2016 -- I was a page in 1940 for the Joe Tolbert faction of the Republican
Party. We were committed to Robert Taft and challenged by the Tom Dewey
faction. Dewey controlled the Credentials Committee; our Taft group got
unseated; but somehow we obtained the badges to get in the convention
hall in Philadelphia. I stood at the side door admitting the Taft delegates
to the gallery and we sung, "We want Willkie!" I worked closely
with the Republican Senators for thirty eight years in the U.S. Senate.
The Republican Party that had been headed by Taft, Eisenhower and Dole
is today headed by Donald Trump. Amazing.
1968 presidential race, Richard Nixon had Maurice Stans as chairman of
the financial effort. Stans operated on a "cash and carry" basis
which was embarrassing to Republicans and Democrats alike. Our immediate
reaction in Congress was a bipartisan effort to limit spending in campaigns
in 1971. A flaw in the '71 law was reenacted by a bipartisan Congress
in 1973 and President Nixon signed it into law. The Supreme Court in Buckley
v. Valeo reversed the limit on spending in campaigns by equating free
speech with free spending. For years, Congress has tried to correct the
mistake in Buckley with McCain-Feingold, public finance, etc. With unlimited
spending, a fury of fundraising began in Congress. On Washington's birthday,
February 22, a junior senator would read Washington's Farewell Address
at 12 o'clock and we'd have votes in the afternoon. No more! Lincoln's
Birthday, February 12, has been merged with Washington's for a 10-day
break for Congress to go to Hollywood and New York to raise money.
now has a break to fundraise -- a St. Patrick's Day break, Easter break,
Memorial Day break, a Fourth of July break, a recess for the month of
August, a Labor Day break, Columbus Day break, and I even had a fundraiser
on the Friday after Thanksgiving. The Policy Committee lunch every Thursday
has been cancelled so that the Republican and Democratic senators can
go to the party headquarters to fundraise for two hours. Located amongst
10,000 lobbyists, Congress fundraises morning, noon and night. This has
allowed the lobbyists to control Congress. The lobbyists tell the Speaker
in the House or Leader in the Senate when to call the roll. People constantly
complain about the "do nothing" Congress. On the contrary, Congress
works hard - at fundraising. Congress works hard for themselves - not
the country. Amazing.
struggled to correct the mistake of Buckley, I introduced a joint resolution
to amend the Constitution, empowering Congress to limit spending in campaigns.
The resolution received a bipartisan majority but not the two-thirds required
for a joint resolution to amend. Republicans were in control of the Senate
my last three years in the Senate -- 2002, 2003 and 2004. They wanted
a vote on a joint resolution to amend the Constitution to ban flag burning.
They asked that I withhold my amendment to limit spending. I refused and
no joint resolution was called for consideration my last three years in
the U.S. Senate. Once spending is limited, fundraising is limited, partisanship
diminishes; gridlock is broken, and Citizens United can be corrected.
But none of the 535 members of Congress wants to limit spending. Amazing.
sixty four countries compete in globalization with a value-added tax (VAT).
The value added is merely the cost of doing business like the light bill,
the salary of the delivery truck driver, etc. The VAT countries aggressively
use their VAT to promote production. For example, BMW manufactures the
engine and parts in Germany, delivers them tax-free to Greer, South Carolina,
for assembly and exports two million BMWs back to Europe. Volkswagen,
Toyota and Nissan all operate on the same basis -- helping to put Detroit
into bankruptcy. Ecco, a Danish company, uses its 25 percent VAT to deliver
shoes to Nashville for redistribution over the South. It's amazing there
is no complaint about the competition. In fact, not having a VAT causes
manufacturers in the U.S. to go broke. A successful entrepreneur in the
U.S. must pay the 35 percent corporate tax on his production and when
his exports reach China a 17 percent VAT. A U.S. competitor can produce
the same product in China, import it tax free into the U.S. and put the
entrepreneur out of business. Imagine a country where you can't produce
for a profit. That's the United States. Amazing.
Senator Fritz Hollings of South Carolina served 38 years in the United States Senate, and for many years was Chairman of the Commerce, Space, Science & Transportation Committee. He is the author of Making Government Work (University of South Carolina Press, 2008).
© 2016, Ernest F. Hollings. All rights reserved. Contact us for republication permission.
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