ChrisWeigant.com

50 Years Of Secrecy, Courtesy Of Max Baucus

[ Posted Wednesday, July 31st, 2013 – 16:57 PDT ]

Senator Max Baucus, the Democrat known as the "Senator from K Street" for his legendary gluttony at the lobbyists' trough, has just decreed a minimum of 50 years of secrecy for the ongoing negotiations over revamping the federal tax code. Baucus is the committee chair of the tax-writing Senate committee, and he and his pal Orrin Hatch have determined that the best way to serve the American people while rewriting the entire tax code is to allow all their colleagues to defend tax loopholes for special interests painlessly -- because the public won't be allowed to know who fought for which bit of corporate welfare until the year 2065.

Yes, you read that right. I wish I was making this up as some sort of bad parody about why the approval rating for Congress is lower than that of cockroaches or communism, but (sadly enough, for us all) this story is actually true. The Hill brings us the shameful details:


The Senate's top tax writers have promised their colleagues 50 years worth of secrecy in exchange for suggestions on what deductions and credits to preserve in tax reform.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and the panel's top Republican, Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah), assured lawmakers that any submission they receive will be kept under lock and key by the committee and the National Archives until the end of 2064.

Deeming the submissions confidential, the Senate's top tax writers have said only certain staff members -- 10 in all -- will get direct access to a senator's written suggestions. Each submission will also be given its own ID number and be kept on password-protected servers, with printed versions kept in locked safes.

An unnamed "Finance Committee aide" helpfully explained the reason for such a move:

"The letter was done at the request of offices to provide some assurance that the committee would not make their submissions public," the aide said. "Sens. Baucus and Hatch are going out of their way to assure their colleagues they will keep the submissions in confidence."

Keeping the submissions confidential for a half century, the aide added, was "standard operating procedure for sensitive materials, including investigation materials."

Sensitive materials? Investigations? So the data must be pretty secret, one assumes. But later on in the article, there's this little gem:

The submissions can be released publicly, the memo says, if they're scrubbed of any way of identifying the senator behind them.

Got that? It's not the information itself which must remain under lock and key for half a century, it is which senator is supporting what massive corporate giveaway -- that's what has to remain secret. Given the average age of the Senate, this will mean that most of these senators will be long dead before the public is allowed to see which one of them is the biggest whore.

Make no mistake about it, that's exactly what Baucus is trying desperately to cover up. Senator I. M. Forsale walks into Baucus's office and says: "Hey, Max, I hear you're rewriting the tax code from top to bottom. Well, I've just come from a fundraiser where I got a whopping big donation from a thingumabob manufacturer, and -- completely coincidentally, of course, no quid pro quo or anything like that (winks at Max, who laughs loudly) -- I'd like to write in a tax provision that allows all thingumabob manufacturers to pay absolutely no tax whatsoever, since I've just been informed that our great country would grind to a halt without a steady supply of thingumabobs. If I write up this proposal, can you keep my name off it until we're celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Civil War?" To which Max can now reply: "Sure thing! I've got you covered!"

In fact, it is near-impossible for any responsible citizen to read the article (or Salon's takedown of the idea, for variety) without experiencing gagging and the urge to vomit while doing so. Don't believe me? Senator John Thune was quoted as approving the idea of locking up these "secrets" for 50 years, calling it "somewhat reassuring." He goes on to say: "I think people will feel a little bit more freedom." By "people" he means "senators" (a debatable concept), and not "the people" as in "We the people..." or anything. And by "freedom" he means "never being held accountable by the voters for our actions," which is not quite the same thing.

Senators will feel "a little bit more freedom," as Thune puts it, because they can sell their services to the highest bidder on K Street, and not have to worry about it ever becoming an election issue for them. They will never have to justify to their constituents the massive tax breaks and other corporate welfare that they are being directly paid to insert into the newly-rewritten tax code. Not only will they be allowed to be whores, but nobody will ever have to know about it.

The whole idea of rewriting the tax code is to "simplify" it and get rid of all the special-interest loopholes which have crept in due to heavy lobbying over the past few decades. That's the entire purpose of the exercise, supposedly. But after hearing that Max Baucus is going to keep all the senators' secrets for fifty freakin' years, I have a prediction to make: if they ever do come up with a bill, it will actually be more complex than what they're trying to replace, and it will have more loopholes and special interest breaks than ever before seen in Washington.

