It’s more than taxes
By: Fred Johnson; Columnist
While TEA Parties (Taxed Enough Already) have taxes are in the name, I believe it is much more than taxes that have upset people. Basically it is about a government that is unresponsive to the people they represent. Polls show that Congress has a job approval rating of around 26 percent and a 64 percent disapproval rating, yet congressmen seem to always be re-elected.
John Murtha publicly called his constituents racists and red necks during his election campaign last year, yet handily won re-election by those same constituents. How does he continue to be re-elected? Well one clue is his nickname, “King of Earmarks.” Murtha is now under a criminal investigation for steering $100 million in earmarks to clients of a Washington D.C. lobbying firm which made over $790,000 in campaign contributions back to John Murtha during his last three election campaigns.
It is hard to defeat someone with that kind of war chest. Senator Chris Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, has received millions of dollars from the banks and insurance companies that his committee oversees.
Last year, he received $280,000 from AIG, $70,000 from Bank of America, $133,000 from Fannie May and Freddie Mac and got a sweetheart mortgage from Country Wide Mortgage.
This cycle of earmarks and favorable legislation in return for campaign contributions make sitting Congressmen hard to defeat and it seems to lead to a total disregard for their constituents. The immigration bill was defeated last year only after the Congressional switch boards shut down from the number of calls from constituents. This year, we have seen Congress vote on bills that they have not read, pass legislation that the majority of voters oppose, ignore the Constitution and give themselves raises while demanding salary cuts in corporations and sacrifices from their constituents. Many people believe that their elected representatives are not listening to them and are only interested in staying in the Washington, D.C. exclusive club.
I believe that the TEA parties are really a cry for the Washington crowd to listen to the people who elected them.
PRINTED IN THE APRIL 16, 2009 EDITION