‘Tis the season to be jolly, and if you are Congress, it is also the season to stuff as many pet projects into the next omnibus spending bill as you possibly can. Of course they seem to do this 365 days a year. There is one measure, however, lurking in the recessed corners of Capitol Hill that, I believe, is the very embodiment of a philosophy that has damaged or destroyed many of the great countries of the past. It is the “I know what’s best for you” mentality. When it’s your parents talking to you this way, it’s called life. When it’s your government talking to you this way, it’s called socialism.
Meet House Bill 2977. On the surface this only seems to be a benign attempt to introduce a dollar coin into the American currency. After all, the previous three attempts: the Susan B. Anthony coin, the Sacajawea coin and of course the recently terminated presidential coin have been such raging successes, right? Folks that are my age and older can remember how the Susan B Anthony’s were often confused with quarters and, to be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Sacajawea or presidential coin, other than the old Eisenhower. These endeavors were always sold as a deficit reducing measure because, after all, coins last much longer than dollar bills. There’s only one problem – WE DON’T WANT THE DAMN THINGS!!
But of course Congress, in their infinite wisdom, has decided that once again the best thing for all of us is to lug around pounds of dollar coins in lieu of the flimsy bill. What is different this time, is the fact that this will not be a voluntary act. HR 2977 calls for the mandated change from a paper dollar to a coin. In other words, you’re getting them whether you like them are not!
HR 2977 was created as one of the many genius deficit reducing plans given forth by that counsel of legends – the super-committee. You remember the super-committee don’t you? Twelve of the most partisan people in Washington stuffed together in a room trying to agree on what to order for lunch. Having that fail miserably didn’t exactly instill a lot of confidence in me that this all-star group would be able to come to an agreement on deficit reduction. Of course, we all know that the super committee died an infamous death, it’s body still rotting in the open. Yet HR 2977 managed to stay alive, hiding out in the basement of government stupidity, waiting for its chance to shine in the wee hours of the morning while no one is watching. This is the only way a bill like this will ever pass, because if the American public got hold of the notion that there currency was being changed by mandate, they would have a collective conniption fit!
This is much more than just having the extra burden (pun intended) on the American people. It shows once again that our current group of lawmakers has no actual clue as to how our economy really works. It makes you wonder if any of them (all of which are 1%-ers by the way) have the first clue as to what a regulation like this will do to small businesses. For example, what if you owned a Laundromat? Perhaps your company supplies vending machines or cash recognition machines or video-game machines. Will Congress cover the thousands of dollars it will cost these businesses to comply with this new set of regulations? This is a rhetorical question folks, please don’t fracture your head trying to think about it!
Of course not! People who prefer symbolism over real substance never think this far into the future. They just want to publicity that goes along with them proclaiming to the unwashed masses that they have reduced their deficit! Reducing our freedom to choose, and in this case reject, something as fundamental to a society as the appearance of currency, doesn’t seem to be nearly as important as getting those cameras trained on you so that you can tell everyone that you worked hard into the night to reduce the national debt.
You can’t swing a dead cat in Washington DC without hearing some politician give a sound bite about how important the small business owner is to the engine of our economy. Yet at the same time, they don’t have the first clue how that engine really works. If they did, they wouldn’t even consider a bill like 2977, much less pass it.
The last thing they want is a proposal like this to reach the light of day before it is passed in the dark of night. So in keeping with previous American terrorists like George Washington, Paul Revere, Samuel Adams and Thomas Jefferson, I am proud to scream about this at the top of my lungs!
Let’s think about what this is going to do to small businesses. If it is indeed passed, we already know from previous experiences that the American public will simply not tolerate a dollar coin, especially when it is being forced upon them. But this won’t stop another unfunded mandate from being dumped on the small business owner. Of course, in order for the small business owner to stay in compliance and continue to be a law-abiding businessperson, they will have to comply with the new regulations regardless of the cost. Then, when it is repealed over the outcry, these same business owners will have to pay again to convert back.
A useless regulation, an uproar, and thousands of dollars out of the pocket of the true engineers of our economic train – this will be the legacy of HR 2977. That and the fact that this is yet another testimony to the arrogance of those on Capitol Hill and in the White House who think they can run our lives better than we can.
When you rob Peter to pay Paul, you can guarantee one thing – that the supporters of Paul will always vote for you. It’s bad enough that we seem to have crossed a line whereby there are more voters, or at least potential voters, that are on Paul’s side. This is usually when, as Alexis De Tocqueville said, a democratic society realizes it can vote itself billions of dollars out of the public till. Unfortunately, this is going to continue as long as we have a majority of people who are perfectly willing to have a top-down, nanny state, “take your medicine like good boys and girls” society.
If you’re frustrated as hell like I am about this, I suggest you sit down and write a letter, pick up the phone or at least shoot an e-mail to your representative and senators. Let them know that not every person in America has been anesthetized and some of them are still ready to fight for the country that was given to them. Let them know that silly measures like HR 2977 are completely and totally unacceptable and that our memories of things like this will last well past November 6, 2012.