Monday, January 13, 2014
MAINE CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION SCORES LOW ON THE 2013 LIBERTY INDEX
The Maine congressional delegation scored low on the 2013 Liberty Index compiled by a panel of libertarian scholars headed by Dr. Clifford F. Thies, Elden R. Lindsey Chair of Free Enterprise and Professor of Economics and Finance at Shenandoah University in Winchester, VA. The Index was released Monday by the national Republican Liberty Caucus (RLC), of which Thies is former National Chair.
House and Senate members were rated on a scale of zero to 100 on a series of 2013 roll call votes involving economic liberty issues and rate on the same scale on a series of roll call votes on personal liberty issues. The average of the two scores produced the Liberty Index.
“I was disturbed when I read the scores and learned how out of touch our Maine congressional delegation is with the will of the American people when it comes to free enterprise, smaller government, lower taxes and personal liberty without government intrusions. And it crossed party lines with disappointing scores whether Republican, Democrat or independent,” said Maine RLC State Chair Vic Berardelli.
Republican Senator Susan Collins scored 40 on economic liberty and 50 on personal liberty for a Liberty Index of 45. The average Senate Republican scores were 86 and 81 for an average Liberty Index of 83 for Senate Republicans.
Independent Senator Angus King scored 5 on economic liberty and 11 on personal liberty for a Liberty Index of 8, giving him one of the lowest scores in the Senate but placing him close to the average Senate Democrat scores of 6 and 14 for an average Liberty index of 10 for Senate Democrats.
The highest scores in the Senate, all Republicans, were Mike Crapo and Jim Risch, both of Idaho and scoring 100; Mike Lee of Utah 98; Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Jerry Moran of Kansas, all at 95. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky scored 90.
The lowest scores in the Senate, all Democrats, were Barbara Boxer of California, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii and the late-Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, all scoring zero. Eight others scored 3. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada had a Liberty Index of 5.
Rep. Chellie Pingree, Democrat of Maine’s 1st District, scored zero on economic liberty and 75 on personal liberty for a Liberty Index of 38.
Rep. Mike Michaud, Democrat of Maine’s 2nd District scored 10 on economic liberty and 68 on personal liberty for a Liberty Index of 39.
For comparison, the average House Democrat scored 11 on economic liberty and 55 on personal liberty for an average Democrat Liberty Index of 33. The average House Republican scored 90 on economic liberty and 50 on personal liberty for an average GOP Liberty Index of 70.
The highest House scorers, all Republicans, were Mark Sanford of South Carolina 100; Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina, Tom McClintock and Dana Rohrabacher, both of California, and Jim Huelskamp of Kansas, all at 95. House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio was not scored because he did not cast enough votes. House Republican Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia had a Liberty Index of 61 based on average a 95 on economic liberty but only 26 on personal liberty.
The lowest House scorers, all Democrats, were Ed Markey of Massachusetts ZERO and five Democrats all at 18. House Democrat Leader Nancy Pelosi of California scored 20.
“This year, on the economics side, the index reflects votes on “hot issues” such as Health Care Overhaul, the Ryan budget, carbon taxes, the Keystone pipeline, hydraulic fracturing, TANF (welfare) work rules and SNAP (food stamp) eligibility. Some curious votes are also included, among these are price supports for Christmas Trees, declaring stones to be agricultural commodities (and, thus, eligible for price supports), and funding the Navy’s grossly-overpriced Z-class destroyer,” explained Dr. Thies.
Thies explained further, “On the personal liberties side, there was some difficulty assembling sets of roll call votes that reflect the breadth of libertarian concerns. The House roll calls over-sample the tension between personal liberty and national security (as neo-conservatives see things). The Senate roll calls over-sample Second Amendment issues. This is a not unusual problem in the history of the Liberty Index. There simply are years when one or the other chamber generates disproportionate numbers of personal liberties votes in certain areas. All that can be said is that, hopefully, over time, the vagaries of this component of the index are evened-out.”