Friday, January 9, 2009

Elections Have Consequences

The 111th Congress is going back to the future!

Here's what in store for us now that the Democrats are running things:

The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act is an effort to overturn a 2007 Supreme Court decision, Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber. There would no longer be time limits on discrimination claims. They could be brought long after evidence had disappeared or witnesses had died -- as was the case with Ms. Ledbetter's former boss.

For the tort bar, this is pure gold. It would create a new legal business in digging up ancient workplace grievances. This would also be made easier by the bill's new definition of discrimination. Companies could be sued not merely for outright discrimination but for unintentional acts that result in pay disparities.

As payback for Union support, there's card check, an AFL-CIO priority that would let unions organize a work site if a bare majority sign cards in support. Workers would no longer be able to show what they really think in an organizing election with secret ballots and without peer or union pressure.

Then there's the changes pushed through on Tuesday by the Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats that will have significant consequences for fiscal conservatives of both parties.

Gone are term limits for committee chairmen, seniority (senility?) trumps merit. Cost containment measures on Medicare, one of the fastest growing entitlement programs, have been suspended for this Congress - what's a bit more added to the deficit when we're now talking $Trillions in deficit.

Tax increases now will be easier to pass, because opponents will not be allowed to offer a simple motion to strike any increase without making up for the "lost revenue." In addition, tax cuts are made more difficult, because they cannot be offset with spending cuts. The new rules mean that the only way to push for a tax cut will be to propose a tax increase elsewhere.

Democrats removed the "motion to recommit" -- a procedural safeguard first given to the minority a century ago after a rebellion against tyrannical GOP Speaker Joe Cannon. It has been used by both parties to offer motions to "recommit" or send back bills on the floor to the relevant committees.

Republicans used the tactic 50 times in the last Congress, primarily to block tax increases buried in larger bills. Not anymore.....

Mrs. Pelosi complained in 2004 that "When we [Democrats] are shut out, they are shutting out the great diversity of America." We want a higher standard." In 2006, just before becoming speaker, Mrs. Pelosi reiterated her plans to promote "bipartisanship" and "to ensure the rights of the minority." That was then. This is now.

"All those nice pro-life, gun-owning young Democrats recruited to run by Rahm Emanuel will never have any real influence now," says Grover Norquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform. "They were useful in getting Democrats a majority but now they'll be in the back of the bus."

Usually you call these type of tactics "Bait and Switch" Let's see if the 4th Estate - the Press, points these issues out. Let's hope that you - the voters, remember this come the next election.


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