Now, the criteria here is simple. As far as I am concerned, the only people that belong in the US House of Representatives are those that uphold the Constitution and either actively try to limit the growth of the Federal government or attempt shrink it. While each individual's voting record is outside the scope of any one's person capability, one can use an array of important votes in recent history to gauge the effectiveness of a particular member of Congress.
I have used four votes to make my determination and I shall explain my reasoning.
1) Medicare Modernization Act of 2003. Also known as Medicare part D is a gigantic expansion of Medicare that was not only envisioned and pioneered by the Bush administration, but passed in the most dubious of manners through the House. Looking at the vote breakdown, this was largely created and jammed through by Republicans with most Democrats abstaining. This is considered to be the biggest Medicare expansion since Medicare's original unveiling under LBJ. A vote for this bill indicates a complete lack of understanding of how Medicare has crippled the American health care system. It is absolutely no wonder that within 10 years of Medicare/Medicaid health care costs skyrocketed, the HMO Act of 1973 created huge health insurance companies and States had to find new ways of funding. We will never fix our health care if we continue to expand Medicare.
2) TARP. Another legacy of the Bush administration, although the majority of voters were Democrats. This bill is still controversial, but it boils down to simple economics and morality. It is simply inconceivable that America has reached a point where our government saves corporations that have failed. Failure is not meant to be rewarded or encouraged it is meant to be punished and in the free market, failure usually results in bankruptcy. Stories and threats of how the world would have collapsed are blown entirely out of proportion and are rooted in ignorance. America would have experienced a dramatic and rapid contraction as the bad debt surfaced and defaulted. Companies drunk on cheap credit of the boom years would be cut off from a never ending monetary spigot and would have downsized rapidly causing a huge spike in unemployment. But just like in the Depression of 1920 the recovery would have followed shortly after. In fact, had this happened, the political and economic climate as of this writing would have been monumentally better. This is not a theory, but fact based on history. A vote for TARP is the absence of critical knowledge. Yes, everyone is now obsessed with the fact that banks are paying back the money, but just because some insolvent banks kept alive on Bernanke's happy juice paid back cash does not make the original plan a good idea!!! Anyone got their TARP profit check yet? No? Did not think so. We are still neck deep in toxic asset stew and do not let anyone tell you otherwise.
3) Obama Stimulus. Keynesian economics at their finest. There is not much to say here other than, shoot me. How is it that after the failure of the New Deal we are still under the impression that Federal spending can or should replace economic activity? Hmm, maybe because our schools teach and promote big government thus producing legions of zombies? Or is it because Paul Krugman still has a column at the illustrious New York Times? Or is it because our political climate has been reduced to God, abortion and gay marriage? Hard to say, but thankfully more and more people are waking up the fact that the Stimulus and other such nonsense is an abject failure. A vote for this monstrosity is enough to be fired as a politician and sent to school for basic education.
4) ObamaCare. This needs no introduction nor explanation. Vote for ObamaCare is enough to be sent to Europe where you belong.
After comparing and contrasting the No votes for all 4 bills a very small list emerged, in fact depressingly small. Below is the list of ten, yes ten members of Congress that deserve their job and our respect. These are the people that have stayed true to the one thing they swore to uphold and protect when their first day in Congress began.
Dan Burton - Indian 5th
Steve Buyer - Indiana 4th
Jeff Flake - Arizona 6th
Walter Jones - North Carolina 3rd
Jeff Miller - Florida 1st
Jerry Moran - Kansas 1st
Marilyn Musgrave - Colorado 4th
Ron Paul - Texas 14th
Mike Pence - Indiana 6th
Jim Sensenbrenner - Wisconsin 5th
John Shadegg - Arizona 3rd
There you have it. This does not necessarily mean that these individuals have not in the past voted on some regrettable bill, but it does mean that the foundation is stable.
Note: There could be Congress(wo)men in office now that arrived after the TARP vote and therefore this is not a complete list. Time will tell of course as to the quality of the more recent individuals.
One can draw two possible conclusions. Either my methodology is too strict or we are completely screwed. Since criticizing myself discourages readership and is self-defeating I shall go with the latter. In fact, it is important to recognize that with only ten people committed to restraining the growth of our Federal government we are going to have two very frustrating years ahead of us. Because despite the Tea Party and the impending success of the citizen-legislator we simply do not have enough politicians willing or capable to make the tough decisions that are sorely missing in Washington DC.
You will also notice that the list is missing several people. Notably, the so-called Young Guns. This was the trio of Congressmen comprised of Paul Ryan, Eric Cantor and Kevin McCarthy that were supposed to lead the renewed fiscal conservatives in the House. Yeah, uhm, not so much. In fact, Paul Ryan and his infamous Road Map (2.0) have got to be the most over-hyped and over-rated political phenomena since HopeNChange. Frankly, a guy who voted to expand Medicare and fork over 700 Billion dollars to the banks should not be on the forefront of offering budgetary suggestions. What is more telling, is that the current GOP leadership considers this road map too controversial!! If that does not expose the level of FUBAR we are in, what else does?