Apparently August is the best time to hold “Town Halls” if you’re an elected representative.
It’s so hot no one cares what you say and for the most part, even if you say totally crazy stuff, no one really notices. And it is in this environment that we see the GOP beginning to push their new Obama-attack, a call we will see repeated louder and louder as Congress reconvenes.
Several of Kentucky’s elected officials have held just these sort of meetings over the past few weeks — though it’s a stretch to call them “town halls.”
In almost every case, the event is actually just a direct address from the Republican representative to largely private groups, often the city or county chamber of commerce.
Certainly their constituents; hardly the people.
Mitch McConnell was in Florence this Monday lying to the Rotary Club, telling them that now is a actually perfect time to get things done in Washington.
“My point was that, ironically, it is probably the best time, and some would argue the only time, to do really hard things, because really hard things done on a partisan basis cannot be accomplished and produces a wipeout in the next election,” McConnell said. “This is actually the perfect time.”
How Mitch even said any of this without getting laughed out of the room mere weeks after the debt debate is particularly bizarre, especially when, clearly, the GOP House is screwing up even McConnell’s own ideas of what should be done. Was no one listening?
Aside from telling people how well Washington’s working right now thanks to the Tea Party, the Republican reps are spinning all sorts of tales.
Last week at a “town hall” in London, Rand Paul took a break from exposing the secret government agency SWAT teams to warn his audience that the EPA has “gone crazy.”
This is part of a recurring set of talking points in almost every one of these businesspeople meetings, regardless of the Republican doing the talking.
The Republicans have no jobs plan, have no interest in helping everyday Americans and are instead focused on slashing the safety net (education, medicare, etc) on the one hand and, on the other, this new strategy ratcheting up — spinning lies that regulations are at fault for our destroyed economy.
Mitch McConnnell paused his “constituent” tour last week to tell The Hill that “the administration’s overregulation of the private sector and repeated calls for closing corporate tax breaks had created a pall over the economy.”
“Quit trying to raise taxes. Quit over-regulating. Washington should let the private sector flourish so we have a chance again to have a growing economy,” McConnell said.
Regulations in general, and environmental regulations specifically, are a hot topic among Republicans right now. Republicans, of course, have always been opposed to regulations governing how much business can get away with, that’s nothing new. But now they are folding this longheld opposition into a new argument. Just as they are trying to use the economic collapse they created to dismantle Medicare (which they’ve wanted to destroy from its inception), they are using the dire economic situation to try and roll back the safeties and guidelines that have reigned in otherwise dangerously freewheeling corporations for decades.
They are specifically, loudly and centrally arguing that deregulating business is their solution to America’s jobs problem. This is, in fact, the GOP’s central jobs “plan” even though it has very little to do with actually creating jobs — and it is spearheaded by Kentucky Republican Rep. Geoff Davis and Senator Rand Paul.
The signature jobs initiative for Republicans when Congress returns in September is an attempt to pass the REINS Act (Regulation from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny).
The REINS Act would require Congress to approve every major new regulation proposed by the White House before it takes effect. If Congress does not act within 70 days, the rule is void.
This would severely limit the power of the executive branch, since no regulations – such as the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation of greenhouse gases – could become effective without approval from both houses of Congress, a high bar. In this way, congressional Republicans are seeking to bring back to Congress the regulatory powers that have gradually devolved to the executive branch during the past 50 years.
Sponsors include Rep. Geoff Davis (R) of Kentucky and Sen. Rand Paul (R) of Kentucky. The bill is endorsed by business groups, including the US Chamber of Commerce, which is launching a summer regulation road show to boost public support.
I can’t believe they taking Warren’s wealth
They took my rings, they took my rolex
I looked at the brotha, said ‘Damn, what’s next?’
On Wednesday, Mitch McConnell addressed chambers of commerce in Bell and Harlan counties, and of course he had one central message:
“We haven’t passed any new legislation, but there are a bunch of new regulators appointed by the president who busily work trying to make it difficult to burn coal and to produce low cost electricity for our country,” said Senator Mitch McConnell.
McConnell said regulation from Washington is hindering economic opportunities.
On Thursday in Hopkins County, Rand Paul beat the regulation drum hard:
“Can you imagine what the federal government is doing to the coal companies, the banks, and to industry at large? It is literally out of control,” said Senator Paul. “You can say we need the EPA to keep our water and air clean. We should have clean water and clean air. While I’m the most pro-coal person you’ll meet, they can’t dump sludge in the creek, they can’t pollute, and nobody can dump benzene in our water. We shouldn’t have that. But what has happened is that the regulations have gone overboard. We need to get out of the way and let businesses thrive.”
Whether in faked “town hall” meetings or across the internet or over e-mail and talk radio, the business interests controlling the Republican Party and it’s (maybe) well-meaning Tea Party grassroots are banging the drum that the regulations that made our water and air cleaner over the past thirty years, that save lives every day and stand in between the greedy bastards who run the corporations that run this country (into the ground) and would bankrupt America tomorrow if they could make a million dollars (or a billion — hey, Wal-Mart!) do not need to be regulated.
Put tons of mercury directly into the water.
Cover towns in coal ash.
Let children play with toxic chemicals.
This will, somehow, create jobs.
