The Worst United States Senator

OK, there are a lot of candidates for that title.  But can anyone beat the appalling senior Senator from New York, Charles "Chuck" Schumer?

With its large financial and business community, New York still ranks among the wealthiest states, even after decades of decline relative to the other states caused by uncompetitive state and local taxes.   New York is home to large numbers of high income earners, given the numbers of professionals in fields like banking, law, accounting, entertainment, and so forth.  According to data from the Tax Foundation, over 3.6% of New York tax filers reported AGI above $200,000 in 2009, compared to an average of around 2.5% for the other states; and the disparity is undoubtedly greater at the highest incomes.

Because our Federal income tax structure is progressive, it is inevitable that New York (and the other high income states, like California, New Jersey and Connecticut) will pay disproportionately more Federal income tax than lower-income states.  Our former senior Senator, Moynihan, published regular reports demonstrating that New York sent far more money to Washington than it got back. 

Our current senior Senator, Schumer, needless to say, has discontinued these reports.  They would reflect badly on you-know-who.  Where does he stand on increasing income taxes?  Why, of course, he is leading the charge.  From the New York Times of October 9, 2012:  "Schumer Shakes Up Deficit Talks With Call to Raise Taxes on the Rich."

Why would the senior Senator from one of the wealthiest states lead the campaign for disproportionately higher taxes on his own constituents?  Not because it is the interest of his constituents or of New York State as a whole. The opposite -- because it is the personal interest of Schumer to centralize as much money as possible in Washington and then make himself into a godfather passing out the goodies to grateful special interests in return for campaign contributions, fealty and votes.

And he makes no secret that this is what he is doing.  Go to his web site and go through the endless lists of minor handouts that he has passed out to one special pleader after another.  The latest include handouts for historic buildings in Schenectady and Rochester, a few hundred thousand dollars for something called a "job engine" at a college in Poughkeepsie, and on and on.  Nobody could possibly figure out how much all these are worth, but without a doubt we are paying double to triple for what we get back.  How can that be a good thing?  It's all about campaign contributions and getting Chuck Schumer's name in the headlines as often as possible.

There's no level of economic destructiveness to which he will not lower himself.  At the "New York" section of his web site we have one after another protectionist measure to hobble foreign competition for the benefit of some particular New York industry: a "silicon metal" producer in Niagara Falls, two furniture makers, a candle maker in Syracuse, apparel makers in New York City, and on and on.  Does he not know that the internationalization of world commerce is what drives New York's main economic engine?  It doesn't matter -- no campaign contributions, no headlines in that.

And how about agricultural subsidies?  Surely, Schumer must realize that New York is among the most highly urbanized states, and expenditures of taxpayer moneys on agricultural subsidies are a big net loss for his constituents.  Well, no. Here is the Agriculture section of his website, bragging about obtaining one minor benefit after another on behalf of the small number of New York farmers.  He even brags about helping the dairy industry by keeping dairy prices up!  Does he realize that that represents a major burden on poor mothers trying to buy milk for their children?  Doesn't matter; their votes are already securely bought.

Charles Schumer is the purest symbol of what is wrong with the United States Congress.  The entire New York press eats out of his hand, parroting his brain-dead press releases and never doing the math to conclude that this is all a huge net loss to us.  Will anything change next time he is up for election?