Any member of Congress who has the tiniest doubt as to why the public only gives single-digit approval ratings to the way they do their job, this is Exhibit A. This is the prime example of why the American public is outright disgusted with the way things in Washington operate. Not only are elected officials for sale to the highest bidder, but they can now sell themselves without any fear that the folks back home will ever hear anything about it. Smoking is no longer allowed in the building, but make no mistake about it, the "smoke-filled rooms" still reign supreme in the Capitol building. Thanks a lot, Max and Orrin. You two are now the poster boys for why people hate Congress.

-- Chris Weigant

 

Cross-posted at The Huffington Post

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

15 Comments on “50 Years Of Secrecy, Courtesy Of Max Baucus”

  1. [1] 
    Michale wrote:

    Any member of Congress who has the tiniest doubt as to why the public only gives single-digit approval ratings to the way they do their job, this is Exhibit A.

    It's also Exhibit A in the case to prove that there really isn't any difference between Democrats and Republicans..

    The problem isn't the Democratic Party or the Republican Party.

    The problem is politicians who are greedy and self-serving who ignore the will of the people and whats best for the country in favor of personal advancement.

    And THAT problem knows no Party loyalty...

  2. [2] 
    akadjian wrote:

    It's not the information itself which must remain under lock and key for half a century, it is which senator is supporting what massive corporate giveaway -- that's what has to remain secret. Given the average age of the Senate, this will mean that most of these senators will be long dead before the public is allowed to see which one of them is the biggest whore.

    Any bets as to how much press this gets in the "liberal media"?

    -David

  3. [3] 
    akadjian wrote:

    BTW- Hoping I'm wrong on this as would love to see it get coverage.

  4. [4] 
    Michale wrote:

    Any bets as to how much press this gets in the "liberal media"?

    None of it likely will make it to the MSM..

    The MSM simply has to protect the Democrats....

    BTW- Hoping I'm wrong on this as would love to see it get coverage.

    yea, lemme know how that hopey-changey stuff works out for ya.. :D

  5. [5] 
    akadjian wrote:

    The MSM simply has to protect the Democrats.

    You mean the corporations?

    lemme know how that hopey-changey stuff works out for ya.. :D

    For just a second, I almost thought you were against corruption in Congress.

    Then you had to ruin it ... :)

    -David

  6. [6] 
    Michale wrote:

    For just a second, I almost thought you were against corruption in Congress.

    I am...

    But I am against ALL corruption, regardless of whether it is Democrat or Republican corruption..

    That makes me somewhat unique amongst Weigantians.. :D

  7. [7] 
    akadjian wrote:

    But I am against ALL corruption, regardless of whether it is Democrat or Republican corruption.

    Glad to have you on our side.

    -David

  8. [8] 
    akadjian wrote:

    BTW, quick security question, Michale. Have you ever seen this before?

    https://www.ismartalarm.com/

    Thoughts? Other recommendations for a home security system?

    I hate the thought of having to pay some company $400 a year to monitor my place.

    -David

  9. [9] 
    Michale wrote:

    Thoughts? Other recommendations for a home security system?

    I hate the thought of having to pay some company $400 a year to monitor my place.

    My personal philosophy is that the minute you concede your security to a third party, you are no longer secure..

    On the other hand, I am in a position to where I can monitor my home and shop security nearly on a 24/7 basis...

    In my shop, I have had 2 laptops stolen in the last 4 years.. Both subjects were video taped and apprehended. Property was recovered within days..

    At home?? A 120 pound Rottweiler does the trick.. :D

    Seriously, I am not a big fan of monitored systems..

    You can build your own system with however many cameras you need, running on a home workstation. Depending on the number of cameras will determine the cost.. For under $3K, you can set up a high tech 5 Camera system w/ 24/7 motion detection/scheduled recording system that will retain recordings for however long you specify it

    I even monitor my home and shop cameras when I am sitting in the middle of the Atlantic on a cruise ship guzzling a Blue Hawaiian... :D

    Technology these days makes it easy to have a multi-thousand $$$ system for a fraction of the cost...

