Who Is The Best on Economic Freedom?

The Club For Growth has its scorecard on members of Congress who are the most pro-growth. In the Georgia delegation, Tom Price comes out out tops. He’s ranked 22 out of 416, scoring a 93, tied with Congressman Joe Wilson of South Carolina. The Georgia delegation in toto is as follows (Rank – Name – Overall Score):

22 – Tom Price – 93
26 – John Linder – 92
27 – Lynn Westmoreland – 90
28 – Nathan Deal – 89
64 – Charlie Norwood – 78
88 – Jack Kingston – 69
112 – Phil Gingrey – 62
250 – Jim Marshall – 22
255 – John Barrow – 20
260 – Sanford Bishop – 18
272 – David Scott – 14
316 – Cynthia McKinney – 7
354 – John Lewis – 4

UPDATE: You can see how the rankings were derived here.

26 comments

  1. rugby_fan says:

    Being on this site for 30 seconds has changed the design/layout thrice now.

    This is a confusing design, but I like the headers.

    My $.000000000000000000000000000002

  2. Probably something like this:
    Vote for Republican leadership = 50%
    Various tax cuts = 25%
    ANWR = 25%
    ——————
    Total

    Maybe they had some liberal environmental tax credit in there that prevented Tom Price and the other Republicans from getting 100%?

  3. Mojo says:

    The Club for Growth is a conservative organization so it isn’t a surprise that Republicans come out on top of that list and Democrats on the bottom. So, for those who are not conservative Republicans it doesn’t matter a twig what the Club for Growth thinks is a good congressman, they have their own criteria for determining that, a conservatively biased criteria. I’m sure the Citizens for Tax Justice have their own criteria and if they had their own list Democrats would be at the top and Republicans at the bottom. And, do you think Erick cares what their list says?

  4. Bill Simon says:

    I don’t quite see how voting for the Highway/Transportation Bill and several others qualifies someone as being a “conservative Republican.” A “neo-conservative Republican” is more like it. Maybe the Club for Growth should reexamine their criteria.

  5. Jace Walden says:

    Bill,

    The Club for Growth evaluates them according to their votes on Economic Liberty. Meaning, taxation, spending, free trade, etc…

    It’s a combination of several issues, not just a few that you happen to agree/disagree with.

    Mojo,

    Economic Liberty is not a conservative/liberal thing. Economic liberty means complete freedom from government interference in the economy, whether negative interference (regulation) or what some would consider to be positive interference (minimum wage). The idea is, if the government interferes, whether it helps you out or not, it’s not true economic liberty.

    If a democrat is pro-economic liberty, then he/she will do well on the scorecard.

    Unfortunately, not many democrats are pro-economic liberty.

  6. UGA Wins 2006 says:

    Notice that the most pro growth Democrat is 40 points behind the least pro growth Republican. Jim Marshall continues to walk the liberal walk in DC while working overtime to convince voters in middle GA that he really, really is a conservative.
    Sounds like Voodoo politics to me.

  7. Mojo says:

    Jace,

    Seems to me that your definition of “economic liberty” matches the Club for Growth. I bet you love the list!

    I have a feeling that some poor Mexican farmer, or a laid off auto worker from Michigan has a different idea on what “economic liberty” means.

  8. Jace Walden says:

    Mojo,

    My definition of “economic liberty” fits with the classic definition of economic liberty.

    See Adam Smith.

    I’m sure they’d have a different idea of what it is…but they’d be wrong.

  9. kspencer says:

    According to their website, the Club for Growth supports Republicans only – as per their description of how they select candidates to support: “Finally, if a Republican Congressman is not true to his party’s principles of limited government and low taxes, then we will seriously consider backing a challenger in a primary.” However, according to public records (as consolidated by OpenSecrets.org) they do give some money to Democratic candidates.
    $17,962 given to Dem candidates (12,624 of which went to Henry Cuellar, D-TX).
    $623,373 to GOP candidates.
    $763,880 against GOP candidates (in primaries only, not ‘for Dems’).

    Their alleged additional criteria (same page) are:
    * Taxes
    * Spending and size of government
    * Social Security and entitlements
    * Trade
    * Legal reform
    * School choice
    * Regulation

    A candidate’s:
    * Level of proven leadership on growth issues
    * Potential to become a congressional or national leader
    * Willingness to oppose party leaders when they are wrong and otherwise take political risks
    * Personal background suggesting a strong understanding of growth issues

  10. Bill Simon says:

    Club for Growth is a sham. NONE of these Republicans have voted for “limited government” bills; they’ve all voted for increasing the size of government via bigger and bigger spending bills and given Bush everything he wanted.

    Club for Growth reminds me of Grover Norquist’s sham operation as well: ATR is noting more than a mechanism to launder money, as proven by the Ralph Reed-Jack Abramoff-Grover Norquist love triangle.

