The Unrepentant Individual

...just hanging around until Dec 21, 2012


December 3, 2005


Meeting with Congressman Price

Brad & Congressman Price
As I mentioned the other night, I went to see Rep. Tom Price at a Q&A meeting this morning. I actually got to sit down with the Congressman for about 5 minutes, and discuss some of the things on my mind. As I mentioned to Rep. Price, there’s not much that I could be upset about, as he seems to have a knack for supporting the same things I do. After thanking him for his co-sponsorship of the FairTax, and the usual pleasantries, we got down to the meat of my concerns.

I asked him first about spending. I’ve said before that I’m a big fan of tax cuts, but cutting taxes while raising spending is just insane. Price said that the biggest problem that he sees is that nobody, on either side of the aisle in Washington, seems to have the desire to cut spending. He pointed out that it has been a decades-long shift that people in Washington have ceased to believe that their job is legislating, but that it has now become bringing home federal dollars. If both the Republicans and the Democrats simply don’t care about reining in spending, it’s just not going to happen. And that’s where we find ourselves today.

He specifically mentioned accountability, in so much as he is hoping (trying?) to get the appropriations process changed so that each earmark has the name of the congressman who requests the earmark clearly demarked on the bill. He said that he often has trouble finding out who is actually requesting certain earmarks when they come out of committee. I suggested the idea that Jon Henke of QandO came up with, that each individual earmark be brought before the entire House for a vote. The Congressman (rightly) pointed out that there are thousands of earmarks, and they simply don’t have time to do this. While I would hope that this might actually reduce the total number of earmarks, I can see his point. Either way, we need some sort of transparency/accountability on the budgetary process.

He also mentioned his support for a balanced budget amendment. I asked how this would work, especially in the face of natural disasters such as Katrina. He mentioned that below a certain level of expenses in the case of war/natural disaster, offsets would be required to be made to ensure that we stay at a balanced budget. There would be an escape route in the face of certain large-scale spending needs. I think this is something that would definitely be a major step in the right direction.

Last on the spending front, we discussed the growing schism in the libertarian/Republican coalition over fiscal responsibility. Price pointed out that the recent $50B spending cuts, which he also expressed that they are paltry compared to the overall budget being that they’re over 5 years, only passed 217-215. Considering the current breakdown in the House, he mentioned that there might be some Republicans, but not all that many fiscal conservatives.

On spending, he seemed to be genuinely upset at the spree our current Congress has gone on. I think he understands that there is a backlash building, and can’t stand that his fellow Republicans are becoming Democrat-lite.

After spending, I decided to bring up the idea of Social Security reform. I wanted to know whether or not this was a done deal. He mentioned that the President was still pushing for this, but that he didn’t think the Congress would do anything until after the ‘06 elections.

At this point, I think I caught him off guard a little bit. I asked, “Do you think that the push will be for private accounts, or that they’ll go all the way and institute means-testing?” I think most conservatives prefer the idea of private accounts, but I’ve worried that it would increase the footprint of government on our stock market, and don’t like that idea very much. I’d much rather that they simply means-test the program, since you know that the system will never allow the poor elderly to go without, no matter whether they squander their private accounts or not. You might as well just give us a payroll tax break and means-test.

I think Price was a little surprised, and I think he wasn’t quite expecting that question. He mentioned that if the Republicans do well in ‘06, they might shoot for private accounts, otherwise they may do something smaller like limited means-testing. I think he sees private accounts as more politically palatable than my plan, especially with the support of the President, but at least I got the chance to explain why I prefer means-testing to private accounts.

Last, we talked a little bit about blogs. His office is thinking of working with Redstate.org, doing occasional posts there. He then caught me off-guard, asking what blogs I regularly visit. That’s a question I wasn’t expecting. I was only able to stammer out “Wizbang“. I then mentioned the LLP Community, and mentioned that he can find information on that at Eric’s Grumbles. I’ll probably send him an email to provide some of the links and such.

Overall, it was a good 5 minutes. I think I came away with it thinking as highly or more so of Rep. Price than I did before. For a first-term Congressman, he seems to have his mind exactly where it should be. I never realized when I moved to Georgia that I’d be blessed with a Congressman that I can’t rant about how incompetent he is. It’s great to be his consituent, not so great to be a blogger in his district!


