The IRS scandal, which again played out on TV today, is an excellent opportunity to kick off “Truth Week” and expose progressivism in every dark corner for the despotic false promise it is. I, myself, would happily give up my vote for Senator in order to return to the original federalist design before the ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment, and you will too by the time you are done reading this article.
When he was a U.S. senator, Byron Dorgan, funneled taxpayer money to clean-coal research. Elizabeth Gore, Dorgan’s chief of staff at the time, just so happened to register last week as a lobbyist for the clean-coal industry.
This is par for the course in Washington, and why the Seventeenth Amendment was a colossal despotic mistake; subsidize an industry with taxpayer money through “rents,” which I will elaborate on in a bit, and then rake in the money from that industry as a lobbyist or consultant.
Dorgan was chairman of the Appropriations Committee’s energy subcommittee late last decade. He ensured federal funding was directed to the Illinois-based “FutureGen” program. FutureGen is a massive project in “clean coal” technologies. Sounds like a noble cause doesn’t it? After all, Democrats get elected in part due to their position as champions of the environment.
In 2009, Dorgan proudly announced a separate $3.66 million in federal funding for “clean coal research and development” at the Energy and Environmental Research Center. It would take place at the University of North Dakota, making Dorgan a hometown hero, of course.
Then in the fall of 2009, Dorgan published a study on clean coal, which called for $110 billion to $450 billion in government support for clean-coal over 25 years. Dorgan’s report suggested:
Annual Appropriations…; Investment Tax Credits; Production Tax Credits/CO2 Sequestration Credits…; Direct Cash Payments; Federal Loan Guarantees.
Naturally, Dorgan proposed a “Federal Financing Bank” to subsidize clean coal.
Coincidentally, just as Dorgan fought to save FutureGen, directed a $3.66 million earmark and developed the study advocating hundreds of billions in subsidies, Elizabeth Gore was his chief of staff. On Dorgan’s way out of the Senate in September, 2010, Gore joined the lobbying firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck.
Now, just this last week, Brownstein Hyatt filed a lobbying registration on behalf of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity – a longtime lobby for the agenda Dorgan advanced. Gore is one of the lobbyists on the account, according to the filing.
The sad part of this story, is that there’s nothing exceptional about it, in fact, it is quite the norm in Washington. And it is not limited to Democrats either; progressivism bleeds through parties.
Judd Gregg-R, as senator in 2008, “played a central role in crafting and passing the Troubled Asset Relief Program,” or the Wall Street Bailout.
In late May, Gregg received a very lucrative job offer to be the head of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, which incidentally, is the largest lobby for Wall Street.
It is not only the Senators themselves who profit from this normality. Liz Engel, who was the White House’s health-care liaison to Capitol Hill during the crafting of Obamacare is a perfect example. The final bill made federal subsidies available to abortion providers, despite the promise to Stupak, D-MI.
Engel, after helping pass Obamacare, fantastically became a lobbyist at Glover Park Group, where her first registered lobbying client was none other than Planned Parenthood, which is the nation’s leading abortion provider.
Obamacare created a federal subsidy for long-term care providers, such as nursing homes. One Ted Kennedy aide, Connie Garner, played a pivotal role in drafting that provision. A few weeks later following the bill’s passing, Garner not-so surprisingly announced she was leaving Congress to become CEO of a lobby organization supported by “aging, disability, unions and providers” to ensure the program’s implementation. As AEI put it:
Of course, “providers” means the long-term care companies which would pocket the subsidies. (Obamacare’s long-term-care subsidies have since been repealed.)
Lobbyist Bill Delahunt used to be a Democratic congressman. Last year, the New York Times reported on the various interests that Congressman Delahunt had once enriched with earmarks and the like. Eric Lichblau, of the Times, wrote:
[T]he Delahunt Group stands to collect $90,000 or more for six months of work from the town of Hull, on Massachusetts Bay, with 80 percent of it coming from the pot of money he created through a pair of Energy Department grants in his final term in office.
This is the way of Washington.
Following the bailouts and stimulus bill passed in the name of the financial crisis, Washington and Wall Street consolidated wealth and power. A study in 2010 showed that out of the 10 wealthiest counties in the United States, 5 were in and around the D.C. area. A whole 4 out of the remaining 5 counties can attribute their success to wealth-producing federal legislation, or what are known as special interest rents, while only Douglas County in Colorado cannot. Unfortunately, progressives are currently using Agenda 21 – Sustainable Development – to demolish their long-standing tradition of permanent property rights.
But what does any of this have to do with the Seventeenth Amendment?
In the so-called Progressive Era, the Seventeenth Amendment was passed in conjunction with the Sixteenth Amendment as part of a logrolling deal, which simultaneously gave politicians the ability to offer industries of their choice a “competitive advantage” and the seniority to ensure the wealth-producing legislation would not be repealed or replaced in a subsequent Congress. On the flip side, as we are seeing with conservative groups, the IRS and the tax code itself can be used as a despotic weapon. As Todd Zywicki, of Princeton University also found:
From “Our Virtuous Republic” – clearly the combination of Munn v. Illinois, which granted Congress the power to regulate and offer competitive advantage legislation, and the passage of the 16th & 17th Amendments was quickly followed by a boom in legislative careerism.
The Seventeenth Amendment increased the average tenure of senators, thereby making available a greater number of special-interest contracts, as well as increasing their durability and value.
It is all a lie. One man one vote, rampant special interest within state legislatures, and the tendency of state legislatures to fail to resolve senatorial elections, all were either gross exaggerations or flat-out lies. And all were arguments to pass and subsequently ratify the Seventeenth Amendment. Special interest groups were getting tired of spending so much money attempting to buy off and barter with new Senate candidates. Despite the claims, state legislatures had a habit of tossing senators who used the Congress as their own personal auction house.
Did corruption exist prior? Of course, but the data shows unequivocally that Senate tenures exploded after the passage of the Seventeenth amendment, because among other reasons, it was easier to trick us than it was to trick the state legislatures in to thinking that they had the best interest of the nation and the state in their heart. In the section “The Birth of Big Government Cronyism & Democratic Despotism” from the book “Our Virtuous Republic,” I wrote:
The protection of We the People against the excesses of factions, or special interest, was addressed in the original design of our Constitution, thus the need to amend the document. James Madison had to contend with a good deal of disagreement when he undertook the task of convincing the delegates at the Constitutional Convention to adopt our Constitution. Hedging against democratic despotism, however, was not one of them. The Founding Fathers were wise enough to fear “pure Democracy” as an option for our new republic.
Of course, it is more complicated than what I have had time and space to write here, but the aforementioned at the very least provides insight to the fundamentals. The House is close to the people and frequently elected, but if we did not do our jobs, then the Senate was made to stand about as the “natural aristocracy” – not the artificial aristocracy ruling today – and they could and would be trusted to do the right thing. Help us get out the truth and share this column.
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- VIDEO: Senator Cruz Urges Americans to sign Petition to Abolish IRS (richardbaris.wordpress.com)