Tuesday, July 26, 2011

An open letter to Speaker of the House John Bohner

To the honorable John Bohner:

I am writing to express my displeasure with the lack of progress on dealing with the debt limit.

I live in Oregon, and I recognize that you do not represent me.  However, despite your claim this evening that you are the Speaker of the whole House, as one of the American people I can also state that you don’t represent us.

I have listened carefully to the discussion, debate, and diatribe about this issue that has filled the air in recent weeks.  During that time I have heard only one thing from you and your Republican colleagues: We will not consider raising taxes!  While that’s a fine objective, it is completely out of touch with reality.

The single largest element contributing to the increase in the nation’s debt is the Bush era tax cuts.  Your defense has continually been the mantra that they must remain, especially those that benefit the wealthy, because they are the Job Creators.  That is a lie.  The cuts have been in place for ten years!  Where are the jobs? 

The only jobs created have been those in other countries as companies took advantage of tax benefits to ship American jobs overseas.  After ten years of extra benefits supposedly, according to you, for the Job Creators, we have the highest unemployment in years.  For the record, I’m one of those unemployed, and I welcome you to join me in November of 2012.

You spoke tonight of “the President wanting a blank check.”  Perhaps I should provide a quick review of the Constitution.

Every bill to be paid by the Federal Government was incurred because Congress passed legislation authorizing that expenditure.  The President cannot spend a dime that you haven't authorized, regardless of the original amounts included in his budget proposals.

Since you have served in Congress for many years, you, not the President, are responsible for those debts.  When President Clinton left office, he left a budget surplus that was making some progress towards reducing the accumulated debt.  In eight years of the Bush presidency, we had eight years of budget deficits!  This is hardly the time for you to complain.  If Congress overspent, and also passed tax cuts, you have no one to blame but yourself and your colleagues.  During several of those years, both houses of Congress and the Presidency were controlled by the Republicans.  This mess is your doing, and it's about time you stopped trying to shift the blame elsewhere.

Two thousand years ago, the Roman orator Cicero invoked the Latin phrase cui bono, literally, “to whose benefit?” or "as a benefit to whom?  When I hear the Republicans continually speaking of taxes, I ask myself that question. 

Sadly, I always come to the same conclusion, namely that the beneficiaries of this dogma are the rich and wealthy, who not only do not create jobs, but do fund the re-election campaigns of those who espouse the position.  Therefore, I guess it is time to remind you, and all the others, of a single fact:  You were elected to represent all of us, not just the rich.  It is time that you remembered that charge.

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