Farming It Out

Today’s Message: @LawmakerXYZ Please strip the #BigTobacco bailout from the highway bill. HR4134 is a tax increasing job killer. http://bit.ly/NewTax

I love farms. I was raised on a farm. It wasn’t my family’s farm, but we had all the fun of tending to the livestock and weeding fields. We worked on the farm because the owner was an elderly man who had two grown daughters who went off to college, so he needed my family’s help. We weren’t decision makers, we were just kind of hired hands helping out with labor when the farmer needed it. We were fortunate because we enjoyed the farm, without having to bear the major responsibilities. The farmer easily could have “farmed out” his land to other farmers or even a big company.

These days, “farm it out” is a lot closer in meaning to “outsourcing.” If you have work to be done and there’s someone else who can do it cheaper, you outsource. For instance, human labor in China is a lot cheaper  than it is in the United States. That’s why everything you pick up and turn over has a “Made in China” stamp on it. To me, that’s not really an encouraging trend. I’d rather we still had more manufacturing here in the USA, but because the big companies figured out they can make more profit by shipping work overseas, they “farm it out.”

Congress is kind of the same. Thankfully, they haven’t farmed out work to the Chinese (yet), but the elected members DO farm out a lot of work to their staff. Answering phones, answering letters and emails from constituents, talking with lobbyists… you name it, and a Congressman has a staff member who will do it. That’s understandable. You want your elected lawmaker to be engaged where there are truly tough decisions to be made. You want her at the table when they’re hammering out tax rate questions, examining the principles behind initiating more or fewer regulations, and trying to foresee any unintended consequences. You and me, we want our elected officials thoroughly ENGAGED when our livelihoods are under attack by special interests like Big Tobacco, right?

Unfortunately, some members of Congress are too comfortable with “farming out” their work, even when we’re down to the brass tacks.

At a blog called “DC Streets”, is the account of SEVEN members of Congress showing up at meetings where the “final” version of the 2012 highway bill is being worked out. WHAT? Actual MEMBERS OF CONGRESS showing up at meetings where legislation is being WRITTEN and AGREED UPON?!! Crazy, right? Well I guess it’s news because so often these days, members of Congress “farm out” work they’re supposed to be doing. There are FORTY SEVEN members of Congress on the highway bill conference committee, and only SEVEN are showing up to the meetings where differences are being debated. That doesn’t seem right, does it? The funny thing is the blogger writing the piece characterized the seven lawmakers as an “obstacle” to reaching agreement. Wow.

When I go to my local community meeting to hear Candidate X and Candidate Y tell me why they’re the best person to represent me in Congress, they didn’t tell me they’d let their staff make the important decisions, did they?

OUR MISSION: In the coming day or so, I will post a video news story displaying reaction to Congress’s most recent efforts. Let’s promote that video high and low and show members of Congress WE ARE REAL PEOPLE, with real JOBS depending on their doing the right thing. We must STOP the Big Tobacco bailout in the highway bill; we must STOP H.R.4134 – the bill that reclassifies mom & pop smoke shops as “manufacturing facilities”, and we must STOP this ongoing attack on small business enterprises! Between Sen. Durbin’s tax increase, Rep. Black’s tax and regulation increase, Sen. Baucus’s middle of the night antics, and Big Tobacco spending MILLIONS on 60 lobbyists in less than a month, we are under ASSAULT! But we can win. Keep the pressure on. Let’s get to it. We’re still hitting ALL our members of Congress because the more pressure they feel, the less likely they’ll move their scum legislation forward. See you online.

-GR

 

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