When Freshman Congressman Tom Reed served briefly on the Transportation Subcommittee, he posed as an expert in transportation. With little or no background he now presumes expertise in farming, manufacturing, energy policy, and economics. Megalomania is characterized by delusions of grandeur, a tendency to exaggerate, a passion for doing big things. Does Tom fit this description?
Tom’s extreme view of deficit and debt is an example of over reliance on his own supposed expertise. Tom seems to regard debt as the one significant issue facing the country (see Tom’s “Honest Proposal” and “The Road Ahead” cited below). Every other interest — Social Security, Medicare, SNAP, unemployment — pales in comparison. Such an unbalanced view must be personal — it evidently doesn’t reflect education in economics or expert opinion.
In a recent letter to President Obama Tom suggest that the two of them chart out the economic future of the country. This seems presumptuous — it assumes Tom’s competence while ignoring the fact that the President doubtless relies on his Cabinet and Council of Economic Advisers rather than himself. Tom seems to believe that his proposal might succeed even though numerous similar proposals have failed — megalomania?
It is probably normal for a politician to exude expertise and confidence. However one would hope that a representative would not depend too much on his own knowledge. Tom has made a show of seeking advice on energy, farming and manufacturing, but only from hand-picked experts who share his views. I don’t know that he has any knowledge of or education in economics — based on his pronouncements, I think not.
At his townhall meetings, Tom is often dismissive of any opinion other than his own. In his press releases, Tom usually tells only one side of the story — his side. For his educational forums, he seems to prefer to invite speakers expected to tell a story he wants to hear. It appears that Tom behaves as a small businessman who, overconfident in his own knowledge and ability, ignores input from associates and customers, does not seek advice from experts, and therefore neither understands or follows best practices.
© William Hungerford – November 2013
These links are to Tom’s “Honest Proposal” which emphasizes spending cuts to reduce debt, his op. ed., “The Road Ahead, and to a press release concerning the “Honest Proposal” letter sent to President Obama (there is a link to the text of the letter). The “Honest Proposal” emphasizes spending cuts to reduce debt. The “Road Ahead” promotes the Honest Proposal and decries debt.
This is an account of Rep. Reed’s advisory boards
At a joint meeting of the Manufacturing and Natural Gas Caucus, panelists at the meeting included Jennifer Diggins, Director of Public Affairs at Nucor Corporation, John Larson, Vice President of Economics at IHS, Geoff Moody, Director of Government Affairs at American Fuel and Petroleum Manufacturers, and Toby Mack, President and CEO of Energy Equipment and Infrastructure Alliance. This can’t be called an impartial panel of experts: only one view is represented.
This is an account of a townhall meeting at which Rep. Reed is dismissive of views other than his own.