Who’s the real friend to the Tea Party?

Liberal columnists at The Washington Post and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution appear to have embraced the TEA Party and have raised the alarm that the ideals of grassroots movement are being undermined. 

The WP’s Dana Milbank and the AJC’s Jay Bookman are concerned that legislation introduced by freshman Georgia Representative Austin Scott to defund the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) has betrayed the TEA Party. This reveals a surprising, and heretofore suppressed, paternal concern by Messrs. Milbank and Bookman toward the conservative organization.

For readers who cringe at tortured logic, Milbank’s column is helpfully entitled, “How Rep. Austin Scott betrayed his Tea Party roots”. Leave aside for a moment that while Scott (GA-8) is a conservative, he has not claimed the TEA Party mantle. Relegate Milbank’s confusion of legal immigrant workers and illegal immigrants to an innocent lack of understanding. What’s left? Milbank accuses Scott of acting in the best interests of agri-business in his home district.

Scott introduced his legislation a few days after Legal Services Corporation (LSC) issued a press release stating that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ruled against a Georgia company in a case brought forth by the LSC. The company, Hamilton Growers, is located in the small (pop. 849) South Georgia town of Norman Park, which is Austin Scott’s congressional district. 

LSC filed suit on behalf of 17 U. S. citizens who claim they were discriminated against by the company in favor of immigrant workers from Mexico on the H2A guest worker program. Clearly, if a company discriminates against American citizens, then it has violated the law and the law should be enforced. Let’s not confuse the LSC with justice, however.

The LSC has been controversial since its inception in 1974, often being accused of showing more concern for using the courtroom to create social change than seeking justice for individuals. The federally-funded organization does not aid in criminal defense, but provides services to low-income individuals suing in civil court. LSC’s 2011 budget was approved at $420 million, a huge war chest with which to wage litigation. It’s no wonder that many small businesses, including farmers, often settle out of court rather than spend a greater amount on defense attorneys.

In Jay Bookman’s AJC column on this same topic, we learn that LSC has already collected over $2 million from Georgia agricultural businesses in the form of financial judgments and settlements. Most came in the form of out-of-court settlements. Regardless of why LSC came to Representative Scott’s attention, his legislation would defang a taxpayer-funded viper that is injurious to Georgia business. 

Decide for yourselves if liberal columnists are attempting to aid the TEA Party or if they are looking to drive a wedge between TEA Party activists and Republicans. Also consider if continued funding of a federal agency designed to increase legal action using tax dollars is, indeed, something the TEA Party would favor.

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27 comments

  1. benevolus says:

    I don’t know about the TEA Party angle, but Scott sure chose the side of anti-American company over American workers.

    I’m sure Scott knows his bill is going nowhere, so it’s just a public gesture to show his commitment to… something. I’m just not sure what.

    • Harry says:

      Going nowhere due to Obama and the Dems. Moving into 2012 Austin Scott gives his constituents just another reason to get fired up. One wonders, do Democrats even understand the real world?

    • Ken says:

      I didn’t put this in my commentary because it is anecdotal, but I know farmers who paid fines to avoid ever-increasing legal fees even though they believed they were not in violation of the law. One farmer was very blunt and said that he thinks LSC searches for disgruntled workers in order to make cases.

      What small farming operation is going to divert a farm owner or manager away to a courthouse while crops are being picked? For the LSC it’s like shooting fish in a barrel.

      • benevolus says:

        Well maybe they should join a damn trade association or call these people:
        http://www.flaginc.org/

        Oh wait, I know, maybe they should keep their employees happy!

        But that has nothing to do with the case in the story. That company was found to be discriminating. If someone wants to write a story about a case where LSC is mis-representing facts or something, bring it on.

        Here we are again; you can choose between a company or a worker, and even when the company is guilty of discriminating against American workers, some are falling all over themselves to come to the defense of that behavior! It’s downright Pavlovian.

        • Ken says:

          Hi bene,

          None of us actually has the ability to keep or make another person happy. That’s even more true when it’s an employer-employee relationship. And I know that’s not your actual point.

          There is probably not a business in this country that could completely avoid government actions if it were inspected daily for violations. If LSC is soliciting and encouraging negative reports by employees, then they are engaged in something very different than offering civil protection for the poor.

          It’s the old, “If a cop pulls you over and decides to write you a ticket then he will always find something scenario” except it involves government attorneys. And businesses are not being given warning tickets.

          When and if (even the person complaining to me had no definite proof) a governmental agency begins to encourage employees spying on their employees then we have entered into a very bad place. When they are offered potential rewards through court settlements then it’s flat-out scary.

          And out of all of this, the real question is: Is LSC something that should be paid for by the federal government?

          I don’t think so.

          • benevolus says:

            OK, point taken, but as I said before, why is the immediate reaction to shut ‘er down? That agency, at least in this case, appears to have provided a legitimate and worthwhile function. If we need to fix how it does what it does, we should discuss that, but really, just kill it? A.S.picks THIS case to make an example out of them? Why doesn’t he go find a case where they abused their authority? And why is everybody ready to crucify them based on NO evidence?
            I know, fixing it is too complicated. I think there is a very simplistic, wishful worldview on a lot of peoples part, but the world is complicated and sometimes a bit messy.