  11. I’m thrilled that my rep scored the lowest in the state on the club for growth’s ranking!! Now here’s a ranking list that I know y’all will love

    Westmoreland, Lynn

    Republican
    GA
    6%

    Scott, David

    Democrat
    GA
    74%

    Price, Thomas

    Republican
    GA
    5%

    Norwood, Charlie

    Republican
    GA
    0%

    McKinney, Cynthia

    Democrat
    GA
    100%

    Marshall, James

    Democrat
    GA
    37%

    Linder, John

    Republican
    GA
    0%

    Lewis, John

    Democrat
    GA
    100%

    Kingston, Jack

    Republican
    GA
    11%

    Gingrey, John

    Republican
    GA
    0%

    Deal, Nathan

    Republican
    GA
    5%

    Bishop, Sanford

    Democrat
    GA
    72%

    Barrow, John

    Democrat
    GA
    42%

    http://action.aclu.org/site/VoteCenter?page=congScorecard

  12. Mojo says:

    Jace,

    Yeah, Adam Smith is the prophet of economic liberty. Man, you got me good, I mean, how can I argue when you name check a man that believed in the invisible hand and that man acting his own self interest would benefit his community. Kenneth Lay certainly did a lot for his community. Monopolies certainly enhance economic liberty. Outsourcing has done much for America. I mean, who am I to say that the government should impose some regulations, just to help the invisible hand along.

    But, it is interesting that the person you tell me to “see” is an inveterate plagiarist and has been proven wrong many times. Here is a libertarian critique: http://www.mises.org/story/2012

  13. Jace Walden says:

    Mojo,

    Whether you like it or not, it was Adam Smith’s “The Wealth of Nations” economic theory that our country’s economic base was built upon. Whether or not he was the first to advocate a free market or not, he is the one who brought free-market ideology to the forefront.

    Also, whether you like it or not, the forefathers chose Smith’s ideology over Karl Marx’s ideology.

    Remember what Milton Friedman said. The fear of economic freedom is really a fear in freedom itself.

    So, if Smith is wrong, what is the classic definition of economic liberty, Mojo???

  14. Mojo says:

    Jace,

    I’m confused, how was our economic base built upon Adam Smith’s theory when for much of our history, up until the early 20th century, the main source of revenue for the United States was based upon tariffs? Is that free trade? Tariffs were the cornerstone of 19th century America. Adam Smith said they were inefficient. Many business leaders and industries followed Adam Smith, and our government, perhaps, borrowed a few ideas, but to say that our economic base was built upon the theories of Adam Smith is ridiculous.

    No economist has had the impact on the United States as that of John Maynard Keynes. His style of interventionist economics have been the basis of American economics since the days of FDR.

    Oh, and FYI, I don’t like Marx anymore than I do Smith. I like how you resort to the same tired refrain of demonizing the opposition as Marxists. I thought that died out when the wall fell. Silly me.

    My definition of economic liberty is simple: respectable wages and low prices, being able to take your family to Six Flags without having to worry about the gas bill or layoffs.

  15. Jace Walden says:

    My definition of economic liberty is simple: respectable wages and low prices, being able to take your family to Six Flags without having to worry about the gas bill or layoffs.

    That’s not liberty, my friend. It’s convenient. It sounds good. But it’s not liberty…

    Oh, and FYI, I don’t like Marx anymore than I do Smith. I like how you resort to the same tired refrain of demonizing the opposition as Marxists. I thought that died out when the wall fell. Silly me.

    The Soviet Union died when the wall fell. Socialism is still very much alive and well.

    Tariffs were the cornerstone of 19th century America.

    No, Liberty was the cornerstone of 19th century America. I never said the country was based 100% on Smith’s ideas. But to say that 19th Century America was not based primarily on free-market capitalism and low government intervention is historically innaccurate. Get educated.

    No economist has had the impact on the United States as that of John Maynard Keynes. His style of interventionist economics have been the basis of American economics since the days of FDR.

    You’re right about that. But look where the country has gone since that time. A welfare state. A society based on handouts. A society which thinks income is distributed rather than earned. A society which demonizes profit. A society which is now only ranked 9th in the world in terms of economic freedom. A society which spends nearly as much on funding a bureaucracy than it does funding a military. Yeah, Keynesian economics have done us a WORLD of good.

    By the way, do think it is an inherent right to be able to go to Six Flags?

  16. Bill Simon says:

    Rob,

    Okay…IF CFG is really the organization you think/say they are, then there’s something wrong with the guy/intern assembling the votes and/or the scoring formula.

    Because with Tom Price voting for CAFTA and the Highway Bill, as well as all other spending bills that are busting our budget, HOW can he score the highest?

  17. Mojo says:

    Jace,

    “That’s not liberty, my friend. It’s convenient. It sounds good. But it’s not liberty…”

    The very definition of liberty hinges upon the power of choice. If my power of choice is hindered due to economic oppression inflicted upon me by unreasonable prices or layoffs from my company, and I cannot choose to enjoy the fruits of my labor, then my liberty is removed. It is not conveinence to want the ability to enjoy a small segment of your income.

