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Luetkemeyer: Obama’s A Socialist
By Mike Scott
Missouri’s Ninth District Republican
Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer blasted many of President Obama’s policies while
on a visit to Kahoka on Wednesday, February 17. Luetkemeyer was in Kahoka as part of a tour across northeast
Missouri, meeting with small business and community leaders to gather
information and opinions before returning to Washington DC after the
President’s Day break.
While in Kahoka, Luetkemeyer pulled no
punches with Democrat proposals on Cap and Trade and Health Care Reform, and
spoke about against the administration’ “Stimulus Package” on its one-year
“Cap and Trade is going to ruin
business. It’s going to ruin
agriculture,” he said, calling it a $600 billion dollar tax per year. Luetkemeyer also said that under the
proposed Cap and Trade legislation, energy costs are expected to double,
driving up operating costs for business and agriculture alike. According to Luetkemeyer, half of the
businesses impacted will not be able to absorb or pass along the costs.
A governmental body sets a cap on the amount of a
pollutant that can be emitted, while companies or other groups are issued
emission permits and are required to hold an equivalent number of allowances
which represent the right to emit a specific amount. The total amount of
allowances and credits cannot exceed the cap, limiting total emissions to that
level. Companies that need to increase their emission allowance must buy
credits from those who pollute less, creating the trade. A governmental body
would auction those credits to businesses, creating revenue for the
government. Estimates on the per-family
added cost of the proposed legislation range from $800 to over $3000 per year, and that number could be higher in
areas where coal-fired power plants are common, such as the Midwest.
Luetkemeyer spent over an hour touring the
KPF Foundry in Kahoka on Wednesday afternoon. The family-run business
specializes in small-run and custom metal casting work, which larger foundries
avoid. The recession has hit the
company hard—their workforce dropped from around 85 to a low of only 12 employees. As business has come back, their workforce
is now back up to about 35 employees.
KPF’s economic impact on Kahoka in
undeniable. At its high point, annual
KPF’s payroll was nearly four million dollars.
In addition, the plant purchases its electricity from the City of
Kahoka, helping with the city budget.
The business pays property taxes, and other businesses, such as
Blimpies’ and the Twin Lakes Golf Course, opened in Kahoka specifically because
the plant relocated here.
“We’re bringing outside dollars into the
community. There aren’t many local
businesses doing that,” said Glen McNew, Operations Manager at KPF.
“If this Cap and Trade legislation went
through, what effect would it have on your operation?” Luetkemeyer asked
McNew. At KPF, energy costs make up
about 20 percent of the business’s expenses.
Those costs would probably double.
“I don’t think we’d survive,” McNew
answered. “I don’t want to say ‘Oh,
poor me’. All we’re asking for is a
level playing field. If you’re going to
let China bring parts into the country, then they need to have the same
regulations we do.”
“You’re living the American dream,”
Luetkemeyer told McNew. “You’ve found a
niche, and you’re making a quality product.”
“We like what we do,” said McNew. “We’re very proud of our workforce and we
have some first class people working for us.”
While meeting with group of community and
agriculture leaders gathered at Steve’s Family Dining, he continued his
campaign against Cap and Trade.
“These people in Washington are using climate change as an excuse
to find new ways to tax us,” Luetkemeyer told them. Luetkemeyer discussed recent revelations that climate scientists
may have disregarded evidence indicating man-made global warming was not
occurring. He also cited the
University of Missouri’s Dr. Anthony Lupo, who was part Nobel prize-winning climate study group, and who
thinks we are in a 25-year cooling cycle.
“I have tried to de-fund the UN Panel on
Climate Change.” His bill was not
“It (Cap and Trade) is nothing more than an
excuse for more taxes. They don’t
understand or they don’t care that it is going to drive businesses out of the
country. At some point, you’ve got to
realize that you can’t keep adding costs to a company and expect them to remain
in business,” Luetkemeyer said. “They seem to think business can pull money out
of the air.”
And while it looks like Cap and Trade
legislation may be dead for this year, Luetkemeyer cautioned that nothing is
ever “dead” in Washington, and that the EPA could still establish rules, which
would hurt business.
On the issue of Health Care, Luetkemeyer
said,” We think we have a lot of solutions. But if it’s going to cost more or
hurt the quality of care, we don’t want to do it.”
He recommended people read the Republican
alternative plans at www.gop.gov. Among the Republican health care proposals
are steps to lower health care premiums, establish universal access, including
coverage for those with pre-existing conditions. The plan also would help end costly junk lawsuits, encourage
small business to pool together, and allow Americans to purchase policies
across state lines, as well as other proposals.
“I have asked many doctors how much of what
you do is defensive medicine?” Luetkemeyer said. “The answer is usually between 20 and 50 percent. We have got to get tort (legal) reform to
Luetkemeyer also criticized the President’s
“bipartisan efforts” on health care.
“The President’s idea of bipartisanship is
saying ‘We’re going to sit down and talk about it, and at the end of the night
it’s going to be done his way’,” he said
A televised bipartisan health care meeting
is scheduled for February 25 in Washington.
It is supposed to last about half a day.
“This is supposed to be a ground-up, start-over
plan. And we found out that last
weekend that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are already working on another plan to
bring to the meeting. We’re not going
to give in, because we know we’re right, the people support our efforts.
On the one-year anniversary of the
government’s $787 billion dollar stimulus package, Luetkemeyer blasted the
“It’s structured all wrong,” he told the
people at Steve’s.
He likened the way stimulus money is spent
to filling your car with gas. Instead
of putting the hose into the tank, he said it is more like filling five gallon
buckets and then throwing the buckets at your gas tank, hoping a little will go
in, he explained.
Asked directly if the stimulus had helped
people in Missouri’s Ninth congressional district, he responded, “No. There have been some individual projects it
has helped. But it is impacting
everyone in the district in a negative way.”
“I am not going to support the wasteful
spending,’ Luetkemeyer said. He added
that in one year’s time, only 30 percent of the money has been spent.
“We have got to get back to good, common
sense government,” Luetkemeyer said.
“President Obama is neither a Democrat or
Republican,” Luetkemeyer said. “I truly
believe he’s a socialist, in the traditional sense of the word. He believes in the goodness and greatness of
government. He truly believes in this
way of life. I have a hard time supporting
him on these issues. I’m also very
concerned about what he’s doing with our international relationships.”
“We are at a crossroads right now. If we take the wrong road, it will ruin
America as we know it. A little over a
year ago, the world’s economy was within a few days of imploding. We haven’t fixed the problems; we’ve just
kicked the can down the road. Forty-two
percent of the President’s budget is debt.
China is buying our debt only to prop up the value of their
investments. We have to fix the
problems,” Luetkemeyer said.
Luetkemeyer was asked who the leaders of
the Republican Party are.
“In the last election, our guy lost. Right now, we’re looking for a new leader,
but we’re not in any hurry. We want
someone to come forward in 2010, and help others get elected this year. And when we see who’s willing to really work
for others, we’ll support them,” he answered.
Asked about Sarah Palin’s appeal,
Luetkemeyer answered that she appeals to the Christian Right, she is a
principled straight talker, a mother who cares about her family, she is
successful and not afraid to state her opinion. One person in attendance commented that she is a “female Harry
On a lighter note, Luetkemeyer was asked
about the weather in Washington this winter.
“It’s so cold, the liberals have their
hands in their own pockets,” he quipped.