Posted by: Randy Allgaier | December 14, 2008

The Southern Senators Union Busting Lies Busted Open


Senator Shelby, and the other southern senators who refuse to vote for auto bailout money, have big non-union foreign car factories in their states. The southern senators are backing foreign carmakers that have non-union factories in their states. They are willing to risk the safety of the whole country in order to bring down the UAW, and realize who-knows-what other benefits from those companies. There are 17 more non-union foreign car factories in the planning stage to be built in southern states.

It’s hard to believe that lawmakers, who are pledged to do their best for their constituents and the nation, would actually let the American car manufacturers go out of business. And it looks as if they are doing it not only to bring down the car union but also to line their own pockets. Their positions indicate they don’t appreciate, or don’t care about, the danger to the country as a whole.

“I cannot think of a more exciting day, even more so than Election Night, for me,” Bob Corker, the Republican senator from Tennessee , said in a conference call that day. The reason for his elation was the announcement that Volkswagen, lured by up to $500 million worth of incentives from the state government, had agreed to build a $1 billion plant near Chattanooga, Tenn. That is, not just in his home state, but in the suburbs of the city he once served as mayor.

Add VW to Nissan, which already has two plants and its North American headquarters in Tennessee, and you begin to see why Corker was so aggressive this month about trying to block — or at least dramatically rewrite — a proposal to float billions of dollars in emergency loans to domestic automakers. Most of the focus during this debate has been on lawmakers who represent Michigan, the home of the Big Three — Ford, General Motors and Chrysler. But Corker represents the other side of the coin: Tennessee and other Southern states have recently come to depend on foreign automakers and their non-union factories. If you’re from those parts, what’s good for American car companies may no longer be what’s good for the country — because your economy now depends on their foreign competitors instead.

A summary released by Good Jobs First of state and local subsidies given to foreign-owned auto assembly plants totaled $3.6 billion. “As elected officials debate aid for the Big 3, taxpayers have the right to know the full extent of government involvement in America’s auto industry,” said Greg LeRoy, GJF’s executive director. “And while proposed federal aid to the Big 3 would take the form of a loan, the vast majority of subsidies to foreign auto plants were taxpayer gifts such as property and sales tax exemptions, income tax credits, infrastructure aid, land discounts, and training grants,” he said.   Here’s the summary-

Honda, Marysville OH, 1980, $27 million*
Nissan, Smyrna, TN, 1980, $233 million**
Toyota, Georgetown, KY, 1985, $147 million
Honda, Anna, OH, 1985, $27 million*
Subaru, Lafayette, IN, 1986, $94 million
Honda, East Liberty, OH, 1987, $27 million*
BMW, Spartanburg, SC, 1992, $150 million
Mercedes-Benz, Vance, AL, 1993, $258 million
Toyota, Princeton, IN, 1995, $30 million
Nissan, Decherd, TN, 1995, $200 million**
Toyota, Buffalo, WV, 1996, more than $15 million
Honda, Lincoln, AL, 1999, $248 million
Nissan, Canton, MS, 2000, $295 million
Toyota, Huntsville, AL, 2001, $30 million
Hyundai, Montgomery, AL, 2002, $252 million
Toyota, San Antonio, TX, 2003, $133 million
Kia, West Point, GA, 2006, $400 million
Honda, Greensburg, IN, 2006, $141 million
Toyota, Blue Springs, MS, 2007, $300 million
Volkswagen, Chattanooga, TN, 2008, $577 million
Total: more than $3.58 billion

* total of direct subsidies to all Honda facilities in Ohio
** includes about $200 million for expansions of Smyrna and Decherd plants
List does not include joint ventures with U.S. companies
These data, drawn primarily from contemporary media accounts, are very conservative. They do not account for inflation; some would be worth far more in today’s dollars. They do not include any estimate of subsidies granted to hundreds of foreign-owned auto supply companies that have located in the same areas, virtually all of which were also heavily subsidized. Finally, they do not reflect later news accounts, which often place higher subsidy values.
Good Jobs First is a non-profit, non-partisan research center promoting best practices in economic development and smart growth, based in Washington, DC, with offices in New York and Chicago.
SOURCE Good Jobs First
Copyright (C) 2008 PR Newswire. All rights reserved

The fiercest opposition to the loan proposal — and nearly a third of the 35 votes against ending debate on the deal — came from Southern Republicans, and the ringleaders of the opposition all come from states with a major foreign auto presence. Not coincidentally, nearly all of those states — except Kentucky — are also “right-to-work” states, which means no union contracts for most of the employees at the foreign plants. The Detroit bailout fell victim to a nasty confluence of home-state economic interests and anti-union sentiment among Republicans.

