Efforts by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to block all nominees to U.S. Courts of Appeals are even more unprecedented and unjustifiable than explained in Opinions: “Reject the ’Thurmond Rule’“ (Los Angeles Times Editorial, July 13).
The so-called “Thurmond Rule” Sen. McConnell is claiming to invoke has never prevented Floor votes on Committee-approved consensus, noncontroversial nominations. Those at issue include an unopposed Federal Circuit nominee and two others who are strongly supported by their Oklahoma and Maine home-state Republican senators.
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) said McConnell’s action was “stupid,” and that Robert Bacharach would make a great Tenth Circuit nominee for a Republican president. Maine GOP Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins stated that they would support a cloture motion to end any filibuster of First Circuit nominee William Kayatta, Jr.
Previously, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and others in the bi-partisan “Gang of 14” defused filibusters and approved President George W. Bush’s controversial Circuit Court nominees. Now, Sen. Graham could help confirm consensus nominees by joining with GOP senators who voted for South Carolina-based trial and appellate court judges whom President Obama nominated with Sen. Graham’s strong support.
GLENN SUGAMELI, attorney, Judging the Environment
The underlying cause of the worst of this country’s woes is our recklessly ballooning national debt. The solution to this horrendous problem is so patently obvious and so sure-fire effective that it hasn’t begun to grace the minds of those pundits who set our fiscal policies.
More on this in a minute, but first:
One group of gurus who that evidently have the president’s ear is his Council of Economic Advisors. Now, I studied economics at the prestigious university long enough to know that successfully influencing or predicting the outcome of economic trends has all the likelihood of success of a horoscope or an Ouija board. The field of economics has been populated by a tapestry of brilliant whackos from Keynes to Bernanke, and not one of them has had sufficient personal financial success to leverage himself out of the far left halls of academia, and into a life of Riley on the Riviera.
The fact that our economic policy is largely dictated by these hapless academics is the first reason that our obvious cure for our woes, to be described below, will not be pursued. To envision the second reason, picture trying to herd a bunch of cats. No matter how strong the herder or how worthwhile his goal, the cats will pay no attention to him, and will scatter and be guided solely by their own narrow self interest.
We there have a precise analogy to the workings of our Congress. Their sole job is to get themselves re-elected, by pandering to the selfish interests of their constituencies, with no regard whatever for the well-being of the nation.
So, what is this perfect solution to our staggering national debt and the economic woe that it is increasingly saddling us with? Simplicity itself: Have our Powers that Be mandate that every single agency in the U.S. government, without any exception, reduce its overall expenditures by five 5 percent, effective immediately. The following year, another five percent and so on, until our deficit is reduced to zero; and continuing on so that the national debt itself is reduced by five 5 percent annually, this until the debt reaches zero, where it must remain regardless of any and all pressures.
Everyone with his ox to gore will resist this. Take the Armed Forces: When I was in the USAF I earned $78 a month and I was happy as a clam. Nowadays, colonels earn six figures plus untold perks, while they would all be perfectly glad to work for half of that, overseeing the procurement of exotic billion-dollar weaponry that does the work of a foot-soldier.
Or take the farm subsidies. Years ago I was visiting my very wealthy godfather at his estate in Paoli, Pa. He proudly pointed out to me a large expanse of his manicured lawn and explained that the government was paying him tens of thousands of dollars each year (of which he had no need) not to farm it, which he had never considered doing anyway. This of course was nothing compared to the billions of our tax dollars paid annually to buy the votes of the millionaire farm conglomerates that need it like a hole in the head. And we could go on and on with examples of worthless expenditures that are part and parcel to the pols getting themselves re-elected, and which would be steadily pared by the above described plan.
So there we are. We have us a simple and foolproof program to save the country from our looming financial disaster, but don’t hold your breath. Trying to get our leaders to act in any other than their own personal self-interest is like herding cats.
JOSEPH G.. CLARKSON, York