Decoding Dennis Ross

Dennis Ross

Dennis Ross
April 15, 2009 - Lakeland, FL

Dennis Ross took to The Ledger Wednesday at some length to explain how easy and simple it is to understand his position on the debt ceiling and budget issues.

“Figuring out my position on an issue is pretty easy these days. All one has to do is ask me–something The Ledger never bothered to do.”

Well, I did ask him on Facebook a few weeks back, and let me assure you it was not easy to figure out his answer, and I think of myself as pretty smart. (I’ll let the reader judge about that). Indeed, the whole thing degenerated into the typical digital Facebook riot with his supporters arguing with me over what he actually said or meant and all of us calling each other dishonest.

And after reading this op/ed, I’m no clearer on his ultimate vision for our economic and government structure than I was before. I suspect that’s a feature, not a bug.

So let’s cut all the weasel words and semantics and get down to the only position that really matters for an elected official: his or her votes.

Dennis Ross has voted for national default (either full or partial) on debt we’ve already accrued through war and care for the elderly. And he voted to end Medicare for people under 54–and stick them with the full bill for everybody over 54. Period. Full stop.

Neither became law, but they are his positions no matter what excuses or disclaimers he offers. (And Dennis, feel free to offer them here. You’re always welcome. But we talk back.)

For people who are today 53 or younger, Dennis Ross would turn you loose with a voucher or other subsidy and tell you to buy health insurance when you’re 65 or older. Of course, no one wants to insure you at that age because you are old, and the elderly are expensive to care for and a terrible bet for private insurance. That’s why we created Medicare in the first place.

If you are 53 or younger, Dennis Ross’ plan, which is actually Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan, will force you to pay the full cost of your parents’ generation Medicare and then find much higher out-of-pocket costs when you age in to the rump of elder care that is left. I guess that’s one way to approach the “$50,000 debt burden” of each babe born in America about whom Dennis expresses such concern. But I consider it the most appalling piece of generational warfare I’ve ever seen. And, by the way, old people, once they’ve used you to kill Medicare for the somewhat younger, do you think they’ll sit around for 15 years or come after you. After all, tax cuts for “job creators” must be paid for in the land of austerity.

All that said, it is striking that Dennis would vote for the dismantling of Medicare in light of this paragraph in his op/ed on Wednesday, which is the only real piece of substance in the piece:

“To make matters worse, the cuts will not come from waste or broken programs, but instead are supposed to come from Medicare and Defense.”

Why would you vote to do away with a hugely popular program that by your own reckoning isn’t wasteful or broken? This is deep ignorance or wanton dishonesty.

Anyone, in either party, who is remotely serious or knowledgeable about deficit issues knows that we don’t actually have a general government deficit problem: on the spending side, we have a health care spending on the elderly and military scope problem. On the revenue side we have a low tax and slow economy problem. Go ask Adam Putnam, one of the last serious Republicans left, if you doubt me.

Take it from Dennis’ fellow Republican, Rand Paul, who noted accurately: you could cut all non-military discretionary spending–all of it–and still not balance the budget. Discretionary spending is not our problem.

I suspect Dennis really does understand this deep down, which is why he agreed to the Paul Ryan Medicare detonation act. But in political and government resource wars, it helps, politically, to pretend like you’re not cutting the things you’re cutting.

And what exactly is discretionary spending? It’s all the stuff the government does that you like. It’s Pell grants, student loans, national parks, new roads and bridges, customs agents, border security, federal education spending, etc., etc. ad nauseum, forever.

It could, in theory, provide the money to keep the unfunded college counselors that have Cindy Ross fighting for money and pouting that she’s not getting it.

“What we have learned from speaking with hundreds of Polk County citizens and business leaders is that they are very disappointed and right-out angry with the School Board for not finding a way to fund this necessary program,” Cindy Ross, the club’s college and career campaign chairwoman said in an email. Ross is the wife of U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Lakeland).

One congressman’s waste and broken program is his wife’s vital investment, I guess.

Kudos to The Ledger for actually fully identifying her this time. I’ll take that as small victory for the ever-powerful Lakeland Local. So is the new public emphasis on these counselors’ benefit to minority and low-income students. By all means, we should have a discussion on the demographic breakdown of the kids helped by George Jenkins High’s college counselors.

As I wrote before, what kept Cindy Ross away from the begging podium the last two years was federal aid to states, otherwise known as the stimulus, otherwise known as discretionary spending. Remember that? It was that big hunk of money that kept people like college counselors on the job. When it ran out, the economy started tanking again. Not a single Republican voted for it in the House. Not one supports it now, including Dennis Ross.