  10. [10] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Seriously, I am not a big fan of monitored systems.

    That's the deal with this iSmartAlarm, it's self-monitored. There's an app on your iPhone which lets you monitor everything.

    It comes w/ a motion detector, a couple contact sensors for doors/windows, and a camera.

    Kind of like the do-it-yourself kit for dummies. Like me. Cost: ~$500.

    Anyways ... I just ordered so will keep you posted. The security companies get you with all the ongoing fees & 3-year contracts. I'd almost rather be robbed! :)

    At home?? A 120 pound Rottweiler does the trick.. :D

    Too much to feed & walk and more importantly, my cat will never go for it :)

    Thanks for the advice!

    -David

    p.s. What really grinds me is that I had the idea this week for a security system which could all be controlled by your iPhone. Researching this company, they beat me by a little less than a year. They got funded by crowdsourcing and just started shipping. Alas ... security's probably not my business

  11. [11] 
    Michale wrote:

    Too much to feed & walk and more importantly, my cat will never go for it :)

    Seems to me the "cat" issue would take care of the "feed" issue... :D

    Sorry, couldn't resist.. I'm not much of a cat person.. :D

    The wife loves them though.. In our rural area, they take care of the snakes... Wife's not a big fan of snakes..

  12. [12] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Seems to me the "cat" issue would take care of the "feed" issue... :D

    Hahahah ... they have their endearing moments. But there's definitely a reason they're not called 'man's best friend' :)

  13. [13] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale -

    OK, you've got to give me points for attacking the Democrat responsible. But, as you said, this is a bipartisan thing. So why would the media response be partisan?

    Here's a wager for you -- I bet (how about 500 quatloos?) that BOTH the Right and the Left media will IGNORE this one, for the most part. Because, as we've been trying to teach you, the media's as bad as Congress -- when the corporate bigwigs call the shots, the politics of the situation simply doesn't matter.

    Think about it -- if this were truly only a Democratic problem (if, in your terms, the MSM ignored it in favor of Dems), then why wouldn't Fox and Rush be all over it? But they won't be, I guarantee it.

    As for both of you, whenever I go out, I yell to the cat (you can ask my wife for verification of this, as I'm not kidding -- home security is serious stuff, after all...): "Guard the house!"

    So far, a perfect record. Never had a problem with home security. According to Michale (warning, cheap shot coming up), vis-a-vis Bush, post-9/11, that means that the "watchcat" has been doing a bang-up job.

    Heh. Couldn't resist.

    -CW

  14. [14] 
    Michale wrote:

    OK, you've got to give me points for attacking the Democrat responsible. But, as you said, this is a bipartisan thing. So why would the media response be partisan?

    You ALWAYS get points for that. It's nothing new... It's what I have come to expect.. :D

    Think about it -- if this were truly only a Democratic problem (if, in your terms, the MSM ignored it in favor of Dems), then why wouldn't Fox and Rush be all over it? But they won't be, I guarantee it.

    Oh, I completely agree.. It's not a Right problem, a Left problem. It's a POLITICIAN problem.

    That's the point that many on here just don't seem to get..

    Politicians are the lowest form of life. Lower even than lawyers..

    And, try as everyone here might to deny it, Democrats are just another form of politician. They are no better than a Republican politician...

    So far, a perfect record. Never had a problem with home security. According to Michale (warning, cheap shot coming up), vis-a-vis Bush, post-9/11, that means that the "watchcat" has been doing a bang-up job.

    OUCH!! .... and the ref takes a point away!! :D hehehehehehe

    Michale

  15. [15] 
    Michale wrote:

    Oh, I completely agree.. It's not a Right problem, a Left problem. It's a POLITICIAN problem.

    Actually, when you get right down to, the American people are the problem. At least the ones who swear allegiance to a political Party...

    It's amazing what ya'all will let your Dem leaders get away with, in the name of Party loyalty...

    I mean, seriously.. NANCY PELOSI **saves** the NSA wiretapping program!??

    And (relatively speaking) no one on the Left says "boo"????

    If that doesn't show ya'all how far off the reservation ya'all have gone, NOTHING will...

    Michale

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