Saturday, April 09, 2011

An open letter to the US Congress and Executive Office

Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, Senators and representatives, if you ever read this, thank you for your time.  I know your time is important as you look toward reelection/the Masters/railroad building.

Mr. President, during your campaign, you and Mr. Biden frequently used the expression “That’s not change, that’s more of the same!”  Now, faced with an imminent government shutdown because the 111th congress, one led by your party, failed to pass a budget at the beginning of the fiscal year (1 October, in case some of you were unaware) the Congress of the United States has passed several Continuing Resolutions to “keep the ship afloat” as it were.  That too, is not change, it’s more of the same.  

I know the legislature is busy.  I can see from the Congressional calendar, that since starting the 112th Congress on the 5th of January, that Congress was hard at work for a total of 37 days.  (Personally, I reached that mark by February 24th.)  Those are the days when both houses are in session—days a bill can pass quickly.  There were the odd weeks that one house or another is not in session, and you both recess on the third week of every month, so time is definitely short for you to accomplish things.  I cannot tell you how glad I am when I hear that you are investigating steroid use in MLB, or reviewing the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” or determining if we should switch to compact fluorescent lights, or whatever else you do in committee, instead of working on the Federal budget.  I cannot tell you how much it bolsters my confidence that my elected officials are so busy rearranging the deck chairs so they will look pretty when the U.S.S. Titanic “wins the future” on the bottom of the Atlantic.  I cannot tell you how pleased I am with you, because I have no faith that any of you really are actively looking out for the best interests of America.

Mr. President, you too, share blame for this.  I’ve not seen you standing on your bully pulpit, listening to both sides, and submitting a recommended budget for approval that does anything to address the biggest concerns little peons like me have; namely, will my kids have a future not crushed by federal debt?  Will my country have a strong military, armed, equipped and trained to protect our real national interests?  Will the economy ever recover; will my house ever have the value I paid for it?  Will my neighbors keep their homes, or at least, their jobs?  I have not seen you on that bully pulpit much, now that I think of it.  I have seen you dancing to concerts in the White House, surrounded by the sycophantic harpies on “the View,” playing games with kids in Brazil, touring Europe, making tee times, eating shave-ice in Haleiwa, resting with your feet on the Resolute desk, bicycling with the kids, bowing to…everyone, and now that I think of it, doing everything except leading.  You should be at the helm of this great nation, moving the debate forward—demanding a budget that is sustainable and does not lead us further into debt.  You should be standing in the White House Briefing room demanding the congress work 20 hours a day to pass a budget that actually spends less than it takes in, and puts the remainder toward paying our debt down.  You should be pointing out every program that is wasteful, every program with no return on investment, every appropriation and dollar spent  not directly related to the authority granted congress, by We, the people, and specified in the US Constitution, and demanding that those extraneous things be cut, even if it means eviscerating the federal welfare state.  You should be using that pulpit to shame every last rider and piece of pork in the budget—and their authors, regardless of party but you chose not to.  You failed.

Mister Speaker, and Senator Reid, the Senate Majority leader, and you Mister Biden, as the President of the Senate, you should hang your heads in shame for this.  Mr. Biden, you sat idle in the Senate all last year while the congress failed to pass a budget.  That’s not change, Mr. Biden, that’s more of the same.  It is not like Ms. Pelosi’s house was very big on reading bills anyway—as we saw with their excremental socialized medicine plan.  You, Mr. Biden,  sat right there in the big chair behind the Speaker, and I never once saw you step up and preside—and tell those people in the big room that it was time to pull up their big-girl panties and fight for a responsible government.  You failed.

Mister Speaker, you are supposed to lead those 435 members of the house—solve problems, not play political games when our very government hangs in the balance.  You know that, as you have spent the last 18 years in congress, since 1991, and even been through a government shutdown before.  Yes, your party sent a bill for continuation of defense authorizations to avoid defaulting on military pay—and it included an abortion rider.  Are you serious?  Do you really care, or were y’all just trying to make the DNC-controlled Senate either a) approve federally funded abortion or b) give them a political turd to shine by not passing it?  I actually applaud the left for having the testicular fortitude to choose the hard-but-right over the easy-but-wrong.  Your side of the isle may want to consider trying doing the hard-but-right, because we, the people, are watching.  You failed.

Mister Reid, I will not spare you either.  I feel that you, as the leader of the majority party in the Senate, and someone who was in the US Senate since before U2 released “Joshua Tree” and Jim Bakker was caught shtupping Jessica Hahn, should have been able to negotiate a workable budget that both sides could agree on, but you failed.

