To All Republican Senators

To All Republican Senators

I wrote the following letter to each Republican member of the Senate with the hope of getting a clear answer concerning their opposition to the economic stimulus proposed by President Obama. I have received several notes from Senators saying that the size of their constituency and the volume of letters they receive prevents them from answering letters from those outside their state. I have not received any other type of response as of yet. I sent this letter three days ago. As I receive responses, if I receive responses, I will post them accordingly. Dear Senator: Iâ??m writing this as a sort of form letter and sending it to every Republican member of the Senate. You all will probably have voted on the much-debated stimulus package by the time you read this, but itâ??s no less important that you answer honestly, if you answer these questions at all. If you choose to answer this letter, I would greatly appreciate it if you would dispense with the political speak that you spout out on the floor of the Senate and during interviews with the news media and give me real answers. Donâ??t talk about liberal spending practices and repeatedly refer to the Presidentâ??s stimulus package as a â??spendingâ? package. Please, please, please make an honest effort to address my concerns. If this isnâ??t something that you can do, donâ??t answer at all. Iâ??d rather be ignored than patronized, especially by my government. I’d like to get right to the point here and not waste any time with formalities. Please forgive this letter if it sounds impertinent or disrespectful, for that is not my intention in any way. If my tone sounds harsh, understand that I am intensely frustrated with the way that our government is handling this economic crisis. Over the last several months, and indeed since last September, I’ve had this growing concern about the direction our country is headed. Like many Americans I was laid off for several months, although by a lucky circumstance I was able to find employment at the beginning of January. But it wasn’t before the effects of my lack of employment took hold. My wife and I have two children and because unemployment benefits don’t amount too much overall, especially taking into account diapers, formula, bills, etc., we were forced to rely quite a bit on our credit cards and have now doubled our credit card debt. I tell you this not to incite sympathy or anything on your part but to explain that I understand, quite a bit better than most members of the United States government, how badly things are right now. Last fall the legislative bodies of the United States government, made up of Republicans and Democrats, bailed out Wall Street to the tune of something like $700 billion. When it came time for debate very few of you stood up, as you have during the discussion regarding the current stimulus package, to pontificate about how high a stack of $100 bills would be if you stacked enough to equal $1 trillion (Senator Thune, I’m talking to you here. Also, just so you know, a physical description of how much $1 trillion is has no bearing on whether or not this stimulus will work and is a complete waste of time. Yes, I watch C-SPAN, and it’s not to hear red herring arguments.). Indeed, it didn’t take long for the previous bailout to pass and get handed out to the very people who put us in this mess. There was very little oversight for how the money was used, and a portion of that money (albeit a small portion, it was a portion nonetheless) ended up being used for bonuses and vacations for people who, if we are all really honest about this situation, do not deserve it. Imagine my surprise when it came time for the President’s much anticipated stimulus package. Republicans stood aghast at what they deemed to be a “spending” package. Of course, I understand that Republicans ostensibly want to avoid wasting a lot of money. Truth be told most politicians, regardless of their political affiliation, would say to their constituents that they don’t like to waste taxpayer money. And I agree. When I pay my taxes I sincerely hope that what I give to the government isn’t going to special interests, etc. So when I saw the list of items that Republicans deemed “wasteful” I was completely baffled. And that is what is at the heart of this letter. I am writing to every single Republican Senator with the hope that each and every one of you will answer the following questions and explain to me why you do not support this bill. That would give me a well-rounded group of responses that would hopefully clarify a few things for me. It should be noted before I get to the questions that as a whole Republicans disagree with something like 2% of the bill, but have found it necessary to block its passage anyway, I assume as a matter of principle. That alone seems like a political ploy, but I digress. On to the questions. 1. Seeing as how alcohol is the third leading cause of death in the United States (according to the Centers for Disease Control) right behind tobacco and physical inactivity, I would say that any attempt at reducing the number of deaths related to alcohol would be pretty high on a Senator’s list, regardless of their political affiliation, and I would think that if the United States could count on the fact that fewer people would suffer health problems because of alcohol addiction and abuse, it would probably save this country a huge amount of cash in the long run. This is especially true for individuals living on Native American reservations, who have frequently been reported to have an overall higher rate of alcohol related problems. Why, then, would you oppose spending so little as $25 million on reducing alcohol addiction on tribal reservations? The same thing could be said for several other items on your list. Why would you oppose spending on smoking cessation programs? This, like the alcohol program, would undoubtedly reduce government spending in the long run. Why would you oppose giving $400 million to the Centers for Disease control for STD prevention? (At this point I think this has actually been removed from the package.) This not only would create more industry for the CDC, but it would save quite a lot of money in the long run with respect to health-care related issues. Opposing this doesn’t make you look like a warrior against wasteful spending; it makes you look like a calloused individual. 