While the special election to fill the 1st Congressional District is still taking shape, U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo has been appointed to replace the late Alan Nunnelee on the House Appropriations Committee (HAC).
Former Sen. Trent Lott said that Mississippi has been represented on the Appropriations committee since the 1930s and that losing that position would have been a big loss to the Gulf Coast and the state. “I was just depressed that we’d lost that slot,” Lott said. “So with Palazzo going on, that’s really important — important for the district but also important for him. For those federal installations we have down there on the Coast this is really big.”
Since this powerful committee writes the bills that determine where and how tax dollars are spent, the state benefits from the representation. Senator Thad Cochran chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee where he has established a strong history of bringing federal dollars into the state. Since Mississippi is dependent upon federal aid and routinely topping the list of state budgets supported with federal dollars (42.9% of the 2013 budget was provided by the federal government), having representation on the Appropriations committees of both the House and Senate is vital.
Rep. Palazzo should benefit politically because this position greatly expands his influence beyond that of his roles on the Armed Services, Homeland Security, and Space and Technology Committees, some of which he’ll have to relinquish. With Tea Party favorite and state Sen. Chris McDaniel expressing interest in the 4th Congressional District seat, Palazzo’s new-found status should provide give him an edge in future elections.
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While Steven Palazzo and Gene Taylor are capturing the most media attention, Tom Carter is also in the race to represent the Republican Party in Mississippi’s 4th Congressional District. The lifelong Mississippian was interviewed on NewsRadio 104.9 FM Gulf Coast Mornings.
Identifying himself as a businessman who has never run for public office (nor voted for nor with Rep. Nancy Pelosi), Carter discussed the need to reduce burdens on businesses to strengthen the economy. The interview also included Obamacare, the national debt, career politicians, and the defense presence on the Gulf Coast.
Hear the entire interview from the NewRadio 104.9FM website.
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Based on a WalletHub study, Mississippi is the state most dependent upon federal funding and brings in $3.07 of federal funds for every $1 in taxes sent to Washington, DC. Per the Tax Foundation, federal funding accounts for 45.8% of Mississippi’s revenue.
Although Mississippi is considered a “Red State,” or politically conservative, it ranks among the highest in federal dollars received per tax dollar paid. With a political ideology that decries government hand-outs, Mississippi is “having its cake and eating it too.”
Influential leadership in Congress over the last 60 years has contributed to Mississippi’s current fiscal situation. Sen. John C. Stennis (D) chaired the Senate Armed Services Committee from 1969-1981 and the Senate Appropriations Committee from 1987-1989. Former Sen. Trent Lott, even though a Republican, continued that legacy started by Stennis and rose to Senate Majority Leader before his resignation in 2007. Likewise, Sen. Thad Cochran (R) has also done much to bring federal funds into the state and, if re-elected to a 7th term, is in line to chair the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee.
The WalletHub study didn’t include just welfare payments but also included federal contracts and federal employees’ salaries. With the benefit of over a half-century of federal dollars and jobs pouring into the state, Mississippi still ranks near the bottom in several performance measures.
According to Politico and Cottonmouth, state Sen. Chris McDaniel has even identified Mississippi as a “welfare state.” With endless campaign ads currently touting Cochran’s ability to bring federal funds to the state, Sen. Cochran tweeted this:
Wow. Did Cochran just undermine his entire record? Ever wonder why our country is $17 Trillion in debt?
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Ron Vincent is one of 5 candidates certified by the Miss. Republican Party for the June 3rd Primary election. Vincent squared-off against Steven Palazzo in the 2012 Primary and received 18.7% of the vote to Palazzo’s 73.9% according to Ballotpedia.
Born in Hattiesburg, Vincent retired from GE Energy and has international business experience according to his campaign website. He is listed as the organizer of the Hattiesburg Tea Party, a member of Main Street Baptist Church, and was honorably discharged after 3 years in the U.S. Army.
Based on his website, the following are his positions on various issues:
- Economy: Remove barriers to business and growth, develop domestic energy sources, reform and strengthen education system.
- Constitutionally Limited Government: Supports term limits and abolishing the EPA, HUD, and Department of Education. Wants to restore constitutional checks and balances and restore government by legislation instead of regulation and executive order.
- Fiscal Responsibility: Wants to balance the federal budget, pay-off national debt, eliminate government bailouts and corporate take-overs, reform of entitlement programs, and audit the Federal Reserve.
- Tax Reform: Supports the Fair Tax and abolition of the IRS.
- Obamacare: Supports the complete repeal of Obamacare.
- National Defense: Secure the borders and enforce immigration laws. Restore military strength, end fighting undeclared wars. End foreign treaties and get out of the United Nations.
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In an op. ed. for the Sun Herald, former Indiana congressman and President of Club for Growth Chris Chocola painted Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) as having a liberal record during his 42 years serving in Washington, DC. He cites the American Conservative Union as having given Cochran the lowest conservative rating in Congress during the Obama era.
While some assertions are misleading (Mississippi receives more federal dollars than it sends to Washington so it is not reasonable to say that Mississippi tax dollars go to other states), the principles are right on target. For every dollar in pork Sen. Cochran has brought to the state, he has voted to send many more dollars of pork to other states to receive those states’ Senators’ support for his pork. Chocola writes,
A lot is made about projects in Mississippi that Thad Cochran got federal money for. What his supporters (many of whom are lobbyists who are paid to get politicians like Cochran to appropriate money for one project or another) fail to mention is that for every building in Mississippi Sen. Cochran voted for, he also had to vote to spend Mississippi tax dollars on things like a Woodstock Museum in New York or a Cowgirl Hall of Fame in Oklahoma or a Lobster Institute in Maine. All of which, like Sen. Cochran’s pork projects, received millions of dollars paid for by Mississippi taxpayers.
In the words of Milton Friedman, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” And the U.S. has a $17 Trillion dollar credit card bill to show for it.
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In the 1970s, Sen. Thad Cochran ran as a Republican when the South was largely Democrat. He played a significant part in the conservative movement in Washington, DC in the 1980s and 1990s. With this history, a reputation as a true gentlemen, and the power of the GOP establishment behind him, Townhall reports that this is, in fact, something to be appreciated.
With a perfect record on the most important issues to conservatives, such as Obamacare, gun control, and national defense, Cochran has an unblemished record. Big government and “pork” are the big issues for his opponent, Chris McDaniel.
However, with massive amounts of tax dollars that are sent overseas to economically stimulate third world countries, Townhall finds that spending those funds in Mississippi (which it likens to an undeveloped country) is better than sending it to another country. And when real crises strike, such as Hurricane Katrina, Cochran has been able to get federal dollars to restore the state.
Townhall summarizes by saying, “Thad Cochran and his truly beautiful state of Mississippi are a dear and special case and deserve some thoughtful consideration of their own.”
While massive federal funding has built a great reputation for Sen. Cochran, Mississippi remains at the bottom of performance measures such as income, health, and education. Nevertheless, conservatives rail against welfare for killing personal initiative and locking the recipients into a cycle of dependency. Unfortunately, the laws of economics apply equally to conservatives and liberals alike.
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