Yesterday, U.S. Representative Jim Renacci (R-OH) paid a visit to a few townships in southern Portage County. The Reverend was in attendance at one of these hour-long sessions and took part in the Q&A portion which followed short remarks from the congressman.
Renacci made three stops yesterday, but his message at all three stops was apparently the same: Obama and Reid are the real problems with congressional dysfunction, ZOMG the debt, a heavy dose of trickle down economics, Social Security, Medicare and the like should all be cut and.....my personal favorite......what voters should do to make Congress work again.
Renacci began by comparing what voters should do in an age of gridlock to what people would do if they needed an airplane pilot during an emergency. Passengers wouldn't hire a drunk or someone who couldn't fly a plane, the congressman stated. Instead, they would find someone who could "fly the plane." According to the Wadsworth CPA and businessman, if voters want gridlock and polarization in Congress to end then it is necessary for voters to send people to Washington who can "fly the plane."
It's what Renacci meant by "flying the plane" which I found wrongheaded and a bit elitist. Pilots who have been trained and are qualified to "fly the plane" translates in Renacci's view to sending people to Congress who have business experience and business skills. That is Renacci's solution to the deep political divide in D.C. Just send more business guys and gals to Congress....people who have been trained to "fly the plane", like him.
The problem here as I see it...is that Congress isn't really the Chamber of Commerce, nor should Americans expect it to be. Congressional representatives are supposed to represent We the People....not simply We the Rich Businesspeople. Businesspeople know business, at least some, like Renacci, do. Businesspeople, trained businesspeople, know how to make profits...they know how to buy and sell stuff and track the selling of that stuff. Those are not even close to the job descriptions of congressional representatives.
When I challenged Renacci to explain how it was that the current national debt and deficit was negatively affecting the economy right now.....the congressman, like every conservative type I've asked that question of, dodged answering. He agreed with me that our debt following WW2 was higher than today's but he argued that our economy is different today than back then.....an answer which, again, was a dodge rather than an explanation.
The congressman from Ohio's 16th district, redrawn in quite a creative way to enable a Republican to win the seat, reverted to the Romney view of the automaker bailout. A former Chevrolet dealership owner himself, Rennaci, apparently, went to the House of Representatives holding a personal grudge against GM and the Obama administration over the General Motors decision to close his Wadsworth dealership in the wake of the bailout.
Again,.... you know me, ....The Reverend challenged Renacci on his Romneyesque hairsplitting over the auto maker bailout. I asked him whether his dealership would have remained in tact had GM gone bankrupt. I reminded him that GM came to Congress, not the other way around. The congressman, like Romney, responded that he was for a "structured bankruptcy" rather than a government-led bailout plus restructuring. When I reminded him that there were no buyers at the time willing to intervene because the financial collapse made all big investors wary....Renacci went on to something else. I suggested he was being disingenuous.
When I asked the very successful Wadsworth businessman what his vision for national economic growth looked like.....his response was one we've all heard a zillion times. Supply side economics. Cut, cut cut those "job-destroying" regulations, lower taxes on those Renacci labels as "job creators" and yes.....drill, baby, drill.
Unfortunately but not surprisingly, Jim Renacci failed to even address our real economic problem.....not enough demand in the economy....consumers don't have enough money, equity or credit with which to stimulate consumption. He, like so many other misguided trickle-downers, sees a demand-side problem and responds with a supply-side answer which doesn't address the actual problem....not even a little bit.
If you are not a person who has been trained to "fly the plane"......Renacci has some somber advice to share with you.....
Renacci said the biggest areas to trim is in entitlement spending by making reforms to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, lowering the federal corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25, cutting and putting sunset clauses on regulations and simplifying the tax system to eliminate deductions and loopholes.
No surprise there. But plenty of audacity. To a room full of seniors, the "pilot" announced his plan to cut or privatize SS and Medicare, in effect slashing benefits earned by "non-pilots" over their entire lives. And to what end? So that corporations.....who have been racking up historic profit numbers.....can receive another unwarranted and unnecessary tax break.
Finally,.....I'm glad that Congressman Renacci took the time to talk to some southern Portage County voters. Honestly, I am. Renacci's House seat, because of new jigsaw puzzle gaming of the redistricting process, is most likely secure.....so the congressman didn't have to meet with any locals out in the sticks to protect his seat. But he did. That's a good thing.
My criticisms of the congressman are not personal in nature. My criticisms are based on empirical evidence even the new Pope understands. The hyper-capitalism of our age has brought huge income and wealth disparities.....in other words, our nation's obsession with supply side economics.....giving more and more tax and regulation breaks to the already rich over the last three decades.....is directly responsible for today's shocking disparity numbers.
Yet Renacci calls for more of the same.
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