The Water Cooler is a snapshot look at some of the things people are talking about in politics
By Chris Ingram
The Florida U.S. Senate race continues to look like another Bill Nelson victory forthcoming in November 2012. The current crop of candidates, which includes Senate President Mike Haridopolos and former State Rep. Adam Hasner remains rather unaccomplished and uninspiring.
The other day someone asked me, “so who would you rather see?” My snarky side wanted to respond “Mickey Mouse” as a better alternative than what we’ve currently got to consider. After thinking about it for a little while, here are my serious thoughts:
Sheriff Grady Judd. Judd is the no-nonsense sheriff of Polk County. I wrote about him more extensively in a previous column that you can read here. The problem with Grady Judd is, he’d get up in the U.S. Senate and go crazy watching the Senate “deliberate” (code for senatorial hand wringing) over issues. Judd is a man of action. All the deliberating would probably cause him to end up shooting some fellow senators. The more I think about it, the U.S. Senate is probably not the place for Sheriff Judd. He’s probably better suited for the White House.
Congressman Ander Crenshaw. Crenshaw represents Jacksonville and other parts of North Florida. He’s an unassuming man with a respectable record as a fiscal conservative. Okay, that’s code for “he ain’t perfect” but let’s just say he’s far more accomplished than the current crop of candidates – or Marco Rubio for that matter. Crenshaw got his undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia and a law degree from the University of Florida. Don’t ask me what the hell he does on Georgia/Florida game day; but he’s a consummate politician and probably speaks out of both sides of his mouth, depending on which sideline he is on. Crenshaw has run statewide before (he ran for governor in ’94 losing in the primary to Jeb Bush) and previously served as president of the state Senate. Crenshaw was an investment banker for a national investment bank from 1990-1995. Don’t ask what he did before 1990, because his bio is mum on what he did outside of politics before then. But hey, no matter what he was doing, it had to be of greater substance than whatever Haridopolos or Hasner where doing at the time — since they were both in college then.
Congressman Vern Buchanan. Buchanan represents Sarasota and Manatee counties in what used to be Katherine Harris’ district. Buchanan has the itch to move up to higher office (he’s been mentioned for governor and U.S. Senate), but he lacks the cajones to take the plunge. Buchanan is a successful businessman and has a conservative voting record. His businesses have been the subject of several lawsuits, which his opponents would no doubt make issue of. But Buchanan could partially self-finance and he certainly should have enough D.C. connections to dwarf Hasner and Haridopolos in fundraising and the all-important television media buys that make or break statewide candidates.
State Senator Mike Bennett. Like Buchanan, Bennett hails from Sarasota/Manatee county area. He’s a Navy veteran who served four tours in Vietnam while Hasner and Haridopolos were still in diapers. A graduate of Drake University, Bennett owns a very successful air conditioning and electrical contracting company as well as multiple real estate holdings in the area. I had lunch with Bennett one day and I offered to pick up the tab. As a member of the legislature, Bennett reminded me the rules don’t even allow me to buy him a cup of coffee. So I paid my share and he paid his. Or so I thought. Out in the parking lot a few minutes later he told me he owned the restaurant where we had just eaten. You’d think he would’ve offered to pick up my part of the tab! Alas, Bennett is frugal. That’s what we need in Congress. And no wonder rich people are rich.
Former Congressman and former Attorney General Bill McCollum. Okay, I’m just kidding. No really Bill, I’m just kidding. No Bill, seriously, you’re a three-time loser and a very sore loser at that. Bill, do not run again. Ever. For anything. Please!
What do you think? Are you satisfied with the current crop? Like any of the aforementioned? Who do you like?
Several reliable sources have told me that Mike Haridopolos has absolutely no plans to actually run for the U.S. Senate. Rather, it is suggested Haridopolos is planning to draw himself a nice safe U.S. House seat and run for that instead. He could easily transfer and use the money he raised for a would-be Senate race and use it to run for the House instead. What do you say Mike?
The Greatest Scam
Following the wave of anti-union sentiment legislatures across the country are finally starting to recognize, the Florida legislature just passed a “paycheck protection” bill that would prohibit employers from being required to collect union dues. Union bosses would instead be forced to collect their extortion fees – I mean dues – directly from their members. Unions oppose the measure because they know it’s a lot easier to force employers to withhold money from a paycheck than it is to get the average union bum to write a check for his or her dues.
Uncle Sam (read: Congress) knows this all too well.
The biggest sham in America is payroll withholding, and Congress knows it.
Payroll withholding is basically the same thing as requiring employers to withhold union dues. The only difference is the union dues are withheld for the union, and the payroll tax withholding is done for the federal government.
Here is what the Treasury Department has to say about withholding: “[Withholding] greatly eased the collection of the tax for both the taxpayer and the Bureau of Internal Revenue. However, it also greatly reduced the taxpayer’s awareness of the amount of tax being collected, i.e. it reduced the transparency of the tax, which made it easier to raise taxes in the future.”
Basically the government wants to fool you as to how much money it takes from you every paycheck. By forcing employers to withhold your share of the tax burden for you, it minimizes the pain – think out of sight, out of mind.
If the Republicans in Congress had an ounce of honesty or a real concern for the taxpayer greater than the liberal Democrats they like to vilify, they’d get rid of payroll withholding and force every American to write a check every two weeks for his or her share of the government’s bloated spending.
How long before Obama and company started talking fiscal restraint? Not long for sure.
While they’re at it, here are a couple of other things the “do as we say, not as we do” Republicans ought to consider doing:
Barring a change in eliminating payroll withholding, the government should require that all paychecks state in big, bold letters the following: “The Federal Government took this much money out of your paycheck this week: $000.00. Complaints? Please call your member of Congress at: (insert number).”
Tax cuts and spending reductions would come a lot easier if people actually knew their share of the bloated government bureaucracy.
And finally, they should change tax collection day from April 15th to the day before Election Day. The result would be one of two things: taxes and the debt would both be lower or there would be no need for term limits.
While all of these proposals make perfectly good sense to hardworking people who pay taxes, to a member of Congress they mean swift electoral defeat, so none of it will ever happen.
Whatever Congress does, keep this in mind: our country is not $14 trillion in debt because we don’t tax enough, we’re $14 trillion in debt because we spend too much. Got that Obama?
Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of Irreverent View. Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, and National Review online. He is the Republican political analyst for Bay News 9, the only 24 hour all news channel in Florida’s largest media market. The opinions expressed here are those of author and do not represent the views of Bay News 9. E-mail him at: Chris@IrreverentView.com.
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