Below The Beltway linked with Carnival Of The Magnolias V
Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 5:53 pm || Permalink || Comments (10) || Trackback URL || Categories: Uncategorized

10 Comments

  1. - Price pointed out that the recent $50B spending cuts, -

    Wouldn’t that be more accurately called a $50b spending _increase_ cut?

    They are still going to raise spending…just by a little less than they wanted to yesterday.

    Only in Washington could a spending increase be called a spending cut.

    - I think most conservatives prefer the idea of private accounts, but I’ve worried that it would increase the footprint of government on our stock market, and don’t like that idea very much. -

    Wow… You’re the first conservative I’ve heard who has actually expressed concern over that same issue. We Libs have been saying it all along, and every Conservative I know dismisses it, and clings to the Bush propaganda that his plan is nothing but roses and will have no bad consequences. Thank you for pointing that out.

    - For a first-term Congressman, he seems to have his mind exactly where it should be. -

    Give him time… He’ll turn into a statist troll soon enough….

    Comment by Libertarian Jason — December 3, 2005 @ 6:05 pm
  2. Wouldn’t that be more accurately called a $50b spending _increase_ cut?

    Of course. It’s barely a drop in the bucket. But the bucket was bone-dry before, and we can hope that they might actually put more drops in there. As they say, $50B here, $50B there, pretty soon you’re talking real money!

    Wow… You’re the first conservative I’ve heard who has actually expressed concern over that same issue.

    That’s because I’m not a conservative, I’m a small-l libertarian. I tend to stay away from the LP for pragmatic reasons (I’m not for the all-or-nothing approach). I brought up the Republican/Libertarian coalition because if the Republicans don’t stop spending, I’ll stop voting for them. But I’m all for the government getting out of our lives to the greatest extent possible. And you do that by letting people invest their own money, not by creating a whole new bureaucracy to manage their investments for them.

    Give him time… He’ll turn into a statist troll soon enough…

    Just like Ron Paul, right?

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — December 4, 2005 @ 11:17 am
  3. Well done, Brad. Thanks for you hard work.

    Comment by Matt Duffy — December 4, 2005 @ 9:20 pm
  4. So that’s two, but we still have 433 to rant about!

    Comment by Quincy — December 5, 2005 @ 9:51 am
  5. Yeah, Quincy… You live in Marin, right? You get crazy left-wing liberals to rant about on the local, state, and even the national level. You’re pretty much the luckiest blogger alive!

    Of course, you get high taxes, a crumbling state infrastructure, an insane cost-of-living, and all the other things that led to my exodus from Cali, but at least you have good things to write about!

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — December 5, 2005 @ 9:54 am
  6. conservatives, liberals, libertarians… let me put together a political compass graph for you and your readers sometime.

    -Sam

    Comment by Sam — December 5, 2005 @ 11:26 am
  7. Brad,

    I have a simple solution for Rep. Price: stop complaining about excessive spending and start voting ‘NO’ on outragous spending bills, like the highway and energy bills.

    Rep. Price and Congress have been increasing spending by 7.5% per year. The country is $8 trillion in debt and 99% has been borrowed from countries like China and Saudia Arbia over the past two years.

    Alan Greenspan warned last Friday that our budget and trade deficites are unsustainable. Rep. Price should be held accounatble for voting ‘for’ these pork bills.

    For real solutions and personal accountability, please visit http://www.ControlCongress.com thanks, jk

    Comment by John Konop — December 8, 2005 @ 5:45 pm
  8. One thing conspicuously missing from your campaign site there, John– “FairTax”.

    I’ll vote for a Democrat who supports the FairTax over a Republican who doesn’t.

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — December 8, 2005 @ 6:04 pm
  9. Brad,

    I do support the fair tax. Neal even aggreed with me that no tax system will fix out of control spending !!!!!!!!!!! Thanks jk

    Comment by John Konop — December 8, 2005 @ 7:22 pm
  10. Carnival Of The Magnolias V

    Good morning and welcome to the fifth Carnival of the Magnolias, the carnival of the Southern Blog Federation, a group of bloggers residing in the Southern U.S. The purpose of the carnival is pretty simple:

    Trackback by Below The Beltway — December 20, 2005 @ 7:08 am

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