A Lobbyist’s Dream: Senate Guaranteed 50 Years’ Secrecy On Tax Reform Ideas

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Senate leaders have collaborated to secure a supposedly airtight 50-year guarantee of secrecy from the Finance Committee not to publicly disclose tax reform proposals from all 100 Senators, nor reveal the lobbying pressures influencing many of their suggestions, ahead of major tax reform legislation to be written this fall.

The agreement, forged by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), “assured lawmakers that any submission they receive will be kept under lock and key by the committee and the National Archives until the end of 2064,” according to The Hill.

In other words, the American public can find out all the ways the government defrauded them to protect politically active corporations after everyone in the Senate is dead.

Baucus and Hatch will co-sponsor tax reform later this year. Ostensibly, their vow of secrecy is intended to ensure all members of the Senate feel equally free to involve themselves in what could be a ground-up rewrite of the tax code. If it has the side effect of concealing the Senators’ true motives for positing changes in the way the Nation’s wealth is being redistributed, well, that’s unintentional.

From The Hill:

The lengths Baucus and Hatch have gone to reassure their colleagues underscores the importance the tax writers are placing on the blank-slate plan, and it shows they are working hard to ensure that all 100 senators engage in the process.

Baucus told The Hill he fully expects more senators to participate in writing because of the secrecy guarantee.

…It also illustrates the enormous pressure being brought to bear by K Street lobbyists, who are working furiously to protect their clients and the tax provisions that benefit them.

Only 10 staffers will be authorized to review Senators’ suggestions, each of which is to be assigned a unique ID number and stored on password-protected computers servers on both the Democrat and Republican sides. Hard copies are to be kept in locked safes.

That’s a lot of skullduggery just to make sure Americans have a tough time figuring out the obscure connections that link Senators in landlocked rural States with lobby-backed proposals — to envision just one relatively benign example — to offer major breaks to coastal industries far from their constituent base. With one less way of monitoring backroom agreements between government and private influence, expect the Nation’s tax code to fester into an even uglier, more confusing, more inequitable mess. Outrageously, the Senate is doing its best to make sure there won’t be anywhere to lay the blame.

Personal Liberty

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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  • BALONEY TONEY MAHONEY

    FEDERAL GOVT. of USA 2013; We are living in Hell right now!!!! God help us!

    • steve

      just one more reason to disband the congress and senate.

      • Daniel F. Melton

        Any legislator having served more than one term should face a Grand Jury investigation, and that should include “retired” and deceased political figures as well.
        I don’t wonder what slime will be uncovered.

  • Jimmy the Greek

    The french had it right ! Off With There Heads !

    • Daniel F. Melton

      Much too quick, and their secrets go to the grave with ‘em. Some of the techniques utilized by the Inquisition would be appropriate.

      • Jimmy the Greek

        Then into the wood chipper , Feet First !

        • Daniel F. Melton

          Messy but effective. I like the “feed ‘em to the pigs” method for final disposal.

          • Jimmy the Greek

            I think that may make the pigs get sick !

          • Daniel F. Melton

            Nah. I’ve raised ‘em. They’ll eat about anything, and their noses are sensitive enough to detect individual grains of corn with toxic fungus on ‘em.

          • Jimmy the Greek

            I know lol When i get home at 3am and park my truck one of the first things to greet me is a 300 hog running down the street , its my next door nabors and it keeps getting out so it just runs up and down the road like a dog ,we all feed it lol

          • Daniel F. Melton

            A neighborhood ‘watch hog’ that big is quite a deterrent!

  • Warrior

    Sounds like a great idea for a “new” game show. Let’s see. How bout we call it “I’ve got a secret”? Oh, that one has already been used you say. Ok, how bout, “I know something you don’t know”! Seems to me I’ve heard this on the schoolyard back in the day but let’s give it a go.

  • jdn

    Hiring lawyers as politicians has to be the worst idea in a long line of bad ideas . We need the states to form a new Continental Congress and a whole lot of rope .

    • Daniel F. Melton

      Rope can be reused unless ya want to leave ‘em hang as a visible incentive to their successors.

