Tax reform, alternative energy, less aid to Pakistan- can Camp make it happen?

May 18, 2012

Our Congressman, Dave Camp (R-Midland) stopped by the other day to announce he was running for re-election. I’m thinking, so what! Camp has been in Congress for 21 years, and it’s a safe bet the relatively young representative will be our congressman for another 21 years if he so wants.

The 4th District, which Clare County is a part of, is and will be, a safe Republican district. Because he has been around for so long, Camp is Chairman of the most powerful committee in the Congress, the House Ways and Means. I suppose this means as his constituents we should have a lot of leverage when it comes to national politics.

I’m not sure I feel that leverage. One of Camp’s major points of emphasis, is tax reform. He wants to simplify  the tax code. That’s cool, by me. He’s also one of the more enthusiastic reps looking to repeal President Obama’s health care reform law. I can’t argue with that, either.

One of my pet peeves, and that of many others, as well, is the price of gas. I peppered Camp with several questions concerning this subject. Essentially, why hasn’t Congress or the President done anything about it? Why does it appear Big Oil rules our lawmakers? Why aren’t we looking harder at  alternative energy sources to fuel our economy?

Camp pointed to what he thinks is a great success story- the Gratiot County wind turbines.  I gotta admit driving up and down US-127, once or twice a week, is much more interesting, now that the wind turbines are in plain view between St. Louis and Ithaca. The sightseeing is particularly awesome at night when many of the wind turbines have lights flashing in unison. It looks like an alien invasion, with flying saucers coming from the sky.

But it’s actually the brainchild of Mark Hull, who is project manager for Beebe Community Wind Farm of Ithaca. He took the wind turbine idea to local farmers back in 2007. He asked farmers to consider leasing portions of their land toward a community wind energy project. It was a no-brainer to most. Now there are over 20,000 acres and over a 100 wind turbines dedicated to the project.

But do they really produce a significant amount of energy. Rep. Camp says they produce enough energy to power 55,000 homes for a year. If true, that’s pretty significant. Right now the wind turbine produced energy is being purchased by Consumers Power, who then sells it back to us.

According to Camp, the Keystone Pipeline, which was narrowly rejected by Congress and President Obama, would greatly ease our reliance on foreign oil. He would like to see the proposed pipeline from Canada to the U.S. approved immediately.

Personally, I would agree, although I already think we do not need foreign oil. If we took care of our citizens’ needs first, and stopped selling refined oil to the Chinese and other developing nations, we wouldn’t need a drop of foreign oil from the Middle East. However, for whatever reason, our government feels the overwhelming need to prop up the Saudis, Kuwaitis and other oil producing nations at the expense of higher gas prices for its own citizens. It makes no sense to this taxpayer.

But a lot of things our government does, makes no sense. For instance the billions of dollars of aide we provide Pakistan is a crock. The Pakistani government and army continually supports The Taliban with weapons and money. The powerful Pakistani army could easily wipe out the Taliban, but no, they get enjoyment out of seeing The Taliban kill American soldiers in Afghanistan. So indirectly, money we supply to Pakistan, sometimes ends up in the Taliban’s hands to buy weapons that kill American soldiers.

I do believe Camp is one of the good guys in Congress. I just wish there were more.

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