Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Your words, my thoughts...

Quoted without addition from the comment below:
I wish I had confidence that means testing would take off. The stimulus package notwithstanding, the current refusal of Congress to agree to Administration's proposal to limit farm program payments to people with an adjusted gross income of less the $200K (the wealthiest 2.5% of Americans) leads me to believe that the inherent weakness of a democracy is that Senators and Representatives get re-elected by giving their constituents money that other people worked hard for, and they really don't care about the equity or fairness of that income transfer. This is illustrated by the price USDA had to pay Vermont this week to get Secretary Schafer confirmed (story here) In other contexts this is called extortion.
Salient paragraph from the article linked above:
Leahy has been pressing USDA behind the scenes to fix the rules, but officials dragged their feet. Last week he used his leverage on the Senate Agriculture Committee to press the issue. Leahy is the most senior member of the Agriculture Committee of either party and is also the panel’s former chairman. First he queried the nominee to be the next Secretary of Agriculture – former North Dakota Governor Ed Schafer – about the issue, during the Agriculture Committee’s consideration of Schafer’s nomination. When Schafer’s first answer fell short, Leahy signaled that he would not agree to Schafer’s speedy confirmation until the agency agreed to solve the problem.

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