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  • Morning Bell: Putting 'Deliberate' Back in 'Deliberative Body'

    On Sunday the New York Times profiled Diane McLeod, a 47-year-old single mother working two jobs, who by her own admission acknowledges she spent too much money shopping to make herself feel better without reflecting on how it would impact her future. Commenting on reader reaction to the article, former Weekly Standard senior editor David Brooks wrote: “Individuals don’t build their lives from scratch. They absorb the patterns and norms of the world around them. … [W]hat happened to McLeod, and the nation’s financial system, is part of a larger social story. America once had a culture of thrift. But over the past decades, that unspoken code has been silently eroded.”

    Brooks goes on to write that “social institutions are trying to re-right the norms” and that “the government is sending some messages.” But too often government sends the wrong messages. This week in the U.S. Senate, one senator is desperately fighting to send the right signal to the American people about fiscal responsibility and the necessity of setting priorities.

    Over the past year, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) has placed “holds” on dozens of bills that Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) had slated for expedited passage through the Senate. With the legislative session drawing to a close, Reid has now bundled all of these bills into one massive package that he plans to cram through the Senate with one single vote. Learning of Reid’s plan, Coburn spoke from the Senate floor:

    That bill is coming about because myself and several other senators have refused to allow those bills to go without debate on this floor and without the ability to amend them. Now, some of them are very good things we ought to be about. But we should not be about it until we are going to inculcate and act as senators the same way every other family in this country has to act; that is, by making a decision based on priorities. …

    By historical standards, this is supposed to be the greatest deliberative body in the world. In the 110th Congress, 890 bills have passed — 890. Fifty of them have had debate. Only 50 have had debate. And for most of those, the debate has been extremely limited and shortened through the power of the majority leader. …

    So is it any wonder that only 9% of the American public has any significant confidence in the Congress to put forward their interests? We are going to be doing this at a time when the No. 1 issue in this country is energy security and energy prices, but we are going to put a bill on the Senate floor that grows the government, that creates 70 new programs, and spends somewhere between $25 billion and $50 billion.

    I would tell my colleagues that most people sitting down to their dinner table think we have our priorities messed up, and they are right. We do.

    If we ever hope to return to being a nation of thrift and responsibility, our elected leaders must stop growing the government by setting priorities and making hard choices before spending. For the Senate, the situation is so bad that even allowing debate on the subject would be progress. Earlier in his speech, Coburn noted that according to the Government Accountability Office, federal spending is already around 20% of GDP. If we do nothing to change current policy, it is set to rise to 35% of GDP by 2038. That number is a huge threat to the liberty of America. It is high time the Senate started an honest debate about it.

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    8 Responses to Morning Bell: Putting 'Deliberate' Back in 'Deliberative Body'

    1. John says:

      Off shore drilling solves nothing for the immediate future. This has become a political mantra for the Republicans and their lobbyists. Alternative fuels takes all the power away from the Arabs and Russia and keeps us independent.

      Gramm's bill to deregulate the commodity markets is what is pushing housing, food and oil up. Speculators are having a field day making millions off the American public.

      Al Gore's plan is viable and goes in the direction of energy independence. Where does the Conservative plan go…right back to oil and dependence. And of course to you, there is no such thing as global warming. I am an Independent voter and will be voting for Obama. Eight years of conservative nonsense is enough for me.

    2. david turney says:

      harry reed is walking around with a bag over his head how he got to where he is is a mystery but he is hurting the american people he thinks like a fool we need a progressive congress not one that is stagnant and controlled by mean vendictive people change is what the democrats voted for and look where it got us now obama promises more change can we handle any more democratic change i don`t think we can not the kind of change they want to give us

    3. Joe in Texas says:

      This is what can be expected from Sen. Reid. The Axis of Evil works in the dark of night. His stock and trade is deception and deceit, bundling on its face indicates a pig in a poke. I am grateful for Sen. Coburn and his willingness and stand up to Harry Reid.

    4. Tom - California says:

      Do the American people really care what Congress does? The house

      and Senate do nothing while in session. Reid and Pelosi are a

      joke. Generally the "electorate" doesn't take the time to become

      informed. Voter turn out is a joke. How can we claim to be a Democracy given the bills passed in Congress are loaded with


    5. Allen, Texas says:

      From reading the Morning Bell, it appears the Heritage Foundation is trying to promote Speculative Futures Trading as a legitimate process and even needed when the facts do not support that. According to most economic analysts, Speculators are driving up the cost of energy and the industry does need regulating to curb the greed that apparently drives this industry. Take out the greedy speculators and watch the price of crude drop. Crude oil should not be more than $55 a barrel based on legitimate economic rules of supply and demand.

    6. Jack Lohman, Colgate says:

      Listen, both sides of the isle are corrupt as hell. They pass or don't pass bills based on the amount of money they get from the special interests on one side of the issue or the other. Get the money out of the political system with "voluntary" public funding of campaigns and these bills will get get discussed with the public's best interest in mind. And if the Heritage Institute was not being funded by industry's who like our corrupt system just the way it is, they'd get behind a cleanup of ethics in congress.

    7. Joelle Harmon, Maryl says:

      I am grateful that there are some in the Senate (thank you Sen. Tom Coburn) who have not forgotten how to think and use common sense. Please wake up congress.

    8. Wade Wariner , Wasil says:

      Thank God I get the Morning Bell and other daily news from sources that look at events and circumstances here and around the world with an objective point of view. I place a major part of the blame for our problems directly in front of the main news media. The constant half truths,mis-information and out right lies has a profound affect on voters decisions. If we were to merely declare to the world that we will be energy independent by 2020 the price of oil would immediately drop, at least some. The U.S. geological surveys show we have > a trillion barrels from inland shale deposits alone. In Alaska we have enough gas to heat this states homes for thousands of years, enough coal for clean coal technology to heat Americas homes for 500 years. We are having the coldest summer in many years and I expect to spend my entire social security check on fuel each month to stay warm. I wonder if the news will report how many people freeze this coming winter. #!@*/&-^!#" the (D)s

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