Tom Reed’s Megalomania

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.

About whungerford

* Contributor at where we discuss the politics, economics, and events of the New New York 23rd Congressional District (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, (Eastern) Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben,Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates Counties) Please visit and comment on whatever strikes your fancy.
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8 Responses to Tom Reed’s Megalomania

  1. D0ntG0H0me says:

    It also appears “Teflon Tom” eludes the areas (Tompkins County for one), that would give him more resistance. On the one teleconference I was privy to, the questions were taken in advance to when I was call added. In that call, Tom spoke kindly to an elderly woman who spoke with fear of losing her Social Security and Medicare. I say kindly because he assured her, that even though both were (paraphrased) “going broke”, he was fighting as hard as he could to save them. He didn’t mention his way of saving them would be to make deep cuts.


  2. Anne says:

    I have a great deal more confidence in people who are willing to admit when they don’t know something than in those who can never say–as is the case with Reed–that they don’t know. Or that they may have been wrong.


  3. whungerford says:

    In an article posted here today on townhall meeting in Bath last Saturday, we learn that Tom has his own economics:

    “Reed said that he has his own economic theory, one that is based on a “stronger private based economy/industry and corporations leading the way out of our financial woes, and ‘respectfully agrees to disagree’ with his constituent.”

    One wonders if Tom has his own Physics, Mathematics, Chemestry, Biology, and Sociology as well.


  4. Bob McGILL says:

    ” 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. ”

    Ya mean Tom has no advisers ? But Obama had advisers on his health care web sites didn’t he ?
    Obamas advisers don’t have a very good track record in my opinion !


  5. Bob McGILL says:

    Have you taken a good look at the situation that Tompkins County is in right now ? Drug and crime capitol of Central New York ! Just how many REASONABLE people do you think would show up ? If I were Tom I would write Tompkins County off as a no win situation and move on.


  6. Deb meeker says:

    I live in one part of Tompkins county, and work in another. I’m pretty familiar with what does and doesn’t go on there, also since one of my sons works for the Sheriffs Dept.
    I don’t know where you live, but I’m expecting it’s not Tompkins county.

    I believe, Tom has in fact, taken your suggested tack of writing off Tompkins county and a few other areas, for exactly the reason you stated, However, Rep. Tom Reed took an oath of office to represent all of the NY23rd’s constituents, not just those who agree with his opinions. In fact, after having experienced both a live Town Hall, and a teleconference, It’s my (and I have heard other’s) opinion,Tom really doesn’t listen at all.
    If by “reasonable” people you mean only those that would smile, and nod, and agree with Tom, I’m thinking Tompkins isn’t the only county where other “unreasonable” people live.


  7. Bob McGILL says:

    A former Major League Baseball all-star player has given the City of Ithaca $12,000 to increase police patrols around a crime-ridden apartment complex, Ithaca Police said Tuesday.

    Former MLB player Mo Vaughn and his business partner, Eugene Schneur, own the West Village Apartment complex on Ithaca’s West Hill. The neighborhood has been the site of several violent attacks, including multiple stabbings whose victims have refused to cooperate with police and the shooting of an on-duty Ithaca Police officer in the fall.

    The Ithaca Police Department said in a statement Tuesday that it would immediately send out officers in teams of two to conduct extra patrols around the West Village Apartment complex. It will encourage officers to patrol on foot, rather than drive around the perimeter, in the hopes of making headway on investigations stalled by silent witnesses.

    “We are committed to continuing the hard work that is involved in restoring the West Hill to a vibrant place to live, work and grow,” Ithaca Police Chief John Barber said in a statement. “This additional funding will put officers on the streets up there, and that will enable us to better improve the service that we provide to the Ithaca community as a whole.”

    The West Village Apartment complex is just one of hundreds of properties Vaughn and Schneur own. The pair has bought and developed ” affordable housing projects ” in New York, Massachusetts and Wyoming through their real estate company, Omni New York LLC.

    AUGUST 13, 2013



  8. Deb Meeker says:

    And your point is?


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