So the Southern Republicans had a chance to go to bat for foreign automakers while simultaneously busting a union. At a hearing last week, Corker explained that his constituents “have a tough time thinking about us loaning money to companies that are paying way, way above industry standard to workers- which may explain why his proposed alternative to the loan agreement between Congress and the White House would have required the United Auto Workers to agree to significant wage cuts next year, based on a spurious claim that union workers earn significantly more than non-union.

1210-biz-webleonhardt1

Even George W. Bush’s White House didn’t push to crush the UAW the way Corker and his buddies did, say Democrats involved in the negotiations with the administration. “It was all about the unions,” one senior Democratic aide said. “This is political payback for lots of things, and probably even more to come.” Labor officials expect Republicans to keep taking shots at unions whenever they can. “This cynical stance they took last night — they’re willing to jeopardize 3 million jobs so they could gain some advantage in their war against unions — is appalling,” said Bill Samuel, the chief lobbyist for the AFL-CIO.

 

As the Republican Party consolidates in the South, the fight this week could turn out to be a preview of many battles to come over Barack Obama’s economic plans. If those plans involve the domestic auto industry, the GOP pushback will come from somewhere down I-65, the new auto corridor that runs from Kentucky south to Alabama. Expect to hear more not just from the very vocal Bob Corker, but from the rest of a core group of Southern senators whose bread is buttered by the Japanese, Germans and Koreans. Here’s a guide to the major players.

 

Treasury Secretary Paulson and President Bush may be the only hope left to ward off disaster. The economy of the country is teetering on the edge of disaster unless American carmakers are saved. Bush has been wrong many times during his administration. Let’s hope he gets this one right and decides to allow the diversion of some TARP money. That is the $700 billion already advanced to save the failing financial businesses. We are told that at least $15 billion has to be advanced to the Big Three to keep them in business until Barack Obama’s new administration can take further action to keep the American automotive industry alive.


Responses

  1. While that is an interesting take on it, I belong to a union family and we did not support the Auto Bailout.
    I agree 100% that it is less about what is right for the country and what is right for the buraucrats pockets, but that is a two way street. If you think about it, the boys in the south were doing their job, they voted the way that their state would have wanted them to… that is representation.

    My personal oppinion is that we should let the free market take hold of this. I wasn’t up for any of the bailouts. They are a bunch of crap that my great grandchildren will be paying for. If the company isn’t viable, they should restructure or be baught out. It happened to the Steel Companies, and those people survived. America was based on a free market system, with government intervention we have strayed from that, we need to return. My tax dollars shouldn’t be paying for any of this crap! Let the Big 3 fall if they must. I feel bad for the workers, but they will be fine… the free market always washes it out.

  2. I appreciate your point of view and the thoughtfulness of your reply- but are you really ready for the fallout that will occur if there isn’t a bailout? The result, most economists worth their salt believe, will be devestating.

    Don’t we learn a bit from history? If the government had done during the end of the Hoover administration what it has done to prop up the financial industry and ideallythe manufacturing sector we might have been able to avoid the Great Depression.

    I’m not willing to take that risk and personally I think it if we don’t do something it would be wildly reckless. This is a different time than when the airline industry and the steel industry had problems and filed Chapter 11 and restructured- the credit markets are pretty much frozen and even a business in good shape can’t get credit. It wouldn’t be a long time between Chapter 11 and Chapter 7 and a cascading ripple effect throughout the country.

    I too am frustrated by people being rewarded for greed and poor management. But quite frankly we are over a barrel. If we let them get their comeuppance- which would be very satisfying- we could be risking the nation.

  3. Well said revolution2010.

    Our Constitution is more important than any union.

    Let the court system deal with it as that is the correct course laid out by law.

    Nothing stopping the Northern states from doing what the Southern states have done.

    What is it called competition ?

  4. By the way no one as of yet has elected Obama president.

    Down South we have a saying about not counting your chickens before they hatch.

