Drain the Swamp

In this age of Amazon where you can order any book ever written there is still a place for library visits and browsing selected Dewey Decimal classes (in this case 320.973) for books that some library director  (in this case Scotch Plains) thought worthwhile. I found this one on Sunday and just finished reading it. Excerpts follow:

I found the D.C. Swamp is programmed to destroy anyone who tries to disturb the status quo. There really are big special interests that guard their nests like vultures. The big union bosses for government workers will spend millions to defeat anyone who dares to cut gove3rnment spending or eliminate a wasteful government program. Big corporations will fight tooth and nail to protect their tax loopholes, credits, and targeted tariff waivers. All the big hospitals, banks, corporations, and media moguls actually push for more complex regulations because it gives them an advantage over their smaller competitors. Washington, D.C. is a swamp of murky water filled with terrapins, alligators, and venomous snakes, only we call them lobbyists, congressmen, and bureaucrats. (page 5 Preface by Jim DeMint)

Members of Congress have only one problem that they’re serious about solving – and that’s getting reelected. And they’re convinced that the path to reelection lies through bribing the American people with endless government programs we can’t afford. (page 10)

I expected gridlock; instead, I found Democrats and Republicans cooperating to bankrupt the country by avoiding tough budget choices. (page 12)

While some do pursue power and riches, most prefer to keep their heads down, look out for their own interests, and maintain the status quo – even if that means ignoring problems like out out-of-control national debt. Everyone uses government to get what he or she wants. (page 14)

The following Monday, Candice Miller, chairman of the House Administration Committee, hosted a luncheon for us in the historic House dining room. Chris Christie, Republican governor of New Jersey, was the feature speaker. He delivered a clear message: that the fruits of victory were the ability to pass bills or bring money back to our districts that would help us win reelection. I confess, I had never been a big Christie fan, but I was astonished that his speech was not about winning for Team America, but rather winning for Team Republican by playing the Washington game. I left that lunch frustrated, muttering to myself at the hypocrisy of it all. I ran for Congress as a Republican, and I share the values of the Republican Party far more than I do the values of the Democratic Party. But I was deeply offended to hear him say that we were all supposed to march in lockstep so we can get reelected, that our primary loyalty, in other words, was to do well for our party rather than to do well for America. (page 25)

If you want to serve on a committee, you have to raise money for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC). The amount varies depending on the committee and role. For example, to serve on a B or C level committee, a GOP freshman member must raise $220,000 every two years. I paid that amount to the NRCC in my first term in Congress, but now must pay more than double that amount. Veteran members on A committees must raise more than twice that amount – $450,000. That’s right, almost half a million dollars to do what the people elected them to do. (pages 37-8)

The real partisanship in Washington isn’t between political parties or about political principle; it is within parties, where leaders punish members who don’t play the game. In Congress, the consensus has been, it’s better to sink the nation with debt than rock the boat with reform. If we’re going to drain the swamp, we need to change that. (page 42)

Today, no one wants to say we can’t keep putting deficit spending on the national credit card, because congressmen think they’re more likely to get reelected through pork than fiscal prudence and the moral principle of not burdening the next generation with unbearable debt. That’s the coward’s way out. But Congress currently rewards cowards. (page 48)

Right now, too many people in Congress would rather let Social Security collapse at some point in the future than risk being thrown out of office for solving that problem now. (page 49)

The great Republican Party leaders of the past did not shy away from controversy or hard decisions. But in recent years, the Republican Party has rushed to become little more than a watered-down version of the Democratic Party – only worse in therms of hypocrisy: talking conservative talk in order to get reelected, but then walking the Democratic walk of big government in order to cavort and wallow in the Washington swamp. (page 51)

the Export-Import Bank of the United States is supposed to encourage American exports by making low-interest loans, but it’s really no more than a corporate welfare program. The Ex-Im Bank began in the midst of the Great Depression in 1934 with an executive order by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. It was later approved by Congress as an agency following World War II and played a pivotal role in helping Europe and the USSR rebuild. But that was seventy years ago. Today it is a lobbyist’s playground. (pages 64-5)

