There are certainly a lot of things that Washington does which should make the average American citizen furious. I would like to point out just four: the hypocrisy of the illegality of purchasing foreign prescription drugs, federal employee salaries, the job-busting cap and trade legislation, and the wanton destruction of the dollar.
The price of prescription drugs in the United States has increased by 9 percent in the last year. Certainly, the ever-increasing cost of drugs is a major reason for the pressure on Congress to reform our health care system. However, currently, it is illegal for Americans to import cheaper prescription drugs from outside the United States. Drugs produced by American companies, but sold in foreign markets are usually between 35 to 55 percent lower in price, due to price controls in other countries. It is an outrage to me that we are not able to take advantage of the stupidity of other governments and import and buy their cheaper American-made drugs. The same bleeding hearts in D.C. who whine about how people are dying because they can’t afford prescription drugs are standing in the way of those folks getting cheaper drugs.
Now, an argument given for keeping importation illegal is that the safety of the drugs cannot be guaranteed. Nonsense! We are talking about countries like Japan, the United Kingdom and Canada, which have product protection mechanisms in place. On a personal level, I’ve lived in the developing world for 8 years and my family has never had an issue with unsafe drugs in those countries. The bottom line is that there is an easy way to cut drug costs and provide much needed medication to the financially strapped sick, but Congress refuses to do the right thing.
Recently, USA Today reported that the number of federal employees who make $100,000 or more jumped from 14 percent to 19 percent of all bureaucrats during the first 18 months of the recession. The average federal worker’s salary is now $71,206 compared to $40,331 for private sector employees. To put it in even greater perspective, in December 2007, the Transportation Department had one employee earning $170,000. By June of 2009 the department had 1,690 workers with salaries above $170,000. Substantial pay raises and new salary rules were the reason for the jump in salaries. So while 7.2 million Americans were losing their jobs, not only were financial institutions and car manufacturers bailed out, your tax dollars also went toward ensuring the comfort and security of our ruling bureaucrats. Not only did Uncle Sam not cut back on labor costs as did the rest of America, he handsomely rewarded those who produce very little, if anything, that benefits society. All Americans should be furious.
Turning to the environment, if Congress were intent on destroying jobs in these tough times it would have immediately passed the 1500 page cap and trade legislation. The painful new taxes the legislation would have imposed on all of us would have increased business costs and reduced aggregate demand, thereby making an awful job market that much worse. Additionally, Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Lisa Jackson, admitted during a Senate committee hearing that the bill would not significantly reduce global carbon concentrations in the atmosphere.
Fortunately, Democrats have been sitting on the legislation, fearful of the political risks to their careers of passing it. But, wait just one minute, here comes the EPA to the rescue. This past week the agency issued an “endangerment finding” that global warming is hazardous to human health. In addition, the enviro-nazis at the EPA threatened Congress that if it didn’t pass cap and trade then it, the EPA, “would act on its own—and in a far more blunt fashion than Congress preferred.” According to one anonymous administration official, " the EPA is going to have to regulate in a command-and-control way, which will probably generate even more uncertainty."
Why is the EPA attempting to impose regulations that it admits will not significantly reduce global carbon concentrations in the atmosphere? Why does Congress put up with this extortion? Wasn’t the EPA created by Congress and thus answerable to it, and not the other way around? Why would Congress allow a bunch of unelected bureaucrats decide policy? The answer is easy: to deflect blame for stupid policy. The EPA is doing Congress a favor – it will further drain our economy with expensive regulations, and when your congressperson runs for reelection, he/she can blame the EPA. Of course, the question that should be asked at town hall meetings is, can’t Congress take away the EPA’s power? Yes it can, and as Americans get wiser about what charlatans their elected leaders are, they will press them more and more for upright answers.
Last, and most important, the American people should be outraged at the wanton destruction of their currency by the Fed, Congress, and two presidents. In the last 3 years alone, the dollar has lost 30 percent of its value! No surprise there, in light of the way money has been thrown at financial firms, car manufacturers, and so forth. For their part, the banks seem to have done well investing their bailout funds since they seem to be turning profits without loaning money.
The federal philanthropy continues – on Saturday, the Senate cleared the way for the passage of a $1.1 trillion spending bill. The vote was held up for an hour to allow Senator Lieberman, an Orthodox Jew, to walk more than 3 miles to the Hill on the Sabbath to cast the 60th vote to end debate. Now, I am not an authority on Orthodox law, but didn’t the Senator consider voting in the Senate chamber work? I suppose that, in addition to the Constitution that body continues to violate when it serves their purpose, members of Congress feel free to violate whatever parameters will get the job done.
All the bailouts and all this additional spending (with money we do not have) on aid for car dealers, loan guarantees for steel companies, and 5000 pork barrel projects for individual members, continues to devalue our money, making it that much harder for those already struggling to make ends meet in this horrendous economy imposed on us by Washington. Members of Congress are either charlatans or economic imbeciles, because their inflationary policies hurt the same people they purport to help. The whole thing is a stupendous outrage.
So, what is there to do? I already think it is too late. We owe 12 trillion dollars, with none of our problems resolved. Congress and the president seem hell-bent on making sure America is further bankrupted by every giveaway scheme imaginable – everyone knows the litany by now, too big to fail, too important to fail, so-called environmental protection, cash for clunkers, homebuyer credits, etc, etc, etc. I suppose we have the mid-term elections to look forward to next year, but given past experience, if Republicans take Congress it will be akin to going on a diet and drinking Bud Light instead of Regular Bud. Bottom line: both are bad brands.
If this article has irritated you even just a little bit, understand that there is a lot more that Washington spews that is awful. From prescription drugs to federal salaries, it seems that Washington only cares about its special constituencies and not the rest of us, who are hurting, and these examples are just the tip of the iceberg.