In his piece, Dennis wrote: ‘…if you just read The Ledger, you would think it was solely my fault because of my militant intransigence and hatred of the elderly, the poor and the middle class. (I am being slightly sarcastic.)”

I don’t know or remotely care who he hates or loves. But I know what he voted for. Everything else is just noise.


Creative Commons License photo credit: Chuck Welch for Lakeland Local

5 thoughts on “Decoding Dennis Ross

  1. You’re not the only person who has had a hard time getting Dennis to act normal — I had a little better luck than you –until he threw me off his Facebook and then asked me to NOT email him — you were there, Billy, and you know I didn’t say or do anything that was threatening, abuse, or harassment on his Facebook (like spam or overflow messages) — I just disagreed with him STRONGLY but politely.

  2. You’re not the only person who has had a hard time getting Dennis to act normal — I had a little better luck than you –until he threw me off his Facebook and then asked me to NOT email him — you were there, Billy, and you know I didn’t say or do anything that was threatening, abuse, or harassment on his Facebook (like spam or overflow messages) — I just disagreed with him STRONGLY but politely.

  3. There are actually THREE (3) news items about Ross I’d like to bring to your attention: #1 — right above, I allege that he kicked me off his Facebook for no reason (Billy Townsend was on Ross’ Facebook & remembers whether or not I did anything inappropriate) — and then #2 — I allege Ross told me to NOT ever email him again, even though I did nothing to provoke him (threats, spam, etc.) — something NO other elected official has ever done in the history of this nation, but now #3 — This just in: A liberal organisation has accused Ross of dishonourable *lying* when he made a campaign pledge to an advocacy group –and then turned right around and told The News Chief (of Winter Haven FL) quite the (mutually exclusive) opposite — in the front page news of The Register, my paper, I post documentation of these — I had initially posted documentation in my post above, but because of an honest misunderstanding, those links were deleted or redacted in my post — so, instead, I would direct you to the 3 or 4 front page news items at The Register, and solicit your feedback & opinion:

    http://GordonWatts.com / or / http://GordonWayneWatts.com are the official links to my online research paper, The Register. Both are unlimited bandwidth programmes, but I realise one site could be down, so I have 2 different web hosts in case 1 is down.

    Thank you for any thoughts or feedback you can give me, Lakeland local and friends.

    Gordon Wayne Watts
    Editor-in-Chief, The Register

  4. There are actually THREE (3) news items about Ross I’d like to bring to your attention: #1 — right above, I allege that he kicked me off his Facebook for no reason (Billy Townsend was on Ross’ Facebook & remembers whether or not I did anything inappropriate) — and then #2 — I allege Ross told me to NOT ever email him again, even though I did nothing to provoke him (threats, spam, etc.) — something NO other elected official has ever done in the history of this nation, but now #3 — This just in: A liberal organisation has accused Ross of dishonourable *lying* when he made a campaign pledge to an advocacy group –and then turned right around and told The News Chief (of Winter Haven FL) quite the (mutually exclusive) opposite — in the front page news of The Register, my paper, I post documentation of these — I had initially posted documentation in my post above, but because of an honest misunderstanding, those links were deleted or redacted in my post — so, instead, I would direct you to the 3 or 4 front page news items at The Register, and solicit your feedback & opinion:

    http://GordonWatts.com / or / http://GordonWayneWatts.com are the official links to my online research paper, The Register. Both are unlimited bandwidth programmes, but I realise one site could be down, so I have 2 different web hosts in case 1 is down.

    Thank you for any thoughts or feedback you can give me, Lakeland local and friends.

    Gordon Wayne Watts
    Editor-in-Chief, The Register

  5. ** BILLY WROTE: “Dennis Ross has voted for national default (either full or partial) on debt we’ve already accrued through war and care for the elderly. And he voted to end Medicare for people under 54–and stick them with the full bill for everybody over 54. Period. Full stop.”

    ** MY QUESTION: When exactly did he case both of these votes, particularly, the latter? –I ask this because in the Issues section of his page, Ross comes off as a liberal who supports continuing welfare programs such as Social Security and Medicare –where Dennis writes this: “We must expand and strengthen Medicare Advantage and TRICARE for our Veterans.” http://dennisross.house.gov/Issues/Issue/?IssueID=17116

    ** YOUR question to me, the reader: “Why would you vote to do away with a hugely popular program that by your own reckoning isn’t wasteful or broken? This is deep ignorance or wanton dishonesty.”

