Words from Washington

Rep. Mike McIntyre has sent an e-mail letter titled, “New Beginnings.” He now serves a re-drawn area in North Carolina’s Seventh Congressional District. Democrat McIntyre very narrowly won another of many terms in Washington against a Republican challenger.

Mike, as he is affectionately known hereabouts, is a personally good guy; a “blue-dog” Democrat considered “conservative” in his views on traditional Southern values. For years, he’s been supported by many so-called Republicans. Some of us wonder why he hasn’t registered with the Party, at least based on what he tells his constituents. However, Mike consistently rolls the federal pork-barrel—largesse siphoned from the states and packaged for distribution in Washington, D.C.—down to North Carolina and ladles it on various politically favored interests.

True conservatives oppose him because he most often votes to support Democrat legislation that increases wasteful spending; raises taxes and debt; and imposes excessive regulation on state citizens. It’s said that Party leaders “allow” him to occasionally vote against unpopular bills, such as Obamacare, so voters will keep another Democrat in Congress.

I like Mike personally. But I can’t abide his support for bigger central government. Of course, he deflects that fact by telling constituents that he supports “the needs of our veterans, military bases, farmers, small businesses, and schools”—and North Carolina Christmas tree growers, and our coastal environment, etc. etc. Further, Mike says he continues “to work to improve our communities which we call home.” It’s the motherhood-and-apple pie appeal so common with our political class. Few of us oppose motherhood, so why not vote for Mike?

Well, let me count the ways.

First, it’s not his job or any government official to “improve our communities.” That’s the job of the people who live and work in them. Further, accepting federal government “grants” comes with a heavy price and other burdens: eventually shifting the costs to state citizens, and imposing additional restrictions and bureaucracies on them. Ultimately, we become more dependent on the federal government; wards of the leviathan state and lose our independence. It happens slowly, over time. Many receivers of stuff don’t realize, or care what’s happening.

When a political representative tells us he “supports needs” beware. It means he is willing to forcefully take money from some citizens and distribute it to others he favors. He feels a debt of gratitude for their votes. Further, the “needs” we are told exist are really never-ending wants from an infinite number of interest groups anxious to get something at no apparent cost.

Rep. McIntyre and other purveyors of the public purse argue that we state citizens send more money to Washington than we get back. Why not get all we can? That diverts attention from the fundamental problem: we send too much of our earnings to Washington. We should expect our representatives to fight for us to keep more of what we earn.

McIntyre says he and his staff, with offices in North Carolina and a “legislative team” in Washington, “help look out for the interests of Eastern North Carolina.” They can “resolve problems on a variety of topics with federal government agencies” and help us “navigate the federal government” to ensure that we receive fair, timely treatment.

That could be helpful, but the way I see it free citizens of the state shouldn’t need teams of people in Washington and elsewhere to protect us from the federal government. Because we do, it’s clear that the central government is too large and oppressive. Rep. McIntyre should, rather than contributing to growth of overpowering central government, be fighting to reduce its size and power.

His website is http://www.house.gov/mcintyre.

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About R. E. Smith Jr.

Mr. Smith writes essays and commentary on politics, American history, environment, higher education and culture. He's been published in print media and at blog sites for about 25 years. Smith's formal education includes B.S. and M.S. degrees from the State University of New York and Syracuse University. He has earned a 21-credit hour Certificate in Professional Writing from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. Training/work experience: NYS Ranger School; U. S. Army, Corp of Engineers; soil scientist and forester with USDA; Assoc. Professor at SUNY; real estate agent; small business owner.
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