The filibuster is an important tool which, as many have observed, has halted more bad legislation than good legislation. Getting rid of it would constitute a major change, and potentially a very bad one.
Even if it meant undoing Cronycare, eliminating the filibuster would likely come back to haunt fans of small government.
A broad, sweeping, global treaty which will/may fundamentally shift how trade is done in the world and in the USA is still secret and thanks to Senate Republicans is halfway to getting “fast track” status. That is the treaty will be voted on for final approval by Congress with a simple “yes” or “no” vote, without debate or amendments. That doesn’t seem right to me.
Now I am all for free trade. I think goods and services should flow without friction across borders. I say make it easier for this to happen. This creates opportunity and better goods at better prices for nearly everyone.
When I was a kid I used to get Sears brand sneakers with my mom. (Fashion was not a priority for my parents when it came to the kids.) Every 6 months or so I’d get a new pair. The cost was $35-$40.
Fast forward to now. At Target kid sneakers of much higher quality than my Sears kicks can be purchased at about the same price or even lower. And this isn’t even in inflation adjusted terms. Adjusting for inflation, these higher quality sneakers are probably HALF the price of my old sneakers, or even less.
This is an example of free trade raising the quality of life generally.
The same can be said for t-shirts, technology, any number of things. Our lives are for the most part much better because of relatively free trade.
Of course there are losers in this equation. The people who used to make my Sears brand sneakers no longer have a job making Sears brand sneakers. That’s true. But generally life is better in America for all those Chinese made goods which are made for us at lower cost and with higher quality (often) than products made in the States.
But it concerns me that the Trans Pacific Partnership, a supposedly “free trade” agreement, is being handled with such secrecy. This giant agreement has been negotiated and is being voted on (at least fast track authority) by the Congress, without any public review at all. Is this how we do business in the USA now? Are our leaders so afraid that the people will rise up in opposition that government must now be done in the shadows?
I have no problem with someone having a bank account in the Caymans or wherever. People are taxed a lot. Too much. This is nearly universally true. Folks have an obligation to reduce their tax exposure as much as legally possible. If an offshore account is legal, why not?
However, if one is a so called progressive congressman who has explicitly railed against such accounts it would seem hypocritical to have say $10,000,000 stashed away in one of these accounts.
This would seem a reasonable thing to do. Locking the treaty text in a dungeon, under guard, with senators only allowed to view it by themselves and while there prohibited from making notes, is probably a bit unreasonable.
I hope that one day we will look back on the Patriot Act in the way we look back on Prohibition now, a huge mistake which gave away too much power to government and undermined the very spirit of what it means to be American.*
This is how it’s done folks. Regulate your competition away. Enjoy fattened bottom lines courtesy of your sponsored politicians in Washington.
Of course consumers have fewer choices, overall quality is likely diminished, entrepreneurs go out of business, and employees lose jobs. But hey, it’s a crony world. You actually thought you’d get a fair shot? Ha! You’ve got a lot to learn my soap making friend.
And let’s be real honest. They aren’t just lapdogs for Obama. They are lapdogs for Sheldon Adelson (Graham’s new sponsor) the billionaire head of Las Vegas Sands who hates Rand Paul and Paul’s father and anyone else who thinks that aid to Israel isn’t sacrosanct.
This marks the third time Congress is trying to pass the bill to allow corporations to share our personal data with governments loosely. In addition, the 2015 version of CISPA would create a data sharing program between the Department of Homeland Security, Director of National Intelligence, and Secretary of Defense, with no accountability measures outside of their own agencies. Not only that, but any data shared would be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.