Monday, September 29, 2008

Jeff Miller Smack-Down

At about 10:35 am CDT today, Florida panhandle congressman Jeff Miller (R-Chucklehead) took to the floor of the House of Representatives for his assigned two minutes of debate on the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 -- probably the most important economic legislation since the New Deal -- and stuck his foot in his mouth. Twice.

It was a deeply embarrassing moment for everyone in North Florida who has to call this guy "our congressman." Miller was elected to be a law-maker, but it seems he can't research or read proposed laws! Either that, or he reads pre-cooked, out-of-date staff memos with utterly no comprehension.

Miller used his two minutes of fame on the House floor to utter two falsities: (1) the fanciful theory that the cure to the banking and financial crisis is more tax cuts for wealthy corporations; and (2) his erroneous understanding that the bailout bill being debated today still contains the Bush administration's ridiculous blank check for $700 billion with no judicial oversight.

1. Tax Cuts for the Wealthy?

Miller's first point is laughable, of course. More tax cuts for wealthy corporations will increase liquidity of our frozen credit system? That makes as much sense as urging the poor to eat pastry. ("Que ne mangent-ils de la croûte de pâté?')

Miller is dead wrong on the facts, too, when he claims U.S. corporate tax rates are among the highest in the world. Check it out for yourself right here. For those who don't have the time to read and compare international tax rate charts, business-friendly Smart Money Magazine summarizes the reality (boldface added) --
You may have heard: U.S. corporations face one of the highest income tax rates in the world, though the mention of "rate" is often enough excised, so that what comes through is the assertion that corporations pay too much in taxes. This is simply untrue if your basis for comparison is the developed world. The truth is that while the 35% corporate income tax rate is high indeed, the creativity and global reach of U.S. corporations make them among the most lightly levied.

Between 2000 and 2005, U.S. corporate taxes amounted to 2.2% of the GDP. The average for the 30 mostly rich member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development was 3.4%.
2. No Judicial Review?

As for Miller's second point, once again he shows how fundamentally stupid, lazy, and ineffectual he is. The man appears to be talking about Treasury Secretary Paulson's three-page proposal of nearly two weeks ago. That was plainly a non-starter, as Bill Moyers remarked the same week Paulson pitched it.

After Miller (thankfully) was forced to sit down by his own Republican floor manager, Rep. Barney Frank had to remind our congressman (see the video below) that Section 119 at page 58 of the bill being debated expressly provides for agency and judicial review.

The video below, which concludes with Barney Frank's smack-down of Jeff Miller, is all the proof you need that Jeff Miller should not be in Congress. He's an embarrassment to all of North Florida.

Jeff Miller Gets Tutored in
How to Read a Bill

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