2. Why would you oppose spending $600 million to buy hybrid vehicles for federal employees? As long as you arenâ??t buying hybrid Escalades, or any other hybrid SUVS (which on average have mileage very similar to all-gas powered engines you will be saving hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars on gasoline used by the Federal Government. You would also be providing the auto industry with much needed business. After all, the auto industry just asked for a bail out. Why not bail them out by giving them business instead of just handing out cash? How could this be a bad thing? The same could be said for the proposed $200 million for alternative energy vehicles for military installations. 3. There are many provisions (actually most of the provisions) that would result in the creation of thousands of jobs. Why would you oppose this? The $1 billion for the 2010 census; the $500 million for flood reduction projects along the Mississippi; $500 million for building and repairing National Institutes of Health facilities in Bethesda, Maryland; $650 million for the Forest Service; $125 million for the Washington sewer system; $448 million for constructing the new Homeland Security headquartersâ?¦all of these things would create jobs and strengthen our infrastructure. Why do you oppose this? 4. You propose more tax cuts. How can you suggest tax cuts at a time like this? President George W. Bushâ??s Republican administration, over the last 8 years, has spent more than the Democrats ever have during the tenure of one of their partyâ??s presidents. It ran a deficit for almost the entirety of its tenure. Setting aside this incredible irony, how is it that reducing the Federal Governmentâ??s revenue (by cutting taxes) could possibly help foot the bill? I personally have always tried to earn more money when Iâ??ve been short on cash, not less. Please explain to me how it is that reducing revenue during a war is good while investing in jobs and infrastructure during economic crisis is not. Senator Mitch McConnell said that â??all the historical evidence suggests that itâ??s highly unlikely to work,â? that is, spending money in order to stimulate the economy. But if Iâ??m not mistaken, President Roosevelt did just that and got us out of the worst depression this country has ever faced. Indeed, things continued to get worse for another year or so after implementing his strategy. But no one whose reality is based in this world could possibly argue that The New Deal didnâ??t work. And let me remind you that President Reagan was a great admirer of Roosevelt and loved The New Deal. Senator David Vitter went on a tirade against ACORN on the floor the other day and implied that ACORN was partly at fault for the housing crisis because they encouraged people who needed homes to take advantage of the easy credit. Senator Vitter, ACORN isnâ??t at fault for the housing crisis. Lenders are at fault. Buyers, to some extent, are at fault. I agree that there have been shady things that have happened at ACORN. But our government has done some pretty shady things, and I donâ??t have a choice about giving you my money. In fact, I go to jail if I donâ??t. Senator Vitter was also a vocal critic of the spending to reduce STDs, so perhaps this tells us a little about where his priorities lie. Even if ACORN was getting $100 million as a result of the stimulus, thatâ??s only a tiny fraction of the overall bill. Why are you wasting your time on something so insignificant? Senator John McCain mocked the money spent on honeybee insurance, but if you talk to any farmer, you know how important this issue can actually be. In grade school we are taught the role that bees pay in the pollination process, and to mock the necessity of this kind of insurance is to blatantly put politics before the welfare of the American people. Farming is already a losing industry, and to add insult to injury only makes it worse. Senator John Boehner had no problem with deficit spending when it was proposed for the War in Iraq, but he now seems to have difficulty spending money to rebuild our own country. Why is it okay to send billions of dollars to the Middle East with little or no accountability for what happens to it, but not to spend money here, within the borders of our own country, with our own welfare in mind? Please, please, please, do not reduce your answers to â??liberal spendingâ? and â??tax and spend Democrats,â? etc. And do not try and convince me that tax cuts would be more successful. If Senator McConnell is as much of a student of history as he would make himself out to be, he would be the first to admit that the Bush tax cuts didnâ??t work at all. They did absolutely nothing to remedy the situation that we now face. That being said, I will listen to your arguments, if you make arguments that actually discuss the merits and problems with this bill. I know that there are fundamental differences between the ways that the Republican party and the Democratic party believe our country should operate in order to bring about a, to use the cliché, brighter future for our children. But it is just as important for individuals to admit when their particular strategy isnâ??t going to work and that we may have to admit that sometimes other people just might be rightâ?¦more right than you. Democrats were forced to submit to Reaganâ??s success as far as nuclear disarmament is concerned, and itâ??s time for Republicans to do the same concerning the economy. I truly love this county, despite the problems we face. And I remain hopeful that one day our government will put the needs of the people before their party loyalty. Please donâ??t let me down. With the Utmost Sincerity, My Name