People are now applauding your eleventh-hour agreement to kick this can down the road for a few days.  Don’t start popping the champagne yet.  You have done nothing more than hock the car on a payday loan, with me, the taxpayer, on the hook if you do not make your payments, and we lose the car that we could’ve sold under “cash for clunkers.”  You, the collective you, all 535 +2 of you, have had this paper due since 1 October 2010—to put it into terms a professor of constitutional law should understand—and you’ve been granting yourselves extensions and expecting a solid “B” for your work.   Your work has earned an “F.”  (That means Failed.)

It does NOT begin with “us.”  It begins with you—each of you—determining that your country is more important than your egos, that our fiscal future is more important than your reelection, and that  your job, at its very core, is to come together to solve problems that face the nation.  Your failure to act hurt all of us.  Do you understand that?  Marriages fail over financial problems more than anything else (unless you are a plastic-haired ambulance-chasing former presidential candidate with a wife dying of cancer.)  Do you realize the stresses you are adding to families with this can-kicking?  You may think you dodged a bullet by passing a resolution for a few days.  I see it as moving from one fighting position backwards to an alternate position.  You cannot win a war playing defense, and you can’t run a country a week at a time.  Would any of you want to rent your home to someone who could only pay a week at a time, and was never sure they would have the rent every Friday?  Why would you expect my landlord to be happy with that?  Why do you think I will be happy if you pay me, but leave the rest of my country hanging?  My entire adult life has been in the service to this nation—not a political position, but actually sacrificing, risking my life, for this great nation.  None of you has ever been in that position, not one of you four truly understands what freedom means—as you have never risked anything for it.  Your failure to make those hard choices and see that there are things that our government must do, things it should do, and things it can do, and that these things are not always the same thing and are not always mutually exclusive.  What it boils down to now is what our government must do if we are to survive as a nation—now and in the future.  Take the budget and look at it from those terms.  Think of it like grocery shopping—you have X dollars to feed your family.  You can buy beans and rice and eat for a week, or you can buy some candy.  Everyone loves candy.  Give candy to your friends and they’ll like you even more.  Eventually, everyone will have a tummy ache, there is no money for food, and there is not any candy left over.  As a provider, you failed.

I’ve gone on for almost 1500 words to tell you this one thing:  I am supposed to trust my government to not sell my life cheaply, to guide this grand idea that is the light of freedom in the world, and there isn’t any single one of you that I would trust with my checkbook.  When the balance is zero and the ink is red, you stop spending.  Before you get to that point, you buy what you need to survive.  After that, you choose between paying off debts, luxury and convenience items, and saving money for later.  Get it?  None of you seems to understand that, as you bicker over other shape of the tables at the peace talks, but do little, if anything, to end the stalemate.  I’d bet Admiral Joy would gladly spend time dithering in Panmunjom than spend it watching you all fight over your sacred cows while the herd dies.  You have to earn trust; you failed.

I noticed some of you were volunteering to donate your pay to charity, or return it to the government if you failed to pass a budget.  First, you have yet to pass a budget.  Second, while $14,500 would be a nice tidy monthly salary for most of us, it given that many, if in fact most, of your members have net a net worth in the tens of millions, your “generous” donation of $14,500 is about as “generous” as someone making minimum wage donating 1/100th of a cent (think coupon—wait, sorry.  A coupon is like a voucher that people collect and use when purchasing items to help defray the cost of real goods, offered by a manufacturer to encourage sales.  Coupons usually have a cash value listed as 1/100th of a cent, which in effect makes them worthless as a real form of currency—like our dollar.  Usually offered in terms of “cents off” (cents are what you have when you have less than a dollar—the metal things bums keep in their cups, or you may see people tossing into fountains when the wish for a job or a financial future.)  I do not think most of you have any idea what coupons are, or understand the concept of saving, so I felt had to explain that.

Ladies, Gentlemen, and Ms. Pelosi, do this one thing, please.  Remember back on January 5th when you read the constitution at the opening of the 112th congress?  Please go re-read this part:  Article 1, section 8, and if the things you want to add to the budget are not specifically listed there, and by specifically, do not say “well ‘X’ belongs in there under this clause because….”  It says it or it does not say it.  I think if you did that you would be very surprised at just how much money you DON’T have to spend.

Finally, I leave you with this.  Regardless of when (if!) you pass a budget, I will never, regardless of where I live, or what office you seek, vote for any one of you 535+2 jackanapes ever again.  You were all hired for this job—and you have not only failed, miserably, but just when I think you’ve reach rock bottom and can’t fail any more, you get out the drills and the ANFO and blast to new depths of failure.  You’ve lost my vote, you’ve lost my confidence, and I’ve never fully trusted any politician with a pulse, or you either, Mr. Reid.  I will vote for whoever else shares my values, but not you.  I vote in primaries, but if my choice is between any member of the current legislative or executive branch for *any* office, or for the guy at the bus stop who wets himself and keeps his lunch in his shoe, then I suppose Speaker Peepants will take the gavel.

Now get your asses back to work.

--A dissatisfied customer

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