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Taking NTU’s bait

Since a lady named Kristina Rasmussen was nice enough to share this with me, I’ll bite. Yesterday the National Taxpayers’ Union released their Congressional ratings for 2007. As an overview, Rasmussen noted:

The Rating provided clues to how Republicans, now in the minority, responded to their 2006 drubbing at the polls. House GOP Members seemed to have taken the election results as a referendum on their declining fiscal discipline, as the average pro-taxpayer score rose nine points to 69 percent. Senate Republicans, however, didn’t seem to get the same memo. Their average fell nine points to 66 percent in 2007. Democrats in both chambers saw drops in average scores: 16 percent to 6 percent in the House and 15 percent to 8 percent in the Senate.

Neither of these scores were surprising to me. On the House side, it’s likely many of the House Republicans who were defeated in 2006 were among the worst offenders on the NTU’s rating scale. One thing the Democrats ran on was ending what they termed the “culture of corruption” and being in favor of big spending was seen as corrupt. Having said that, a 69 percent overall rating is still far too low for my tastes – but it’s certainly better than the lowly 6 percent the Democrats maintained. Obviously Democrats promised reforms but once they became the majority party and took over control of pork spending, suddenly wasteful spending became much less of an issue for them. Imagine that.

Meanwhile, Republicans on the Senate side by and large have tended to be only slightly to the right of center so a drop in their overall ratings wasn’t a shock at all. Many GOP Senators are pretty prodigious porkers who are just as bad as Democrats when it comes to attempting to buy re-election through the proliferation of pork they pass for return to their home states. (It’s why I feel the Seventeeth Amendment should be repealed.)

In looking at the all-time House numbers, the 69 percent figure from 2007 is a high-water mark not seen since 1996, and second only to the post-Contract With America 83 percent figure that was achieved in 1995. (That was back when Republicans were serious about shrinking government, sadly those days and that opportunity have passed us by.) The Senate also peaked in 1995 at 86 percent.

Among our elected officials in Maryland, here is how they rated:

  1. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R – MD 6th) – 76% (up from 63% in 2006)
  2. Rep. Wayne Gilchrest (R – MD 1st) – 26% (his all-time lowest percentage and 5th straight year of decline)
  3. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D – MD) – 6% (ranked 73rd of 100 Senators after being ranked 99th in 2005 and 2006)
  4. Sen. Ben Cardin (D – MD) – 5% (his all-time lowest percentage, including time served in the House)
  5. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D – MD 8th) – 5% (his all-time lowest percentage)
  6. Rep. Albert Wynn (D- MD 4th) – 5% (his all-time lowest percentage)
  7. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D – MD 7th) – 4% (his all-time lowest percentage)
  8. Rep. C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger (D – MD 2nd) – 4% (his all-time lowest percentage)
  9. Rep. John Sarbanes (D – MD 3rd) – 4%
  10. Rep. Steny Hoyer (D – MD 5th) – 3% (his all-time lowest percentage)

Notice a trend here? Once the Democrats became the majority, they started acting in the best interests of their special interests, none of whom apparently are taxpayers.

By the way, if you’re one of those folks who think a “moderate” Democrat like Frank Kratovil would be a centrist Congressman, bear in mind the story of Maryland’s 2nd District, which is now Democrat “Dutch” Ruppersberger’s area. In five years of NTU rankings, his average percentage is 14% and highest grade was 23 percent in 2003. The man he replaced (a guy you might have heard of), Bob Ehrlich, averaged 63% and never was lower than 55 percent. I’m predicting right now if Kratovil wins he’ll have no better than the paltry 26% Wayne Gilchrest put up this year and likely far worse. On the other hand, I’m confident Andy Harris would get at least a 70% NTU rating and 90% wouldn’t surprise me at all.

And the NTU also had this to say about our Presidential hopefuls:

Presidential candidates Sens. (Hillary) Clinton (D-NY) and Barack Obama (D-IL) saw significant decreases in their pro-taxpayer scores between 2006 and 2007: 17 percent to 3 percent and 16 percent to 5 percent, respectively. In 2007, however, scores for both Senators were based on less than three-fourths of the weighted total of votes cast. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), was not issued a score this year because he voted on less than half of the weighted total of votes cast. In 2006, he earned a score of 88 percent.

That’s part of the choice you’ll have in November – who do you think will be a taxpayer’s friend and who will be our foe?

Crossposted (with additional results for my friends up in Delaware) on monoblogue.






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