hearts and minds

August 5, 2006

Here’s looking at you, Congressman Jim

Representative Sensenbrenner’s annual questionnaire has again arrived in our mailboxes. There is not space for a proper critique, so I will make my limited case here by quoting just five “questions” he asks, and following each with a re-phrasing that allows for a wider response or focuses on the issue he hides.

Jim’s question #4…”The death tax, a tax on inheritance, has been cited as a contributor to the sale of many family farms and small businesses. Do you feel the federal government should tax inheritance even if this money was already taxed as earned income or capital gains?”

My question…”Under present law, in a few years the inheritance tax will apply only to estates of over one million dollars not including trusts and other additional exemptions. Often these large estates include substantial capital gains and other income that have not been subject to any prior tax. Do you feel the federal government should abolish current law and exempt these estates and their unlimited capital gains from any taxation?”

Jim’s question #8…”Who do you most trust to protect the environment in Wisconsin? (check only ONE)
a) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
b) The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
c) Local governments and individual landowners

My question…”Who do you trust to protect the environment in Wisconsin? (Rank your choices from “1” for most trust to “5” for least trust.)”
a) Environmental organizations like Wisconsin Stewardship Network and the Sierra Club
b) the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
c) the Department of Natural Resources
d) Local governments
e) Individual landowners

Jim’s question #9…”Should the federal government help parents send their children to the schools of their choice?”

My question…”Should the federal government use tax dollars to help parents send their children to private schools operated by corporations or sectarian religious institutions that are not subject to the same performance standards, teacher qualifications, or equal access and equal employment requirements that apply to public schools?”

Jim’s question #11…”Should unions be required to seek approval from their individual members before spending their mandatory dues on political campaigns?”

My question…”Should corporations be required to seek approval, on a one person-one vote basis, from their employees and shareholders before spending their funds on political campaigns?”

Jim’s question #12…”Should Congress approve ‘Trade Promotion Authority’ that would allow President Bush the same authority that President Clinton had to speed up trade negotiations in order to benefit American farmers and businesses?”

My question…”Should Congress approve only those international trade negotiations that prohibit slavery and child labor, provide environmental protections, protect national sovereignty, and contain open meetings provisions with democratic oversight?”

If the adult citizens of this Congressional District keep swallowing Jim Sensenbrenner’s propaganda without indigestion, our only hope is that youth, using their own mental bootstraps, can develop critical thinking before their minds snap shut, and before Jim and his fellow Neo(ndrathal)-Cons have their way with America.

Spring, 2001

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