  5. Randy
    History is a funny thing to mention… there are probably 8 million examples that we could site on either side of the argument. If you want to look at history, why not look at the power that the big three hold? How many good ideas have gone by the wayside because the big 3 forced them out? Tucker is a great example of that and there are countless others.
    There must come a point when the government no longer gets to decide who wins and who loses, who succeeds and who fails. Aagain, I am sad for the workers, but I think the principles of the American way could be at stake here, and this is just one step in the right direction of back to the free market. In every poll I have seen, the American people are in a majority asking to avoid any more Bailouts. Why should the people REPRESENTING them do anything other than support that opinion?
    This is the 3rd time that Chrysler has gone back to the government for another band-aid. There is no more to patch, they restructure or they go away and hopefully, some good honest hardworking American gets to take their market share. Hurrah for the free market. Bailouts, tax breaks, pork, earmarks… they are all unamerican. Put everyone on a level playing field and see how it washes out.

  6. Can you spell Socialism?

    Yes, there needs to be some money put in the pot.

    Private Money.

    Not Government Money.

    Government Control of Industry is Socialism.

    That is the Purest Form of Socialism.

    Why did we Fight against Communism for so many years to go Socialistic all of the sudden?

    Socialists mainly share the belief that capitalism unfairly concentrates power and wealth among a small segment of society that controls capital, corporate welfare systems, and executive/ceo based unions rooted in hierarchical socio-economic, gender, and age classes which create an unequal society and does not provide equal opportunities for everyone in society to attain such status.

    (WHAT HAS OBAMA ADVOCATED ALL ALONG? SHARING THE WEALTH!!!!) SOCIALISM.

    What have the Democratic Controled Houses Done? Put Government Controls on Business and Government Money in the Hands of Business. Neither to my liking. Plus limited if ANY checks and balances for the use of this money….

    Therefore socialists advocate the creation of an egalitarian society, in which wealth and power are distributed more evenly, although there is considerable disagreement among socialists over how, and to what extent this could be achieved.[1]

    Socialism is not a discrete philosophy of fixed doctrine and program; its branches advocate a degree of social interventionism and economic rationalization, sometimes opposing each other. Another dividing feature of the socialist movement is the split on how a socialist economy should be established between the reformists and the revolutionaries. Some socialists advocate complete nationalization of the means of production, distribution, and exchange; while others advocate state control of capital within the framework of a market economy. Social democrats propose selective nationalization of key national industries in mixed economies combined with tax-funded welfare programs and the regulation of common markets through democratic economic regulation established by purchasers and clientele; Libertarian socialism (which includes Socialist Anarchism and Libertarian Marxism) rejects state control and ownership of the economy altogether and advocates direct collective ownership of the means of production via co-operative workers’ councils and workplace democracy.

    That is a DIRECT Quote from WikiPedia. Look it up.

    This is smashing Competition.

    Look if we had our fannys wooped by those that we just defeated in open warfare not so many years back, then it is our own fault. We should look in the mirror at how it was done and why it happened?

    The Unions and thier Outrageous Wages and Benefits has been a primary factor in the downfall of the US Automakers.

  7. linecreek305 – I assume you mean that the Electoral College hasn’t met yet. Well that will be taken care of on Monday.

    I find it interesting that some on the right wing fringe cannot accept a win of more than 10,000,000 votes, 7.2% and 192 electoral votes in 2008 but these same people thought that George W. Bush had a mandate in 2000 when he lost the popular vote.

    Well- those of you in the South can continue to marginalize yourself from the rest of the country. It seems the Republican Party has turned into mostly a regional party.

  8. I guess all of you are willing to “free market” us into a national disaster. I believe in the free market too but if there are actions that can be taken to avoid a financial calamity- I think we need to do what we need to do.

    In all due respect to the poster throwing around the word socialist and tying that to the President-elect I would ask if Obama economic advisors Google CEO Eric Schmidt or Warren Buffet are socialists?

    You may be willing to play Russian Roulette. I’m not.

    I might recommend reading Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman’s book “The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008” it might be a better source of information than Wikipedia.

