We received a questionnaire in the mail from our liberal Congresscritter, so here are the responses we returned. My wife filled out the questionnaire and sent it off, so her comments are in blue. My additional comments are in purple, but they didn’t make it onto the questionnaire, only here.

1. Do you support expanding free trade policies like NAFTA, WTO and CAFTA?
(yes) (no)

Yes. I am not a trade protectionist.

While I’m not 100% satisfied with free trade agreements like NAFTA and CAFTA, it is a step in the right direction. A real free trade agreement doesn’t need pages and pages of treaty. The back of a postcard should be sufficient if the trade is truly free from government limitations.

2. Do you support using taxpayer funded vouchers to pay for education at private schools?
(yes) (no)

Yes. If I pay taxes for education, I should be able to choose where I may spend them.

I find it interesting that liberals are champions of “choice” when it comes to allowing a 14-year-old girl to have an abortion without her parents’ knowledge or consent, but they flee from the idea of people using their own tax money to choose how their children will be educated.

3. Do you think it is more important to ensure that promised Social Security benefits are guaranteed before allowing the creation of private accounts?
(yes) (no)

No. I don’t think Congress will ever be able to “guarantee” Social Security benefits. I’d even be willing to kiss goodbye forever all the Social Security taxes I’ve paid to date if I could be assured a private account for retirement which I controlled.

Congress could ensure that the promised Social Security benefits are available if Congress would stop spending the surplus that this tax is generating. As it is, Congress gleefully appropriates the money for the general fund and puts treasury bonds (read: IOUs) in its place. Congress could allow this surplus to generate additional funds for future Social Security needs, but they are instead taking the money and promising to pay it back, plus interest, when it comes due. This is a false choice — the one is not dependent upon the other. And our Congressman should be smart enough to know that.

4. Do you support a woman’s right to make her own reproductive health care decisions?
(yes) (no)

No. Unfortunately, the phrase “right to make her own reproductive health care decisions” usually means “the right to kill the infant growing inside her, for any or no reason.” I am fully in favor of a woman’s right to use pre-conception birth control, to choose an OB/GYN, and other issues, but I am not in favor of redefining murder as a “right” merely because the life in question is inconvenient and unborn.

I realize that I haven’t written out my thoughts on abortion, an omission I should fix in the future. The Left is defining “choice” to mean abortion and abortion only, while I believe that a pregnant woman should have additional choices — for instance, to adopt out or keep the baby. I am disgusted by those who view abortion as just another method of birth control.

5. Do you support salvage logging and reforestation after a fire, or should a forest recover through a natural process?
(salvage logging and reforestation) (natural process) (mix of both)

Salvage logging and reforestation. We are a part of nature and might as well recognize it.

The devastating Western forest fires of 2003 could have been avoided if people and businesses had been allowed to log dead trees from the forests. Because they had been prevented from doing so by the environmentalist fringe of the Democratic Party, the forests had accumulated enough dead wood to make the fires hotter and more destructive.

6. Do you support broad based immigration amnesty for people who have lived, worked and paid taxes in the U.S. for more than 10 years?
(yes) (no)

Yes, provided they are otherwise law-abiding, both here and in their nation of origin.

This is probably the only area where my wife and I have disagreements (other than whose turn it is to get a backrub). I believe that entering the country illegally should bar you from ever becoming a citizen. Further, I don’t see how anyone who entered illegally could qualify for amnesty by having “lived, worked and paid taxes” for 10 years in the U.S. — how many illegal aliens will fill out their 1040EZ forms at the end of the year? The form asks for a Social Security number, and how could a law-abiding illegal get a Social Security number?

7. Do you support rolling back tax cuts for those earning $311,000 a year or more to cut the deficit and fund crucial programs?
(yes) (no)

Yes. [I didn't actually make comment here--but the figure $311,000 struck me as oddly arbitrary, the phrase "rolling back tax cuts" is weasel-speak for "increasing taxes" (possibly retroactively), and if the programs are that crucial, why not first cut the pork products our Congressman seems to specialize in and fund crucial items from those freed-up taxes? When I read this, I recognized the real question our Congressman was asking: "Do I have your permission to tax other people who are richer than you, so I don't have to cut my own pet programs?" Feh. -- TPK]

Yes, this does seem like a strange and arbitrary number. And again, this is a false dichotomy — the tax rate cuts under President Bush have done nothing to cause the deficit to rise. In fact, the government is reporting a rise in income tax dollars received, as has happened every time income tax rates are dropped. We do not have a tax revenue problem; we have a tax spending problem. And Congress is in charge of spending.

8. Last year, the major oil companies reported record profits of $100 billion. Do you support federal price controls in order to bring down the price of gas?
(yes) (no)

No. Why should their profits be used as a justification for punitive legislation? If they cannot control their own prices, they deserve to go out of business. Consumers will seek alternatives, if prices continue to rise.

