The Three Worst Bills

Representative Jeff Flake has a reputation for being a hard core fiscal conservative, so much so that he will vote against his own party if it goes against his beliefs in small/limited government. Rep. Flake has been called a “taxpayer superhero” by the Citizens Against Government Waste. Reason has gotten Rep. Flake to list the three worst bills that were passed by Congress.

1. The Farm Bill: “Both the House and Senate versions of the farm bill extend subsidies, distort markets, and hamper future free trade agreements, and the final bill is only likely to get worse in a conference committee. Sugar growers who didn’t get what they wanted in the initial legislation are urging conferees to repeal portions of NAFTA.”

2. The Omnibus Appropriations Bill: “Congress rolled 11 appropriations bills into one massive package and passed it in late December. House members had less than 24 hours to read the legislation before we voted on it. We’re still finding out what’s actually in the bill. But we do know it contained nearly 12,000 earmarks. That was reason enough to vote ‘no.'”

3. Economic Stimulus Package: “Any time Republicans and Democrats can so easily agree on legislation as expensive as this, it’s not a good sign. Rebates look to me like an admission by Congress that perhaps the federal government shouldn’t have taken that money in the first place. Hopefully, Congress will keep this in mind as the Bush tax cuts get set to expire.”

Great so we get protectionism, subsidies, God only knows what kind of pork, and a stimulus package that implicitly admits that government is way too bloated and taking too much out of people’s incomes. Democrats and Republicans, not a dimes worth of difference.

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Steve Verdon
About Steve Verdon
Steve has a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended graduate school at The George Washington University, leaving school shortly before staring work on his dissertation when his first child was born. He works in the energy industry and prior to that worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Division of Price Index and Number Research. He joined the staff at OTB in November 2004.


  1. bains says:

    Democrats and Republicans, not a dimes worth of difference.

    What party is Flake a member of? Marginal difference, I know, but for the small government advocate which side gives the best likely return.

  2. DL says:

    Steve – all the wisdom in the world in commenting on your summation can be told in four Letters. Amen!

  3. Boyd says:

    Democrats and Republicans, not a dimes worth of difference.

    While I’m no huge partisan, find a single Democrat in either house of Congress who takes a similar stance to Flake’s. While the Republicans regularly earn my contempt for their actions, to say there’s no difference between the two major parties is to willfully ignore reality, Steve.

  4. rodney dill says:

    What about Clinton?

  5. Steve Plunk says:

    Many in congress believe in fiscal responsibility but also believe in responsibility to constituents. How far should a representative go before giving up and getting a little something for the people back home? If the earmarks are going to keep on rolling for John Murtha’s district should a Republican from a poor district throw in a few and create jobs?

    There has to be institutional changes for this to work. The present system puts the lawmakers in a tough spot. I’m not condoning it but just recognizing the reality.

    I do know if such changes were to be put to a vote you could guess which party would be less likely to support those changes. That’s why I am a Republican.

  6. Grewgills says:

    bains and boyd,
    Which congress increased spending the most and who controlled that congress?

    Steve P is correct that institutional changes are necessary to stop much of the abuse. So far neither party has done anything approaching near enough. Still, more has been done to increase transparency and go after corruption (still pitifully short of what is needed) in the past year than was done in the previous six.

  7. Barry says:

    Steve: “Democrats and Republicans, not a dimes worth of difference.”

    Aside from several trillion dollars of deficits, a few trillions for an unnecessary war, two failed wars, vast death and destruction, and trashing the Constitution, yeah.

    Steve, this is a rather ignorant post.