    “The Soviet Union died when the wall fell. Socialism is still very much alive and well.”

    Where? Cuba? China? Cuba is a dying society waiting for Castro to out in a puff of smoke. China is slowly beginning to diversify their economy by merging capitalist concepts into their economy. Socialism is dead.

    “No, Liberty was the cornerstone of 19th century America. I never said the country was based 100% on Smith’s ideas. But to say that 19th Century America was not based primarily on free-market capitalism and low government intervention is historically innaccurate. Get educated.”

    Liberty? Tariffs were the main source of revenue for the United States government, there is no question about this. Also, liberty was, sadly, in need during the 19th century. Slavery, civil war, Jim Crow, corporate greed and corrupt government during the Gilded Age, slaughter of the Native America population, Wounded Knee, the birth of monopolies like Standard Oil, child labor, tenements, nativist violence against immigrants, etc. No, I believe the 19th century was based upon anything but liberty.

    Low government intervention? I’m sure that Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, William McKinley and the succession of corrupt congresses have something to say about that.

    “A welfare state…”

    The majority of the population on welfare are children. This is the same argument used by Reagan when he invented his welfare queen. There may be a few abusers of the system, but that doesn’t mean the entire system should just be abandoned. Most people on welfare desire work, but this fact isn’t easy to see for those who are not struggling, who have drew the lucky hand in life. Most of these people want to earn their own money and not have it distributed. And, it is hard to not demonize profit for some when they do not have the opportunity to share in anything like that b/c they are too busy barely surviving paycheck to paycheck. Keynesian economics have done a lot of good. Isn’t it interesting that the American economy grew at its fastest rate during the 20th century when Keynesian economics were the cause celebre of the U.S. government?

  18. pvsys says:

    Bill,

    Here is the web site which discusses this:

    http://www.clubforgrowth.org/2006/07/club_for_growth_rates_congress.php

    It lists the following criteria:

    *Making the Bush tax cuts permanent

    *Death Tax repeal

    *Cutting and limiting government spending

    *Social Security reform with personal retirement accounts

    *Expanding free trade

    *Legal reform to end abusive lawsuits

    *Replacing the current tax code

    *School choice

    *Regulatory reform and deregulation

    It is my best guess that they probably made the mistake of not weighing in the criteria “Cutting and limiting government spending” heavily enough and just weighed it as but one of these 9 basic criteria.

    Also, a second mistake is that they might have looked at raw volume of spending increase bills without weighing more heavily particularly egregious bills.

    (again, there are just educated guesses)

    But your criticism is valid.

    Still, I think that, otherwise, the more you learn about CfG, the more you’ll like what they are doing.

    Hope this helps!

    Rob McEwen

  19. Jace Walden says:

    Mojo,

    You keep bringing up tarriffs as if tarriff rate is the be all end all of economic freedom. You’re basing your entire argument on “If tarriffs are high, there isn’t much economic liberty.”

    Your argument is of course, wrong. With the exception of the tarriff acts, America was a highly capitalist society.

    The very definition of liberty hinges upon the power of choice.

    No, the very definition of liberty hinges upon the ability to carry out an act of volition (free-will)

    If my power of choice is hindered due to economic oppression inflicted upon me by unreasonable prices or layoffs from my company, and I cannot choose to enjoy the fruits of my labor, then my liberty is removed.

    Funny you should mention that. The economic oppression of an entire entity, be it city, county, state, or nation, can only be caused by an organization large enough to affect said entity–i.e. city government, county government, state government, or federal government. Economic “oppression” occurs when the government acts as an unequal competitor in a free-market, by either subsidizing, regulating, or taxing. There is no historical example of “economic oppression” having ever been a result of the free-market. Please don’t respond with crap like “The Great Depression” or “Child Labor”. Those were due to societal/governmental changes separate from the market.

    Low government intervention? I’m sure that Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, William McKinley and the succession of corrupt congresses have something to say about that.

    I think this is one point we can agree on. Neither of these three were big on small government. Look what happened as a result of that (in chronological order): The Trail of Tears, The Civil War, The Beginning of American Imperialism.

    “A welfare state…

  20. RuralDem says:

    “Jim Marshall continues to walk the liberal walk in DC while working overtime to convince voters in middle GA that he really, really is a conservative.
    Sounds like Voodoo politics to me.”

    Research is your friend. Try using it instead of relying on Republican and Democratic organizations. Look at the bills themselves. Obviously you know that groups on both sides slant things, at least I hope you do.

    Marshall’s not the Nancy Pelosi liberal that Newt and the rest of the group try to make him out to be. It’s sad when the parties try to destroy candidates not beceause of their views but because of the letter beside their name.

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