Phil Kerpen, “vice president for policy” at Americans for Prosperity, the Koch Brother’s funded front group, eloquently pushed this ridiculous argument last week, claiming the new “regulations” in last year’s Wall Street reform were actively destroying jobs. As if the unregulated Wall Street of years past created them. Same for the Health Care bill and, of course their favorite target… the EPA:
On top of that we’ve seen an astonishing train wreck of new energy regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), including an aggressive effort to discover elements of the failed Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade legislation inside the forty-year-old Clean Air Act. The EPA is now contemplating its most aggressively anti-jobs regulation: an out-of-cycle re-proposal of smog rules that would ratchet down levels so far beyond what is necessary for public health that nearly the whole country would be judged “out of attainment” and over seven millions jobs would be lost. The EPA is also attempting to impose an absurd 54.5 mile-per-gallon fuel economy standard that will take any car worth driving off the market.
So again, breathing cleaner air somehow kills jobs (and not enough people) and car companies should be left to make vehicles that burn 1 mile per gallon if they want to because that would obviously make lots and lots of jobs, like billions of them.
This logic makes no sense, and yet they use it, over and over.
Kerpen goes on to defend the media conglomerates that control your access to the internet and want to ratchet up prices and throttle access speeds, and attacks working people who try to band together to demand any sort of rights in the face of their corporate overlords, and ends with, again, a celebration of the GOP’s #1 Jobs Plan — Kentucky Congressman Geofferson Davis’ cutely named bill:
The most significant reform is the REINS ACT, H.R. 10, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Geoff Davis of Kentucky. The REINS Act would require approval of the House, Senate, and President for any economically significant rule before it could take effect. It would eliminate the most extreme outcomes and dampen the impact of regulatory uncertainty on businesses that would be eager to hire if they had more reasonable expectations of regulatory compliance costs. If the President is serious about creating jobs, he should stop blaming bad luck and take responsibility. He should call off the regulatory attacks at his agencies and urge passage of the REINS Act.
Because again, it was “regulatory uncertainty” not Wall Street dirtbags borrowing trillions of dollars against trillions in unpayable debt that wrecked the economy and disappeared American jobs.
It was “regulatory uncertainty” that collapsed the economy and sent unemployment above 9%, not the insanely unnecessary war in Iraq.
It was drinkable water that destroyed America’s main streets. It was safety-tested vehicles that destroyed the American dream. It was regulations, not corporations, that sapped trillions of needed dollars from America’s revenue streams over the past decade.
It was the regulations.
So Kentucky Congressman Geofferson Davis leads the GOP’s national charge to cynically attack regulations under the auspices of job creation, as though making us less safe will do something more than just make the rich richer.
And for all their complaints about how these regulations are hurting small businesses, keeping them from hiring new workers, it is clear who is paying for this ridiculous bill and who is behind these insipid attacks. As Platts recently reported:
Group says utilities the ones really lobbying for ‘small business’ bill
….Public Citizen Regulatory Policy Advocate Amit Narang in a Tuesday interview said utility interests see the legislation as a way to block new US Environmental Protection Agency regulations that would affect generators, especially those that burn coal.
“The reality of the lobbying contradicts the rhetoric we’re hearing from the Republicans,” Narang said. He added that despite the public statements from Congress about protecting small businesses, “I think it’s pretty clear that the electric utilities are the big winners if REINS were to pass.”
The 27 organizations that reported lobbying in support of the REINS Act in the first half of 2011 include 16 electric utilities and the Edison Electric Institute, Public Citizen said.
Utilities identified as lobbying for the proposal include Southern Company, Duke Energy, Xcel Energy, Constellation Energy, FirstEnergy, Progress Energy, DTE Energy, MidAmerican Energy, and the Ohio Municipal Electric Association, among others.
Also lobbying for the legislation was the US Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers.
….Public Citizen also said that lobbying power on the issue is “lopsided,” since the groups supporting the bill spent a total of about $52 million on all issues they lobbied for, including the REINS Act. Groups opposing REINS spent about $1.5 million in lobbying on all issues, including REINS.
And they won’t be satisfied by anything short of complete rollbacks. The REINS act is a campaign tool, not a jobs plan. It dummies up talking points about an Obama administration with its big government hands controlling every facet of our lives — nothing true, but easy to talk about, especially from a party that has no other options, no real plans, nothing substantive to say.
And it doesn’t matter that Obama has already preempted the REINS act, just this week announcing a set of regulations to be killed off:
Cass Sunstein, administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, revealed Tuesday the administration is hoping to help businesses in America save billions of dollars by wiping out or scaling back hundreds of government regulations.
“Over the next five years, the monetized savings from just a fraction of the reforms announced today are likely to exceed $10 billion,” Sunstein wrote on the White House’s blog. “Perhaps more important, today’s plans explicitly recognize that the regulatory lookback is not a one-time endeavor. Agencies will continue to revisit existing rules, asking whether they should be updated, streamlined, or repealed.
Officials at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce quickly called the “lookback” on old regulations a step in the right direction but said it did not go nearly enough given the mountain of new regulations the President created with health care and financial reform.
“The administration’s findings and determinations, on their own, are a worthy effort at making technical changes to the regulatory process, but the results of this lookback will not have a material impact on the real regulatory burdens facing businesses today,” said Bill Kovacs, the chamber’s senior vice president of environment, tech, and regulatory affairs.
The Republicans don’t care either. The leadership will keep beating the drum and Kentucky’s Congressional delegation, led by Paul and Davis, with Mitch and Hal, Ed and Brett all at their side, will continue to lie to voters, telling them it is regulations that wrecked the economy, that destroyed the job market, and that they must be eliminated so that an unregulated madness may make us all rich. They are generating a false argument that will lead, they hope, to big gains for giant corporations and, also, to more and louder and dumber claims about President Obama’s insatiable appetite for controlling every American’s daily lives.