            I will say in the company’s defense: It seems likely that their competitors are doing the same thing and for them to be competitive they may need to do it to, I guess because the immigrants work harder, or get paid less? But just because you can’t do something perfectly doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it at all. Hopefully those competitors are now on notice and are doing the right thing too. That agency probably created hundreds or thousands of jobs with this action, jobs for Americans.

            • Ken says:

              A.S.picks THIS case to make an example out of them? Why doesn’t he go find a case where they abused their authority? And why is everybody ready to crucify them based on NO evidence?

              bene,

              Austin has not said this is why he introduced the legislation. Milbank assumed it and Bookman climbed on board. There are also three other farm operations in GA-8 being sued currently by LSC. It might be related to any, all of them, or none of them. Remember they have filed 29 suits against Georgia farmers and I’m guessing most of them are south of the gnat line. In addition, LSC also sues other businesses and governmental agencies.

              That agency probably created hundreds or thousands of jobs with this action, jobs for Americans.

              LSC has already siphoned off over $2 million in Georgia from farmers alone and how many jobs would that $2 million have created?

              LSC is not a government agency designed to find and correct problems. It is a government-funded corporation whose stated sole reason for existence is to file civil lawsuits. In reality, it has used litigious coercion in an attempt to change society.

              Think of it as a taxpayer-funded ACLU with government cachet; that’s how I think of it. 🙂

            • Ken says:

              bene,

              I’m sorry; I meant to include this above.

              I agree that under no circumstances should American workers be discriminated against and I believe part of the H2A regulations stipulate that. It’s also a reason that H2A requires higher wages than most people believe.

              As for setting other farmers on public notice, it would definitely seem to accomplish that. My problem is that there are farmers who do the right things and then get clobbered for simple, unintended mistakes. Farmers can’t afford a legal staff that specializes in government regulatory compliance. The LSC provides that service to the workers though, at no cost.

  2. DianeVann says:

    Posted Washington Post and AJC:
    I am one of the two who ran against Austin Scott in the Republican primary last year. To help you understand the Tea Party: The Tea Party is The Middle Class of the USA. We are the first to break out of the Silent Majority to resist this toxic-to-the-middle-class frivolous litigation environment. An environment deliberately fostered by the Democratic party for the last 100 years. http://www.dianevann.com

    • benevolus says:

      American workers trying to protect their jobs from being illegally given away to immigrants is frivolous?

      It’s just incomprehensible. What is the criteria for what the TEA Party people or conservatives for that matter stand for these days? Is it just that you always have to take the side of business over actual people regardless of the circumstances?

      • SOGTP says:

        bene. The Tea Party and true Conservatives don’t condone business welfare anymore than social welfare. Both are parasitic on society.

      • SOGTP says:

        bene. The Tea Party and true Conservatives don’t condone business welfare anymore than social welfare. Both are parasitic on society.

    • Cassandra says:

      Breaking News from the Frivolous Litigation Department:

      Georgia Right to Life is claiming the way to overturning Roe v. Wade is supporting legislation making ‘onerous rules on the type of parking clinics must offer.’ Me and 2.123 million of my sisters will write our own “Dear GOP: Leave me and my uterus alone letters.”

      Proudly GRTL Newsletter anounces:

      “…Although the Roe v. Wade decision has been under attack since the beginning, it has never been under greater pressure than now. This year 80 new restrictions have been placed, at state level, on how women can access abortions. In the past decade the most introduced in a single year had been 34. These restrictions, the fruit of electoral gains last autumn by Republicans, have ranged from bans on terminations at 20 weeks to onerous rules on the type of parking clinics must offer. …”

    • Ken says:

      salty,

      Excellent info source, but location won’t matter much to the big ag people. I remember Jim Marshall raking in some decent contributions from sugar cane companies based in Florida.

      • saltycracker says:

        True but the TP will expect him to go ag’n the subsidies & those locals won’t be happy…..
        So which hand does he bite ?

        • Ken says:

          I think we see a reduction in ag subsidies, salty, and I could be wrong but I think Austin would support that,.

          Farmers would be better off with a more favorable tax structure (fewer specific breaks and lower marginal rates) than with subsidies. Let’s face it, the tax breaks are written for companies the size of Archer-Daniels Midland (ADM), Dole and Sunkist. They’re not written for the family farmer or even the small corporate farms.

          We can’t afford to pay people to allow their land to lie fallow anymore.

          • saltycracker says:

            Hope it is more than ethanol. Yes, the subsidies are for the big boys but in most industries, private & public, the major beneficiaries are really good at getting the rank & file to do their bidding…..

            Not many politicians see any benefit in taking the heat, the local voters won’t hold it ag’n ’em and even the best resort to a tit for tat game but if played well, that can work.

  3. middle georgian says:

    Ken, I have got to hand it to you. You’ve really stuck it to Milbank and Bookman. My only hope is that they don’t loose too much sleep, or their jobs. I can now rest assured that the world has a volunteer omsbudsman to keep our columnists in check. These people have had it too easy for too long — writing their educated opinions, in an entertaining, yet coherent and thoughtful way.

    Although I don’t have a pavlovian response to “tortured logic,” I do regard it with certain disdain. On the other hand, I do find the oblivious ironic rather entertaining. And for that I thank you.

    • Ken says:

      And I thought I was being nice . . .

      And, as with many things, irony is in the mind of the beholder. I thought Dana Milbank’s column was the high standard for that, but if you find me entertaining, then I accept that and I’m glad I could be of service.

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