by Chuck Donovan
When it comes to some of the most important issues facing our nation, there are two Johnny Isaksons. First, there is the person Mr. Isakson claims to be—an advocate of lower spending and less government, with a focus on individual liberty, respect for the Constitution, free markets, fiscal responsibility and a strong stand against illegal immigration. Second, there is the Johnny Isakson who really exists based on his voting record. There is a tremendous difference between the two individuals.
Based on the his Feb, 2009 Fundraising Letter, Mr. Isakson’s prior statements and materials posted on his website, Mr. Isakson is a zealous fighter for financial responsibility, lower spending, tax simplification and free markets. However, his voting record (which can be found at http://www.votesmart.org) and other facts prove the opposite is true. The following facts indicate the opposite is true:
- Before the Democrats took control of Congress (in 2007), Mr. Isakson consistently voted for tremendous increases in the national debt.
- When the Republicans controlled Congress and the White House and spending increases averaged greater than 7 percent per year (while the economy was growing at slightly under 3 percent per year), Mr. Isakson consistently voted with the Republican Party’s leadership with respect to budget, spending and tax matters, including a period beginning on July 19, 2001 and ending on October 7, 2004 during which he never voted against a budget, spending or taxes bill (with 75 “yes” votes); during the 2001-2006 Republican controlled period, federal debt increased by approximately 50 percent.
- Every year Mr. Isakson has been in Congress, non-defense spending has grown, both in real dollar terms and in inflation adjusted terms (and Mr. Isakson has voted in favor of this growth all years his party has been in power).
- Mr. Isakson has never proposed, nor voted in favor of, a substantial cut in federal spending; however, he has voted in favor of: (a) many substantial increases in federal spending; and (b) tremendous annual deficits.
- Mr. Isakson voted in favor of the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, which added Medicare Part D; then Comptroller General David M. Walker (head of the GAO) called the legislation “probably the most fiscally irresponsible piece of legislation since the 1960s”.
- Mr. Isakson has consistently voted in favor of farm subsidies (which are contrary to market forces), and has consistently voted against reducing subsidies for wealthy individuals.
- tax system changes Mr. Isakson has voted in favor of have greatly complicated the individual income tax system, as evidenced by the increase in time necessary to assemble an individual tax return from 2000-2007 (found in the instructions to Form 1040 for these years).
- Mr. Isakson voted against allowing negotiation of group discount rates with respect to drug purchases under Medicare Part D.
- Mr. Isakson voted against including future military expenditures for Iraq and Afghanistan in the regular budget (where they belong) instead of in emergency supplemental bills.
- Mr. Isakson voted against creation of a special committee to investigate awarding of contracts in Afghanistan and Iraq taking into consideration: bidding, methods of contracting, subcontracting oversight procedures, allegations of wasteful practices, accountability and lessons learned.
- When the Republicans controlled Congress and the White House, Mr. Isakson consistently voted against “pay-go” bills, which would have necessitated spending increases be coupled with spending decreases or tax increases to pay for the spending increases.
Recently, Mr. Isakson has said the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts need to be made permanent. However, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has reported that making those cuts permanent without spending cuts would cause the national debt to increase by an additional $3.9 trillion (i.e. $3,900,000,000,000) over the next 10 years. By way of comparison, the federal government’s total revenue for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2009 was approximately $2.1 trillion. Prior to the TARP and the ARRA, the GAO foresaw our nation’s debts “spiraling out of control” under either major party’s leadership. Mr. Isakson’s voting record is what it is. If you believe our nation’s debts, government expansion and unfunded liabilities are significant problems, then having Mr. Isakson as one of our U.S. senators is a significant problem.
Mr. Isakson wishes for people to believe he respects the Constitution, including the rights provided by the Fourth Amendment to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. His voting record provides otherwise. Evidence follows (all of which can be verified at http://www.votesmart.org). Mr. Isakson voted:
- in favor of the Patriot Act, which allows spying by the federal government on U.S. citizens without a search warrant; he later twice voted for reauthorization of the Patriot Act
- to allow the FBI to conduct roving wiretaps and access business records without a search warrant
- in favor of immunity for electronic communication surveillance providers
- against making the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) the exclusive means by which surveillance can be conducted on domestic wire, oral and electronic communications
- against a bill that would have required the Director of the CIA and others to report to congressional committees every three months on detention, interrogation and rendition programs.
Mr. Isakson desires people to believe he is a strong fighter against illegal immigration. In reality (based on his voting record), the only thing he has strongly fought for is a wall on the Mexican border with troops to man the wall. When it comes to setting up a system to stop employment of illegal aliens by penalizing companies that hire illegal aliens—an effective means of solving the existing problem and future problems—Mr. Isakson has consistently refused to do anything. Perhaps the money he draws from the companies prevents him from acting. Proof is available at http://www.votesmart.org.