Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Congress giveth, congress taketh away

Letter writers to local newspapers have been congratulating Pat Tiberi, our congressman, on his willingness to intervene on their behalf. What the letter writers forget is that the power to intervene is really the power to use the hammer of government in order to force individuals and firms to act other than they would have normally choosen; to act outside of already signed contractual agreements. That usage of power is anathema to the principals of Liberty that founded this country.

I'm not talking about contract or civil laws being broken, I referring to a congressman using government to lean on individuals and companies that have broken no law. Simply because someone was unsatisfied with the results of a contract that they signed under no duress, they chose to get the local power broker to have the contract amended - if the offending individuals and firms know what's best for them, they agree to the change. The ability to exert such pressure must be quite an aphrodisiac for power seekers such as Tiberi.

The ability to influence, to put the pressure on someone, cuts both ways. This time it benefits you, the next time it hurts you. When a congressman implicitly uses the power of government to change contracts and events, he has moved from realm of the citizen-statesmen to that of the political dons who control Third World politics. He's the Soviet apparatchik trading his ability to threaten for a bottle of vodka, or a front page story and letter to the editor. Why use the court system when your congressman can get the job done, extra-contractual and extra-constitutional.

While serving on the Olentangy Board of Education, I had a gentleman who first sought the influence of his congressman when the district didn't put a school bus stop near his home. The sad fact is that this gentleman went to Tiberi because each congressional office has a constituent services employee whose job is to get individuals and firms act under the threat of big G. You can be assured that we are talking implicit threats - threats of investigation, loss of influence, federal contracts, etc., since anything else would be dirty pool.

If you keep the likes of Tiberi in congress, you simply keep increasing the extent of federal power. And this comes from a Republican Central Committee member.

Of course, his opponent is no better. But at least Shamansky will be a once-again freshman in congress and have little ability to influence anything these next two years. Then, throw him out and chose someone else. The faster the political turnstile rotates, the less evil that can be done in DC.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This sounds like you are saying term limits would be a good thing. Why have they failed to gain traction as a solution to the problem of entrenched elected power?