Thursday, October 17, 2013

Government by the Petulant

The government shutdown has ended and the possible default has been averted. For now. We’ll be going through democracy-by-hostage-taking again in just a few months. The Republicans have ample time to figure out their next round of demands. (Make me a sammich or we’ll shut down the gummint!) The Tea Partiers were ready to play Russian roulette with the global economy just because they hate Obama. The next time the US tries to impose democracy on some other country, the rest of the world is going to laugh in our collective faces. And they should.

This shutdown was brought to us by the party of fiscal and personal responsibility. That’s $24 billion of our tax dollars wasted by a bunch of 3rd grade playground bullies stomping their expensively shod feet about a law they don’t like. These are not statesmen, doing the work of the people. These are petulant and vindictive men who were willing to make the whole world pay because they didn’t get their way. This is why any person running for any office (local, state, national) who says they hate gummint should be immediately and permanently disqualified.

Will the party of fiscal and personal responsibility be taking up a collection to reimburse the taxpayers for the $24 billion? Don’t hold your breath. The poor lambs planned the shutdown for months, and then got miffed when a shutdown meant actually shutting things down. One take away from all this? We should really stop waiting for Texas to secede and take preemptive action. If they want to elect dunderheads like Ted Cruz, Randy Neugebauer, and Louis Gohmert to state government that would be one thing, but sending them to DC where they can mess with all of us? Sorry, Texas. This just can’t be allowed to go on.

As for GOP fiscal responsibility, we’re seeing it right here at home. The 2014 legislative session will begin in January, where they will have 638 bills to contend with. So far. The Senate cut off for filing LSRs is October 30, so we can count on a last minute flurry of filings. The average cost of an LSR (legislative request/potential bill) is $1500. Representative JR Hoell, of Dunbarton, is this year’s winner in the most bills filed category, at 21. That’s 21 bills, at a cost of $1500 each – Representative Hoell is going to cost NH taxpayers $31,500. Given that he’s a remarkably ineffectual legislator, we can be sure that few if any of these 21 bills will be passed.  In 2013 Hoell sponsored 12 bills. None of them passed.

Hoell is not a member of the Free State Project, but he’s the next best thing. He’s part of the extremist libertarian crowd. They worship at the altar of Koch, Rand, and Paul (pere et fils.) They hate gummint, so they work tirelessly to become part of it. To show their contempt, they file endless nuisance legislation, to waste the time of their colleagues, and taxpayer dollars. They claim to hate wasteful spending, but they do it themselves at every opportunity. They also claim to hate the nanny state, but they are desperate to play stern patriarch to the uterus bearing population of NH. A sardonic tweet the other day (from an observer of the nanny state uterus brigade) read: “It’s not uterYOU, it’s uterUS.” To summarize Hoell’s bills, he wants everyone, everywhere to have unrestricted access to guns, wants to eliminate the judiciary and the police, and he wants women to serve as involuntary incubators. He might want to rethink giving the involuntary incubators unrestricted access to guns.

Coming in at 19 LSRs is Rep. Dan Itse, from Freemont. That’s $28,500 worth of taxpayer waste. Itse is another extreme libertarian, not a Free Stater, but certainly an ally. Many of Itse’s bills are aimed at ensuring that food produced in NH is exempted from the Food Safety and Modernization Act. These folks hate gummint regulation, and feel that in the free market, you should be able to choose for yourself what you buy. If you want to buy contaminated food, that should be your decision. If you buy it unknowingly and get sick or die, well, next time you won’t buy from that guy!

Itse also wants to recodify education laws, laws relative to law enforcement personnel, and wants to eliminate proprietorships from the business enterprise tax. He also wants to prevent students from voting. The extreme libertea crowd hates law enforcement and hates the judiciary. They sympathize with the crowd of whiny wife beaters who feel hard done by that they have to pay child support, but they don’t get full custody. Still, this year Itse made an effort to reel himself in. Last year he sponsored 42 LSRs, at an estimated cost of $63,000. Not a single one of them passed. I’m sure we’re all happy to know that fiscal conservatives like Itse and Hoell are looking out for us.

There are at least a dozen gun bills proposed, because, after all, in a state with 500 bridges that are on a red list for structural impairment, the only possible solution is guns and more guns. The unemployment rate is at a firm 5%, and obviously the best way to deal with that is GUNS!

The northern Carroll County delegation has managed to comport itself with admirable restraint. No one has filed an epic number of bills, no gun bills, or anything that (so far) seems like nuisance legislation. A pity that can’t be said of the legislators from the southern part of the state. We sell the good people of Massachusetts cheap booze and cigarettes, mock them for being socialists, and they thank us by sending their misanthropes to populate southern NH where they run for the legislature. Massachusetts gets the last laugh.

“This is your democracy, America. Cherish it.”  Charlie Pierce

© sbruce 2013 
Published as a bi-weekly column in the Conway Daily Sun newspaper. 


Anonymous said...

Doesn't look like democracy to me.

Steven Connolly said...

It doesn't cost $1500.00 to draft legislation at Office of Legislative Services either.

The lawyers there are all on state salary which is a fixed cost. More legislation decreases the cost(s) per piece of legislation, this includes printing.

susanthe said...

I'm going on what I've been told by legislators.

I'd be pleased to see some proof of your assertions, Mr. Connolly.

Steven J. Connolly said...

I'd encourage you to look at HB 1 which includes the expenditures for the General Court including: the "Office of Legislative Services." If you divide the total expenditure (budget) of OLS by the total number of LSRS filed this will give the cost of each piece of legislation. I was in the NH House from 1994-1998 and back then the cost was about $216.67 per LSR which isn't nothing but still a far number from your statement of $1500.00.
Lastly, it my understanding that the fixed cost attorneys that are employed by OLS are used for House, Senate research when they're not drafting the actual piece of legislation.
OLS does a very good job for the limited amt. of funds and resources that they're given.

susanthe said...

Well, Mr. Connolly, I did exactly as you advised, and so my new number is $2,821 per bill. Thank you for your assistance in this matter.

At that rate, the cost of Rep. Hoell's bills has increased to $59,240.

Steven J. Connolly said...

Perhaps you can see in HB 1 where they added in the additional cost(s) for OLS and filing of LSRs.

In this case $1321.00 per bill. I'd be curious as to where this revenue came from. As you know, as a statehouse watcher all cost(s) have to be offset by revenue.

So...where is the revenue?

Either your math, assertion or a combination of both is incorrect; a lack of accounting knowledge might also be a factor here.

Your arguments however, do play very well nobody likes $100.00 a year legislators driving up costs if in fact that were even happening at all.

susanthe said...

My fault for following your misleading directions. I did, however give you the chance to insinuate that I'm stupid, though, so you should be feeling quite pleased, and you'll undoubtedly get some attaboys back at the underside of the rock you inhabit at NH Insider.

You get to the real point at the end of your post, "nobody likes $100 a year legislators driving up costs IF that were happening at all."

Itse filed 42 LSRs in 2013. Hoell filed 12. Neither of them managed to get a single one of them passed.
That IS deliberately driving up costs, in my opinion. Every year Itse files a bill to create a state militia, and every year it dies. That's a deliberate waste of time and money - all to feed Itse's ego. IF that were happening, indeed.

I believe I'll stick with the numbers I was given by legislators I trust.

Dan Itse said...

It appears you have a real problem with research. I went back and counted. I submitted 20 LSRs last session, I co-sponsored another 22. There are 8 attorney and 3 clerical staff that produce the LSRs. The are there whether there are 500 LSRs or 1000. How much does a fact checker cost.

susanthe said...

Funny how that math works out to 42, Rep. Itse.