“Ooo! Evil corporations! Bad people making money!” Oh, puh-leese! This sort of talk comes from someone who has a problem with the Tenth Commandment and covets other people’s successes. Assuming that the major oil companies actually made a profit of $100 billion last year, they are certainly entitled to make a profit in their business. If people believe they are making too much of a profit, the market will shift to other, cheaper energy sources. The free market will react and adapt to changing prices far better and faster than if it is goaded into action by economically inept Congressmen who poke it with sharp sticks.

9. Do you support legislation to increase the federal minimum wage?
(yes) (no)

No. Increasing the minimum wage simply increases prices across the board.

And it has been shown that the lowest paid people suffer the most when the minimum wage goes up. Some people who are being paid at minimum wage lose their jobs each and every time the wage goes up. Liberals champion raising the minimum wage to help out the little guy, but it is the little guy who is hurt most by losing his job. This is Quinn’s First Law in action: “Liberalism always generates the exact opposite of its stated intent.”

10. Do you believe that the federal budget should be balanced by cutting spending, raising taxes, or a combination of both?
(cutting spending) (raising taxes) (both) (balanced budgets don’t matter)

Cutting spending, but not for Constitutionally-mandated military spending.

Agreed. Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution states what is the responsibility of the government. Last time I checked, the military was specifically listed in that section, but social programs and continued funding of PBS and NEA are not. Again, the government doesn’t have a problem with revenue — it has a problem with spending.

11. Do you believe all Americans should have access to government sponsored health care?
(yes) (no)

No. “Government sponsored” simply means “paid for by taxes.” I would prefer to pay for my own health care rather than be subject to additional taxation.

And everywhere government sponsored health care has been established, it cuts costs by limiting access and treatments. That is why Canada and England have such long waiting lists for the simplest treatments. It is a failed system, but it has many supporters in government because it means the government gets to meddle in the health care arena. Again, check out Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution and tell me where it says Congress has the authority to legislate a national health care system.

12. Do you believe the U.S. should set a firm timeline for withdrawing troops from Iraq?
(yes) (no) (undecided)

No. We still have troops stationed in Germany, South Korea, Haiti, Bosnia, etc., etc., etc. Why should Iraq be the sole exception? President Bush has made it blatantly clear why announcing such a date would be foolish. I might add: so exceptionally clear that one would have to be a halfwit, or a Democrat, to continue arguing the point.

Yes, it was made exceptionally clear, but there are none so deaf as those who choose not to hear.

13. Do you support a national energy policy focused on investing in clean, renewable energy, improving energy efficiency and reducing our reliance on oil or an energy policy that depends upon further development of the oil, gas, coal and nuclear industries?
(renewable energy) (fossil fuels and nuclear)

Renewable energy. We should look into safer nuke energy as well–but duh, I’m always in favor of greater energy options. This isn’t a question. By the way, didn’t Bush already propose such a policy?

False choice again. This isn’t a case of either/or, and any Congressman worth his salt should be able to recognize that fossil fuels and nuclear are the best power sources we have, and balance them with the need to continually explore other avenues of power. If Congress were really concerned about our reliance on foreign oil, they would allow us to drill for oil in ANWR.

14. Do you support the permanent extension of the government’s powers under the Patriot Act to search through all citizens’ financial, medical and library records?
(yes) (no)

The words “permanent” and “all” make NO my only possible answer. However, I do believe the Patriot Act has been useful to date in helping to wage the war on terror effectively.

I’m leery to grant any power to government on a permanent basis. I do recognize that we have a slippery enemy whom we are fighting, and I recognize that previous examples of rights being trashed during wartime (Civil War, World War II, etc.) went away as soon as the war was over. If Congress and President Bush really wanted to make inroads against terrorism in the U.S., they would act to seal the borders. If bad men destroyed priceless paintings in your home, it would be smarter to lock down the house than to put security cameras on the rest of your paintings and leave the doors wide open.

15. Would you support a five-cent increase in the federal gas tax dedicated to projects like rebuilding bridges and maintaining I-5 and other major routes?
(yes) (no)

No. These gas tax increases always seem to go awry, somehow. Better to do without them.

If this tax were only applied to transportation needs, Congress would have a better argument, but as it is, tax money raised for specially earmarked funds always seems to find its way into the coffers of other “necessary” projects. When Washington State decided to drop the cost of its yearly car tab fees from hundreds of dollars down to a flat $35, the people against the drop pointed out the many projects that would be affected by the change. When I saw the list of programs funded by the car tabs, I realized that the “transportation only” promise had probably never been kept.

Now I have a question for you, Congressman. How ignorant or foolish do you think your constituents are? This whole survey reads like a push-poll, deliberately designed to generate large numbers of specific responses. You might at least try to appear even-handed next time. –TPK

What does he care? Having won the last election with 61% of the vote, he feels no pressure to be even-handed. He has “a mandate.”

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