Foreign competitors – aided by American taxpayer funded loans from the Ex-Im Bank – can now charge less per flight because they purchase Boeing aircraft at cheaper prices than Delta and other American companies can. (page 69)

These wasteful programs, and legions of others, are often referred to as “zombie appropriations” because they stagger forward undeterred by anything, confident they will receive funding regardless of performance. (page 90)

It’s a shakedown racket. Groups such as the Sierra Club and the Center for biological Diversity flood the agencies with petitions to list every conceivable species. They set arbitrary and artifical deadlines for the agency to respond. Then they sue the agency when it doesn’t meet their timelines. And the settlements begin. (page 92)

executive branch agencies raised $516 billion in user fees, fines, and settlements in 2015 with no oversight from Congress….the equivalent of one sixth of the entire federal budget…Congress had nothing to say about where that money went, because the truth is we don’t know where it went….Consequently, executive agencies effectively tax the American people without any credible oversight by their representatives. (pages 95-6)

It’s impossible to enforce the laws of the land when the president, the Congress, and the courts won’t follow the law – and that’s frequently been the case in recent years. (page 102)

when bureaucrats or congressmen think they’re in the business of solving problems – rather than executing their constitutional duties – they inevitably make them worse. (page 104)

the percentage of bridges requiring significant repairs has declined from 22 percent in 1992 to only 10 percent in 2014. Washington doesn’t need more money for infrastructure projects. That’ just an invitation to more corruption. The control and maintenance of infrastructure projects should be given to the states. (page 111)

Our crippling national debt exists because Washington has too much power. Corruption in the federal government is a direct result of so many people getting comfortable in the stagnant political backwaters beside the Potomac. The concentration of power in D.C. attracts the worst and tempts the best, making it extremely difficult for men and women of character to arise and lead our nation to a healthier place. (page 112)

When Washington regulates the American people to death, which it does all the time, the only ones who benefit are the bureaucrats who gain power and bigger budgets and the politicians who get to brag about how they spent money “on kids” or on whatever other apparently worthy cause they’re spending money on. That’s how the Washington swamp got built, through deals like that.If we’re going to drain the swamp, we need to do the reverse. We need to take power away from Washington and return it to the people. (pages 120-1)

5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by steve on May 9, 2017 at 6:29 am

    that encompasses it- in a nut shell—–there was once a little saying ‘ WHEN YOU ARE UP TO YOUR ASS IN ALLIGATORS YOU HAVE TO REMEMBER YOUR ORIGINAL OBJECTIVE WAS TO DRAIN THE SWAMP”—-

    Reply

  2. Posted by Jesse on May 9, 2017 at 6:47 am

    Great find. There is actually a book called Drain the Swamp”. I’m checking out ABE BOOKS. Always a better price than Amazon. Interesting, the chosen excerpts got me.

    Reply

  3. Posted by S Moderation Douglas on May 9, 2017 at 12:55 pm

     John McGinnis was elected to the Pennsylvania legislature and wrote a book about the Pennsylvania pension crisis. It is available from Amazon as a paperback, or free on line as an e-book.

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://www.johndmcginnis.com/futureforsaken.pdf&ved=0ahUKEwiImbK_nuPTAhUH1GMKHdjnD8gQFggmMAQ&usg=AFQjCNFLjig4zkKNhiDCQlUdlJlfvhRvVw&sig2=mQr6Cksfqthbu-eoSe28zQ

    Is there a free download of Buck’s book? If not, why not? What are we paying him for?

    It’s not in my local library.

    Reply

  4. Posted by Anonymous on May 9, 2017 at 4:20 pm

    Maybe Kim can backfill the swamp when she saves her husband’s JRS pension with reductions??

    Reply

  5. Posted by bpaterson on May 13, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    all ditto in reference to union county NJ govt

    Reply

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