Tuesday, October 18, 2011

AWOL Senators

Perhaps Washington is too busy.  Perhaps they have too many meetings.
But one thing is certain: They do a lousy job of representing us.
A case in point is a Senate Finance Committee hearing held today (October 18, 2011)
Keep in mind that this committee consists of 24 members, about half from each party.

The topic was tax deductions for charitable giving.

Now, some photos of the proceedings:
This screen shot shows Max Baucus as Chairman.  He will open the meeting and stay for 20 minutes of the two hour hearing.

Grassley makes an appearance and makes a statement, then leaves.  He shows no interest in what the presenters have to say.

Cardin, Carper and Thune also attended parts of the hearing.  And they had questions for the panel of five.
At one point, about 75 minutes in, Hatch excuses himself, leaving the meeting without a chairman.
At the end, he was alone to swing the gavel.

How in the world do our leaders expect to lead when they don't even attend the meetings?

Here's a nugget of truth from one of the presenters at the hearing:

“Some economists and other scholars contend that this is, in effect, a tax expenditure because tax revenues are reduced by the benefit granted. In other words, because the government could have denied the charitable deduction there is a government expenditure in its granting the deduction and forgoing the revenue. By that reasoning the personal income we think is ours is really the government’s because of its choice not to take it away by taxation. That is surely an attitude not shared by most Americans.”

Elder Dallin H Oaks, Senate Hearing on Charitable Giving, October 18, 2011

For the record, here is a list of all the Senate Finance Committee members.

Chairman: Max Baucus, Democrat MT
Ranking member: Orrin Hatch, Republican UT

John D. Rockefeller IV WV
Kent Conrad ND
Jeff Bingaman NM
John F. Kerry MA
Ron Wyden OR
Charles E. Schumer NY
Debbie Stabenow MI
Maria Cantwell WA
Bill Nelson FL
Robert Menendez NJ
Thomas R. Carper DE
Benjamin L. Cardin MD

Chuck Grassley IA
Olympia J. Snowe ME
Jon  Kyl  AZ
Mike Crapo ID
Pat Roberts KS
Michael B. Enzi WY
John Cornyn TX
Tom Coburn OK
John Thune SD
Richard Burr NC

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