  9. Randy,
    Are you sure you really understand what is happening with these bailouts? With the financials and AIG, the Govewrnment came out holding a controling interest in these companies, effectively nationalizing them. The auto industry bailout was more of the same. The Government was going to come out of it with 20% ownership and an agreement that if the auto makers didn’t play ball according to the democrats rules that the Government would take full control. Again, nationalization.
    Where do we draw the line? Maybe with the Government owning every business in Amerca? That is where we are headed if we don’t stop now.
    The fact is that in the long run we are better if the auto makers, and the financials, are forced to file for a chapter 11, restructuring. The worst case scenario is that they would go out of business, giving indivduals and upstart companies a chance to fill the void. That is the nature of capitalism, someone always fills the void.
    The UAW may have to take a loss, but it is better than all of us being totally controlled by the Government

  10. Randy
    Here would be the question… where does it stop? Who do we say no to? The Congress felt the need to spend $72 Billion of our tax dollars on the pet pork projects, The Mayor’s convention just put together a rediculous 800 page book comprised of $72 Billion they are asking for to do things like “make their golf courses more environmentally friendly”, etc. Where does this stop, what is the difference between them helping or not helping the Big 3 and not helping the 3 personal friends that I have who have lost businesses this year because of the economy? Why should these multi-billion dollar companies get help and the little guys shouldn’t? Because of the sheer numbers they employ? Who do we trust to play God in that situation?

  11. Believe me- I understand the frustration. I’m a tax payer too and I have no interest in saving the hides of folks who created this mess- the auto execs and the Wall Street monsters who dreamt up morgage backed securities and byzantine derivatives which caused this whole mess. It pisses me off.

    But I truly believe that in order to get our nation back on a sound footing, we need to 1) infuse alot of cash into the economy and, as Warren Buffet has said, the only entity able to do that is the federal government and 2) ensure that there isn’t a cascade of business failures and surging unemployment.

    Don’t forget that the auto companies in the South are getting tax breaks and subsidies that amout to billions. Is that fair?

    I read a piece today about the supplier of parts to the auto industry -both the big 3 and the foreign companies here- and if the big 3 go down they won’t be able to produce what is necessary for the other auto makers.

    It isn’t a simple situation and there isn’t a simple answer. Too often, I believe, we rely on black and white approaches to very nuanced policy issues.

    Since we have all been having this conversation late on Saturday night 12/13- I suggest that we all watch “Meet The Press” tomorrow where two key political players — Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D-MI) and Fmr. Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) — and three top business voices — Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, Wal-Mart President & CEO Lee Scott, and Google CEO Eric Schmidt will discuss this very issue. We all might learn something from the exchange.

  12. http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution.html

    Check it out John McCain or Obama are not qualified to hold the office of POTUS. We will see what we see. If he is and is checked out fine he should be the next POTUS. I think there will come a time when someone will call his hand. He is all in but holds a losing hand.

    Now me at the Fed level I like those boys to do just what the good old U.S. Constitution tells them they can do.

    Both of My kids are in the Auto Related field one has a Master’s the other is in sells and the Auto bail out would help them greatly.

    Both say it is un-American. I raised them to understand what our Country was founded on. As I understand it GM is in better financial condition that the U.S. Government.

    All you are doing is hollering the sky is falling and I am for sure saying let it fall.

  13. “I appreciate your point of view and the thoughtfulness of your reply- but are you really ready for the fallout that will occur if there isn’t a bailout? ”

    A better ? might be for you to ask yourself that ? don’t you think?

    Mine and ours is yes we are ready.

    As revolution2010 said it is about our grandkids and not about us. I finding it interesting that you don’t include AK with us folks down in Dixie land. Heck I am like Sarah I van feed my family and take care of them with or with out a bailout, Obama or the Government.

    GM will not put me or mine over a barrel but the Fed. Government and none thinkers can do it to a lot of other none thinkers. It will be messy but better now than later.

    BTW those tax breaks are at the State level with voter approval. I am not a GW Bush fanr or a Obama or McCain fan. Some none thinkers have this ability to put all their eggs in one basket. So to speak 🙂

  14. Randy,

    You seem like a nice person. I think you have a true concern for your fellow man. I also figure you have never read all that is in our Constitution. Most people have not so that is not a slap at you just my understanding that it is dry and boring.

    I also think you have a little anger with the South but I don’t know why. We lost the war that should have never been fought but it is what it is. If anyone should have anger it should be the South as we lost it. Being a son of the South and proud to be so I have educated myself on this issue and it is what it is. I have no guilt or anger. Matter of fact there are more Damn Yankees that ever down here and they likely vote more often than a native son. A damn Yankee is one that moves to the South and will not go back North in the Summer time.

