DC Legislation

February 17, 2010

Be aware of some upcoming legislation and make sure you let your representatives know exactly how you feel about these bills and how you want them to vote on your behalf. Remember, they represent you!

  • Healthcare Reform-This bill will eventually put private insurance companies out of business and put the federal government in charge of your healthcare. As it is right now, this bill contain funding for abortion, rationing, and panels that will decide what kind of care you get at all stages of your life.
  • Cap and Trade–Despite the fact that we now know that there is serious doubt about Global Warming or Climate Change, our legislators want to move forward with this bill. If it passes, government will control your energy consumption through higher taxes and this will result in larger government, more intrusive government, and higher unemployment.
  • Jobs Bill–Government doesn’t created jobs; the private sector does. This is just another poorly disguised stimulus package that will plunge this country further into debt.
  • Food Safety Bill–John McCain proves imself the liberal that he is as he co-sponsors this bill that will curtail the manufacture and sale of vitamins and other dietary supplements. If you want to take extra vitamins, you should have the right to do just that.


Joe and the Clunker


Joan R. Neubauer

Joe works at the local burger joint. A nice guy with a friendly smile, people usually forget about him before they take their first bite of their burger. Yet, he continues to smile at the customers at his minimum wage job. He shows up at work every day on time. He does his job and goes home to his family in his little rented house at the end of the day. He and his wife both work and their two children, good students, attend the local elementary school. They’re good people. They work hard, but neither of them have a very good education or many marketable skills, so together, they pull in about $20K a year. But their jobs give them good health benefits, so that counts for something.

Joe’s kids get to and from school on the bus. Joe’s wife car pools with others from the local plastic manufacturing plant, and Joe drives his old beater the two-and-a-half miles to work. Each day he fires up his ignition, he’s grateful that the old beast had yet one more start in her. But then one cold morning, she just refused to crank over. A quick thinker, Joe called a friend for a ride and got to work on time.

Upon further investigation, Joe discovers that his car has finally given up the ghost and he needs another. Sadly, Joe doesn’t have good credit and he doesn’t have enough money to pay cash for a new car. He’ll have to settle for another beater. He immediately thinks of his local used car lot.  From other trips to the lot he remembers that they had a hundred cars to choose from, and a good number of them in his price range—$300-$500. So after work one day, he bums a ride with a friend to peruse the market and gets hit with a whopping case of sticker shock. The cheapest thing on the lot would cost him $1,000! Poor Joe can’t understand how this could have happened.

It happened because of government involvement in the free market.

After billions of dollars in bailouts to financial institutions; a sweeping takeover of the auto industry; proposed tax hikes in the form of Cap & Trade legislation; they figured they had to do something for the little guy, but they didn’t think it all the way through. The consumer stands to get a whopping $4,500 if he trades in his car for a brand spanking new set of wheels he probably won’t be able to afford the payments on anyway since he lost his job and has to pay higher taxes for everything he buys. But here’s the rub: Cash for Clunkers will hit people like Joe, the working poor, like a ton of bricks.

In the past, dealers cleaned up your old Betsy, repaired of some of her problems, and sold her on their lot for far fewer bucks than a new vehicle. If Betsy needed too many repairs, she found herself in the junkyard, more politely called a salvage yard, where someone with a little talent and know-how might possibly buy her or parts from her formerly glamorous chassis for a few bucks and have cheap transportation. This is called free market. Everybody gets something in the process.

Now, add the government to the equation. Cash for Clunkers takes the “free” out of Free Market. Under this program, dealers no longer have the option of reselling your old car on their lot, but must destroy the engine and crush the body. So what? What do you care what happens to that old clunker? So now, the market has far fewer used cars for sale, thus raising prices on those that do exist. (Remember supply and demand from high school economics?) An old clunker, that six months ago might have cost $300, now costs far more. Those who need transportation to get to work and don’t qualify for a loan on a new car because of income, or simply don’t want the burden of years of payments, now have far fewer options. Unless Joe, and millions of other people like him, can find a reliable ride to work, he may find himself counted among the unemployed.

While their motives may be as pure as newly fallen snow, these guys in Washington tend not to think things through. While they constantly remind us that we need them to look out for us, truthfully, they know nothing about us. Few of them have ever done anything in the private sector for very long, but are career politicians who have never truly functioned in the real world as adults.

When Congress funded this program, they just didn’t think about people like Joe. But then, oftentimes, Congress just doesn’t think.


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