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January 26, 2009

Stop Tax Bribery

Quote of the Day: “The Greeks…labored under the delusion that their democracy was a guarantee of peace and plenty, not realizing that unrestrained majority rule always destroys freedom, puts the minority at the mercy of the mob, and works at cross-purposes to the effective use of human energy and individual initiative.” — Henry Grady Weaver, “The Mainspring of Human Progress”

Subject: Using the taxes you pay to bribe members of Congress

It’s a crime for citizens to bribe members of Congress. But it’s perfectly legal for members of Congress to use your tax money to bribe each other. It’s called logrolling. One Congressperson says to another, “I’ll vote for your spending bill if you’ll vote for mine.”

What else could this be called, but an attempt to use tax money to buy a legislative outcome? In a word, a bribe.

Could we have a law to make this kind of bribery illegal, to be punished by jail-time, fines, and expulsion from office?

It’s an exciting idea. If we could figure out how to do it, we might. But unlike the political class we’re humble in our ambitions to engineer human behavior. We know that the actions of individuals, especially politicians, are far more slippery than any grand design for regulation can easily comprehend.

A law prohibiting tax bribery would probably be too easy to evade, and too hard to enforce. Besides . . .

We already have a proposal that would accomplish most of the goal with a lot less difficulty. It’s called the “One Subject at a Time Act” (OSTA).

OSTA would prohibit legislation like the proposed stimulus package. Congressional leaders couldn’t group unrelated appropriations into one bill. Various kinds of spending would have to be presented as individual bills. This would make it much harder to trade votes.

We wouldn’t even have to be be fighting the pork-laden stimulus package if we had OSTA.

Please use our quick and easy Educate the Powerful System to send Congress a message asking them to introduce and pass’s “One Subject at a Time Act.”

Use your personal comments to mention the stimulus package as the kind of legislation that shouldn’t be allowed. Ask your elected representatives to present all of the stimulus package spending items as individual bills, so that each can receive its proper consideration and debate.

If you didn’t send a message last week about the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report indicating that most of the spending in the so-called stimulus package will come too late to serve it’s intended purpose, please send an extra message on that subject.

Use your personal comments to tell your elected representatives that you know about the CBO report. Tell them to vote no on the stimulus package.

Thank you for being a part of the growing Downsize DC Army.

Jim Babka
President, Inc.

P.S. I can’t let this moment pass without making an appeal for MORE DC DOWNSIZERS. That’s right, more members of the Army! Remember, our budget is covered. Now it’s time for serious outreach! Your donation will expand the Downsize DC Army and get the news out about the One Subject at a Time Act. And since “God tends to be on the side of the bigger battalions,” that means we can win even more victories in Congress. Please, give generously now. 

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