More than 100 members of Congress who will be looking for work in January are back at their desks on Capitol Hill this week. What can we expect from this bunch of lame ducks?
Probably nothing good. The more important question is: How much bad will they do before they go home?
I keep hearing rumors that the union bosses who bought (stole?) Harry Reid’s re-election in Nevada are demanding that card check be passed before Congress heads home for Christmas. In case you’re not familiar with this dishonestly named bit of legislative chicanery, it would mean the end of the secret ballot in union elections.
Believe it or not, the bill’s supporters in Congress actually had the nerve to call this odious piece of legislation “The Employee Free Choice Act.” Of course it is nothing of the sort. Passage would mean an end to free choice for those workers unfortunate enough to become the victims of it.
And speaking of the unions in this country, did you realize that they were the single biggest spenders in this year’s elections? Not only did they force their members to cough up $100 million dollars for some of the slimiest negative advertising we’ve ever seen, the union bosses actually borrowed another $20 million or so to buy more ads in critical areas.
Nevada was one of them. Union leaders considered it absolutely essential to keep their pet lapdog, Harry Reid, as Senate Majority Leader. To the sorrow of all of us who care about constitutional government, they succeeded. Now the question is: Will Reid deliver on his debt to them?
Frankly, I think all of you right-to-work supporters can relax. There’s about as much chance of Reid ramming card check through Congress as there is of Ron Paul’s (R-Texas) proposal to get us out of the United Nations being approved. Or even Paul’s bill to audit the Federal Reserve, and that one has a majority of the present House members as co-sponsors.
Yes, this lame duck session of Congress is important. Maybe even pivotal. But not because Harry Reid and his counterpart in the House — the incredibly nasty, vindictive, but soon-to-be-ex-Speaker Nancy Pelosi — are going to ram through another bunch of bad bills. Granted, these people don’t care a whit about decency, honesty or what’s permitted by the Constitution.
But I do know one thing they care about — their hides. And I suspect they realize what would happen to them if they treated us all like the hapless serfs they wish we actually were. The “million man march” would become many millions. And the marchers wouldn’t be anywhere near as nice as the last bunch. Heck, they probably wouldn’t even stop to clean the blood off the Capitol steps.
(Let’s pause a moment for a joke. I received an email warning a few days ago, purportedly from the Department of Homeland Security. The subject line said, “Warning! Dangerous email!” The message inside said whatever you do, do not open an email that promises to include a naked photo of Nancy Pelosi. The reason? Because it actually does contain a naked photo of her.)
Back to reality, which is sometimes just as unpleasant. What in fact can we expect this lame duck session to do? (If you’re wondering about the origination of the phrase “lame duck,” check out Chip Shots at the bottom of this page).
How about passing a budget?
With all the hullabaloo over the midterm elections, you may not have caught the news that our beloved Congress hasn’t passed a budget for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1.
I kid you not. Congress went racing home in September without taking a vote on any of the one dozen spending bills that were needed to finance the Federal government for the coming year. Instead, in their awesome wisdom, they approved a stopgap “continuing resolution” that temporarily extended current spending levels through Dec. 2.
Why a dozen different spending bills, you might ask? For a couple of reasons. One, some of the brighter minds in D.C. argued that it would be easier to sort through 12 separate bills that divided government programs into 12 different piles than to have one gargantuan monster that no one would read and few could comprehend.
I don’t know why this should be a problem. It certainly wasn’t with the single most important piece of legislation that Congress has foisted on us in the past 50 years — Obamacare. Here was a bill that no one had read (it wasn’t put together until a few hours before the vote) and that no one fully understands even now. Remember, it was Pelosi who said, “We have to pass this bill to find out what’s in it.” Is that a crazy way to make legislation or what?
I have to admit, the second reason for not combining all spending proposals into one bill does make sense: There wasn’t a single member of the House or Senate who would put his or her name on legislation calling for more than a trillion dollars in Federal spending in one year.
As I said, the 435 members of the House running for re-election were scared to death of this monstrosity. And who could blame them? So — surprise, surprise — they elected to take the cowardly way out and pass a temporary measure, then race for the doors.
Now the jig is up. How are they going to fund our gargantuan government after Dec. 2? Stay tuned; it’s about to get very interesting.
And speaking of spending, let’s turn that coin over and look at the other side. Where are they going to get the money they are so eager to spend? Quantitative easing (remember, that’s creating money out of thin air) can take them only so far; in addition to Uncle Sam monetizing debt, he actually has to collect some money from those of us who still work for a living.
The name of this game is taxes, folks. And the goal is to see how many feathers you can pluck from the goose before he begins to squawk. Or worse yet, succumbs to being stark naked in the cold.
President Barack Obama has repeatedly insisted that there will be no tax breaks for the rich. A “tax break,” when our spender-in-chief uses the phrase, means allowing some of you to keep some of the money you earn. Remember, the mindset of our leaders is that government deserves every dollar you make, because they will spend it all so much more “fairly” than you would. If they allow you to keep any of your earnings, why, they’re just being magnanimous.
So there you have two of the biggest issues that this lame duck Congress must address. They can’t waddle (or at least not much). They can’t delay (or at least not for long).
All that’s at stake here is government spending and taxation — two of the most important issues of our lifetime. So it’s rather scary to realize that their fate is in the hands of a hundred politicos who have already been fired by the voters back home.
Who was it who said that neither your money nor your property is safe when Congress is in session? He got that right.
Until next time, keep some powder dry.