    Any way I will give you what you will not hear on Meet the Press this fine Sunday morning. I would hope you look at source records and decide on your own. Buffet and company will be just fine but I would not trade my life and family for theirs. I am sure they would not want mine either. All I am saying is different strokes for different folks they are no better at getting what they want than I am at getting what I want. Might not be as good because I am coming to the end of my life and feel real good about it. ( I am not a bible nut ) Feel free do to with it what you will I have no interest in it.

    Now I will not try and give you case law and history but should you wish to educate your self and others this would be a good start.

    Article II, Section 1 specifically states:
    “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.”

    As regarding the issues surrounding Senator Obama’s birth certificate, and if it may please this Honorable Court, I would point out that Senator Obama has not been presented with a genuine legal request from a party with proper standing to command him in any way, and therefore he has no legal responsibility to submit or to bend his integrity. And for that, he certainly deserves respect.

    Appellant believes that if Senator Obama is presented with a legal request from a government authority sanctioned to make such request, that Senator Obama will respond accordingly and put this issue behind him forever.

    That being said, petitioner regretfully submits that since candidate Obama was born to a Kenyan father, he also is not eligible to the office of President since he is not a “natural born citizen” by the Constitution.

    As to John McCain: Senator John McCain is an American patriot who has valiantly suffered more for this country than most of us ever will. He has shown bravery beyond that which the country has any right to ask, and it is with very deep and sincere regret that I respectfully request that this Honorable Court order the Secretaries of the several States to remove John McCain’s name from the ballots.
    ====
    Not to quick now … just think about this as far as what it means should either gain the POTUS. Now I have read what you have written and I know for a fact that you are a very short sighted type person. So try and take a long view. The SCOTUS will meet Monday also on this issue. Yes I know one case was denied.. as it should have been. This one also might be denied. I can’t or no one can say what the SCOTUS will do. I can say other many others are in the pipe line as well as my own senator and congressman have assured me the will make sure should all other options fail.

    I could write on and on but I hope you will see this little light that Obama and or McCain will have to prove they meet what the big C says sooner or later or they then become a bigger fake than GW Bush and this Congress is.

    More baskets out there to look in if you care to turn off Meet the Press and look for other views. You and I both know what they will say. Rather than trying to make yourself feel good in your own believes by watching Meet The Press or other main stream media try looking for the actual source and read them. The internet is a great thing and I found your site because I wanted another view of things.

    Sorry to say there is nothing here that can add to a debate. I will not be returning not because I dislike you but there is no information that will help me educate myself on your site and I have given you enough food for thought that you will do it or not. I hope you will but figure this will just make you madder at us folks in the South because you have let others tell you we have done something to you and now we will not do anything to help you folks out. In fact I just did.

    Good Night.

    We appreciate your reply, be well and prosper.
    texo(at)dixhistory.com
    http://www.dixhistory.com

  15. I find your “reading” of the Constitution a bit odd and thus far there isn’t a court in the nation that has interpreted the “natural born” nonsense the way you and the right wing fringe are interpreting it. I would have written a blog piece about this if it wasn’t so laughably absurd.

    About the South- I have no problem with the South. my partner is a proud son of Tennessee and his family has been there since the 1700’s (however during the Civil War most of his ancestors enlisted in Missouri regiments to fight on behalf of the Union). But there seems to be a group of Southerners- mostly, if not exclusively white, are hanging on to the past. Sorry to tell you – the nation is moving forward and soon the minorities in the nation will be the majority. It’s time to accept that. As Mayor Cory Booker of Newark NJ said on election night – we need to luxuriate in the deliciousness of our diversity.

    Now- if we could get back to discussing the economy rather than a right wing consipiracy theory that has been thrown out of every court in the land, I’d greatly appreciate it.

  16. Shelby and Sessions also voted against the bailout. Mike Rogers (State Representative, R-Saks) spoke to our Rotary group and he said that after hearing all the evidence, he voted to support the bailout DESPITE receiving thousands of calls and emails from constituents to not vote YES. He took the unpopular route, but he took the route he felt was the best one AFTER hearing all the facts. Shelby may just be pandering to public opinion – and of course, public ALABAMA opinion would be to protect the car company plants here in this state.

