Last night the members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass legislation already approved by the Senate and the President which, among other things, prevented hundreds of thousands of middle-class Americans, including my family, from having to pay out several thousand dollars to the IRS in the form of a so-called Alternate Minimum Tax that never was intended to apply to us in the first place. The legislation also preserved federal income tax rates for most Americans, raising rates back to what they used to be in the 1990s only for families making more than $450,000. It also allowed small monthly lifeline payments to continue for some people unable to find work since the “investment banks” crashed the real estate market in 2008. It also forestalled, at the insistence of the GOP, severe spending cuts to the Pentagon.
It was compromise legislation nobody really liked, something that used to occur routinely because that’s the only way anything can get done when you have one majority political party and one minority party in each of the two legislative houses of Congress.
Republicans, especially most of the Republicans in the House, claimed not to like the bill, so much that 151 of them voted against it. Pete Olson, the congressman who allegedly represents my district but as far as I can tell never has represented my interests, voted no. I am trying not to take it personally but probably will eventually. For sure I will remember his vote the next time he’s up for election, although the only opponent the local Democrats have managed to run against him for the past two terms actually is a supporter of that old fraudster Lyndon LaRouche, so you can see how far Democracy sometimes gets you.
Rep. Pete Olson is a protege of former senator and current banking shill Phil Gramm, whose legislation in the late 1990s gutted banking regulation and was as much to blame as any other single factor for the housing market collapse mentioned above. Like pretty much all congressional representatives, he lives off of the political bribes (aka “campaign contributions”) heaped upon him by corporations. His top two “contributors” are organizations associated with electric utilities. The third-largest is Koch Industries, tied to the infamous and hugely rich Koch brothers, who have been buying politicians since well before Pete Olson ever took office.
When Rep. Pete Olson votes against legislation that would prevent me and 90% of the rest of his constituency from facing a major tax hit, I try not to take it personally because a man so deeply in the pocket of the plutocracy is obliged to oppose legislation that would raise tax rates for the plutocracy. After all, the Supreme Court has told us that money is free speech, and if we think our representatives in Congress aren’t sufficiently supporting our interests, perhaps we aren’t “talking” loudly enough with our wallet mouths, ha-ha.
I could go on and on about the state of our fiscal affairs, a taxpayer-fueled military-industrial complex whose five largest members have seen their profits rise 450% since 2002, House GOP members who just hate government spending except when it goes to the Pentagon, the pawning of the American peasantry by the very wealthy who now control the elections, etc., etc., etc. But I think I’ll give my blood pressure a rest for now.
After all, who am I really to blow against the wind when the Alternate Minimum Tax has been speared and there are blackberry bushes to be planted?