      • jdn

        Cherry trees should have decorations .

      • Jimmy the Greek

        Let them hang untill they rot and fall on there own !

        • Daniel F. Melton

          Check the bones your dog brings home….
          Other than that, I am all for it.

  • Daniel F. Melton

    One has to wonder why there is such a need for secrecy. What is being done behind the curtains that the leaders of the senate do not wish us to see? Why is it democrats who are so solicitous of secrecy in the legislative process?

    I’m thinking that Will Rogers’ (who never met a man he didn’t like) suggestion, “There ought to be one day when it’s open season on Senators” is more relevant now than when he first uttered that sentiment.

    We could probably retire the national debt by allowing open bids on hunting licenses for specific senators.

    If you want an honest government:
    1) Select Representatives by means of a draft lottery, qualifications for inclusion to the pool of prospective draftees to be determined by each state.
    2) Repeal the 17th Amendment. Give the selection of Senators back to the state legislatures, with the addition of term limits and the right of recall by the state Governor, the state legislature, and plebiscite.
    3) Remove the pay and benefits of federal legislators and staff from the federal domain. The state sending these people to Congress should be paying ‘em.
    4) No ‘retirement pay’ or special benefits for federal or state legislators at any level.
    5) All laws apply to legislators and bureaucrats as well as citizens.

    • dan

      they’re calling #5 the 28th Amendment…
      and I like your ideas

  • dan

    “Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States.”

    http://www.petition2congress.com/3093/proposed-28th-amendment-to-united-states-constitution/

  • RAND PAUL IN 2016

    The arrogance has reached such a point now that they can make a public statement that their actions, decisions, connections, etc.. will not be public!! Devastating irony….I ownder how my man, Rand will react??

  • TIME

    Dear People,

    I keep posting they are all “self serving criminals,” are there really any questions about that statement?

    Peace and Love

  • Wiley2

    “For secrets are edged tools,
    And must be kept from children and from fools.” John Dryden

    With secrecy, those who “represent” us demonstrate that they consider themselves to be our superiors; they view us as children and fools not to be trusted with knowledge or permitted to make our own decisions, but to be kept in the dark, controlled, manipulated and exploited for their own ends.

    We can either exercise our own reason and conscience and refuse to mindlessly obey whatever they command, or we can continue to be controlled by these same “superiors” who have demonstrated their superiority by ruining the lives of countless people around the world and driving us to an inevitable national bankruptcy.

  • Jake Thomas

    The tax code should be able to be written on 2 pages. one page for business and one page for non-business.

    • INFERNAL REVENUE SERVICE

      You don’t even need a page, an index card would do. Flat-rates, no loopholes, no deductions except for charities, no estate tax!

    • INFERNAL REVENUE SERVICE

      You don’t even need a page, an index card would do. Flat-rates, no loopholes, no deductions except for charities, no estate tax!

  • Wiley2

    Let me get this straight. We, who are responsible for electing representatives who will enact sound fiscal policies, are not allowed to know what policies those we elect propose. Yeah, that makes perfect sense.

  • Eagle525

    “We hang petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.”
    ~Aesop, Greek slave & fable author

    • KENYAN KRUSHER

      Love it!!!

  • I grew up under the communists

    By this act the US Senate also sanctions Obama’s secrecy (birth certificate, kinder garden report card and the rest). Shame on them all!

  • Ibn Insha

    No wonder we have and need more Edward Snowden. What are we, The United States of Communist America?

  • boyscout

    This is no privilege that they have assumed for themselves but rather another crime; one that hides the further criminal intent as well as the perps themselves.

  • Deerinwater

    To what good does such cloaking serve? ~ I can’t think of any. ~ Can the Senate actually do this? ~ How can elected representatives of the people serve the best interest of the people in such a manner?

    As this is being explained, ~ something is wrong. ~ is there more to this than has been presented?

  • villageidiot

    And there I was, thinking things couldn’t get any worse! When can we expect some decency from these people or are they now the real ‘ Masters of the Universe ‘? Any one out there getting angry yet?