunch is if his economic advisors said, “sir…we need $800B right now or there is a better than 50/50 chance the entire world economy will melt down, he would have come on TV, explained how this pained him but was necessary, and would have signed the check. But we will never know.

      Keynes? Well I admit I have not read him since college days 30 years ago. Still…there is this thing called “Keynisan economics,” which does not say much about war, but says a lot about an active government intervening in the economy to counter-balance declining private sector activity in order to maintain high employment. Or conversely to run surpluses during high times so as to not over-inflate things. Government expansion or contraction as an eternal see-saw.

      Hayek was a critic of Keynes on the basis that if followed, Keynsian economics leads inevitably towards socialism. I don’t think we can rely on Hayek to tell us what Keynes actually wanted do you? Let’s just read Keynes himself.

      “Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone.”

      “If economists could manage to get themselves thought of as humble, competent people on a level with dentists, that would be splendid.”

      “There is no harm in being sometimes wrong- especially if one is promptly found out.”

      “In truth, the gold standard is already a barbarous relic.”

      “The book, as it stands, seems to me to be one of the most frightful muddles I have ever read, with scarcely a sound proposition in it beginning with page 45 [Hayek provided historical background up to page 45; after that came his theoretical model], and yet it remains a book of some interest, which is likely to leave its mark on the mind of the reader. It is an extraordinary example of how, starting with a mistake, a remorseless logician can end up in bedlam.”

      * On Friedrich Hayek’s Prices and Production, in Collected Works, vol. XII, p. 252

      My personal favorite: “Long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead.”

      Yes..Kennedy reduced the top marginal tax rate somewhat. Maybe it was the right move at the time. But we had a 90% top marginal rate for decades and had a lot of economic growth at the same time. And even after Kennedy the top rate stayed at 70% until Reagan. Of course, this only affected the highest 1% or less of American earners. As far as I am concerned, that history is all one needs to dis-prove the accepted wisdom of the right that high top marginal rates depress economic growth. They don’t, or at least didn’t.

      It’s big of you to attribute Clinton era growth to Reagan policies. I hope you will agree we should now forgive Carter for being the victim of Nixon policies. Of course we have to blame Clinton for Bush, and so forth to eternity.

      No matter how you slice it up John, the American economy has consistently performed better under Democrats than Republicans since the 1920s. And that is pretty much across the board: growth rate, employment, inflation, stocks, & wealth. The latest data even says American wealth is now back to where it was in 2000. Talk about a lost decade. We just had one.

      I did not say ALL public investments are smart ones. There are a lot of bad ones. Just as there are a lot of bad private investments, like…oh…I dunno…subprime mortgages chopped up and repackaged and sold as sure fire secure investments guarenteed by private bond raters like Moodys. Not to mention Bernard Madoff.

      What the spending bill does is mostly spend, but also cuts taxes significantly for the mid to lower income. It gets more money into the economy in the hope that this will stem the tide of layoffs and ease the pain for those who have been or will be laid off. It does not do anything about the banking sector. That apparently comes next. Hold onto your hat John…we are in for a ride.

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