    ** MY answer to YOUR question:

    # 1 – First, it (meaning Social Security, Medicare, even the food stamps that I, myself, admit to getting) are ALL **IMMORAL** –According to my religion anyhow. I am a CHRISTIAN who believes both Isaiah 58:6-7 and Matthew 25:31-46 (you can look them up), which state clearly and unambiguously that the CITIZEN, not the GOVERNMENT has the duty to take care of the hungry, needy, yes, even the homeless. Acts 6:1-3 adds in a small role for the church. (By the way, JEWS accept the Isaiah passage, and even MUSLIMS agree with us here, since the 5 Pillars of ISLAM include alms-giving by the citizen, NOT the government LOL.)(Note: While I readily admit to getting food stamps, I see it as getting back my tax dollars, but I’d still vote this illegal, immoral, and impractical program right out of existence if I could pull the levers in the Congressional vote just once –and I explain why in this post.)# 2 – It’s also **ILLEGAL** – Actually worse than that – Unconstitutional: The U.S. Constitution does NOT permit, allow, or authorise ANY use of ANY tax monies for these social programs. The argument most commonly used in support of social programs (Social Security, Medicare, Food Stamps, etc.) is the first clause of Article I, Section 8, of the U.S. constitution, which says: “The Congress shall have Power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States.” Notice, if you would, however, that this clause (sometimes called the “General Welfare Clause” or the “Spending Power Clause”) does NOT grant Congress the power to pass laws for use of tax monies for the general welfare of the country; this power is reserved ONLY to the states through the Tenth Amendment. Rather, the ‘Welfare Clause’ ONLY authorises Congress to spend federal monies to carry out the powers and duties specifically enumerated in the subsequent clauses of Article I, Section 8, and elsewhere in the Constitution (e.g., regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, coin Money, establish Post Offices and Post Roads, Armies & Navy, declare War, etc.), NOT to address the infinite needs of the general welfare, such as homelessness, medical care, hunger, etc.# 3 – **IMPRACTICAL** –for three (3) reasons:(i) There is widespread fraud and abuse in the system –this alone is sufficient cause for the system to fall, since dishonesty and corruption never last.The abuse is 2-fold: **FIRST**, case workers were getting laid off and social security offices shutting down, and The Register, my paper, documented many cases of those workers putting healthy people on the system so they would be able to meet their “case load” quota –and not get laid off. Further proof of that is the Social Security office at southwest corner of 39/Collins and MLK/Haines in Plant city, Florida, which is NO LONGER there: It got shut down -apparently not enough work there for the case-workers. **SECOND**, dishonest citizens eager to get ‘benefits’ when they are not truly disabled complicate the problem.(ii) Overhead: For every dollar we get out to pay on some disabled or retired person, we must put in a larger amount, say, $1.20, in order to pay overhead costs, rent, utilities, labour costs for case workers, etc.(iii) Based on the changing demographics, people are living longer than in times past, and, at the rate we’re going, Social Security WILL go bankrupt VERY SOON –unless *major* changes are made in Social Security, Medicare, etc. -as I said back in 2004. (“Major” changes would be things like raising the retirement age, increasing payroll taxes, etc.) In fact, it’s a Ponzi scheme, since there are more people scheduled to draw on it than are those slated to pay in to the system. (That is why the healthy diet/lifestyle solution above is the ONLY solution to the growing healthcare problem, as the United States slips lower in metrics such as cancer, life-span, obesity, etc. Therefore, the American economy WILL soon crash and burn if Social Security, Medicare, and other social programs are not sunsetted and eliminated. Believe it -or not, but mark my words: It WILL happen.IN CONCLUSION: Remember Dr. Ron Paul’s oft-cited quote? (“When I say cut taxes, I don’t mean fiddle with the code. I mean abolish the income tax and the IRS, and replace them with nothing.”) Well, I’m going to make my *own* quote, and you can quote me on this:”When I say cut social programs, I don’t mean fiddle with the code. I mean abolish Social Security and the Medicare, and replace them with nothing.” –Gordon Wayne WattsSo, in conclusion, as you can tell from prior posts (and my own online web-paper), I’m NO FAN of the good Congressman, U.S. Rep. Dennis A. Ross (R-Fla.12), but on your criticisms of him on these narrow points I must respectfully dissent and for the reasons stated above.PS: Sorry 2B so long-winded and post so often here, but this is an eternal topic here – and: If we fixed the economy, then we’d be more able to help the needy, as God and common sense both say.Gordon Wayne Watts

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