  17. Linecreek305 and DCBarton
    I think we are probably closer to the same page. All of these issues for me boil down to the fact that the Constitution is being shredded. The Cesspool of Bureaucrats in Washington have gotten totally out of line with their personal pocket-stuffing agendas and have almost no concern for what they are doing to our Nation. I started a Blog not long agao and would love to have your input on some of the posts.
    http://revolution2010.wordpress.com
    Randy,
    I think the fight about the South isn’t as much about the North as it is about what is right. I lived in GA for a few years and while the people as a whole are not as formally educated as the North, they have a sense about them that in some ways surpasses any learning you can find in some of our best institutions. The one thing I learned is that they know how to take care of their own and while some find it odd, they still have an honor code down there, something the North has been remiss in providing for their youth.
    The things that the South are hanging onto include honor and dignity. There is some bigotry, but it is much mor prevelant in the older generations and for the younger ones, it is washing out.
    While some say it is a conspiracy theory, I don’t care if he is black or white or green for that matter, as long as the Constitution is followed. I do not understand why people are up in arms about the queery into citizenship. If everything is on the up and up, who cares? Shouldn’t the soon to be President want to protect the Constitution and Bill of Rights more than anyone? I say let them bring their questions, and let them be answered. The concern should be that we are not dismantleing the Constitution. I think he may be a citizen, but I think we owe it to ourselves as a nation to make sure we aren’t ruining our own herritage.
    I like Meet the press, but I also agree that we need to do some research on our own. I went and read the Auto Bailout Bill. It is a bad piece of legislation. There are two unassuming sections in it. 18 and 19. Between the two, the bill would also give a raise to Judges and justices (why did they put that in THIS Bill?) and the other is a secondary bailout for the Rail and Bus transit companies. Not long ago they made some shady deals trying to create their own tax breaks. They sold a bunch of “Real Property” to lending institutions so they could get capitol for other investments. The lending institutions then leased them back at a discounted rate but were counting on the tax breaks from the depreciation. When the credit crisis hit, it all went south. Section 18 allows the lending institutions that made these shady deals trying to swindle the government to recoup their money FROM THE GOVERNMENT! So let me get it straight, you want to make shady deals so you don’t have to pay taxes and when it goes bad you want us to bail you out? Thanks but no thanks… let the free market take over and get rid of the tax breaks. Put everyone on a level playing field and we will see what happens!

  18. Revolution 2010,

    I don’t have a fight with the South- I am just analyzing the votes from this past election. Look at the map at:

    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2008/11/05/us/politics/20081104_ELECTION_RECAP.html

    You will see that the rural Appalachian area and a corrdior to Texas is really the only part of the country that voted more Republican this election. Trend analysis. This is what we do in public policy – a field I have worked in for 13 years. It seems clear that the Republican party is becoming a regional party- those are the facts, not my opinion. I do have opinions why that is the case- and I expressed my opinion in my response to our friend from the South that was commenting.

    I know that having gone to Cornell and Harvard makes me the quintessential “Liberal elite”, but my economic status has me in the low end of the middle class. I have made decisions in my life that were informed more about my sense of what is important than my sense of what I could do to make money. So I think I have both an educational background and a real life background that gives me some ability to write about these issues thoughtfully.

    I admit I have subscriptions to publications such as “The New Yorker”, “The New Republic”, “The Nation”, and “The New York Times” and I tend to watch MSNBC and occasionally CNN.

    Occasionally I will watch Fox and I do read the “Wall Street Journal” and “The National Review”. The only reason I don’t subsribe to them is that I have no interest in financially supporting them.

    I think its important to read all sides of an argument. You will notice that my blog pieces are pretty well researched and while I admit bias, I do also look for facts and I do attempt to challenge myself on these issues. This is one reason why I respond to reasonable responses on this site and why I have friends who disagree with me on many of these issues.

    There were procedural issues that were part of the reason given to add the salary raises to those in the judiciary. Quite frankly, I would have been with Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) who railed against this provision. I don’t like it either.

    But I have been involved with the intricacies of the legislative process- and to assume any bill will be just about the one issue – is naive. And often this doesn’t have to do with pork- but rather with acting as a “legislative consent calendar”.

    I think I am more a pragmatist than an idealogue – and that could be part of what separates me from both many conservatives as well as liberals.


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