Letter: An open letter to Representative Hultgren
Bush tax cuts and grocery shopping
I do all the grocery shopping for our household. Several weeks ago, I bought my favorite cranberry juice for $3.25. The next time I went to the store, it was on sale for $2.50. I stocked up, of course. It remained on sale for two weeks. When it went off sale, the price went back up to the $3.25. I don’t consider that a price increase; it just went off sale.
This past Saturday, I wanted to pick up some more juice, and the price was $3.50. Now, that is a price increase. Allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire (as the Sunset Provision Congress voted for) is not increasing taxes. Maybe Congress should do the grocery shopping for their family for eight weeks so they can see how this on-sale/off-sale price increase works in the real world. Ask anyone who does the family shopping; I’m sure they would be of the same opinion on grocery store pricing.
The Republican stance: Don’t raise taxes on the job creators
The Bush tax cuts have been in place for 10 years. I really don’t see jobs being created, at least not in the United States. Don’t blame government regulations on stifling job growth. The recent examples of the “Big Branch Mine” coal mine disaster, the B.P. oil explosion and spill, and the most recent oil line rupture in Montana is proof enough our regulations and system on fines are not strong enough.
Do we really want to cut food safety programs and trust business to do the right thing? Can an unregulated, free market really be safe for our citizens? The Chinese don’t seem to have much regulation or controls on safety and quality. Remember when they added melamine to dog and cat food to boost the protein assay and many pets died as a result? They did the same thing to baby formula. Is this the level of regulation we are aiming for?
Paying for war
It seems to me that when you have larger expenses (two wars, etc.), you have to bring in more money. If I want to replace my 2005 car with a 2012, I need more revenue, not less; I don’t cut back my hours at work. I might have more energy, more free time and feel better not working quite as much, but I’ll have less money to make car payments with. To compensate for the reduced income, since I cut my hours, do I stop paying my health insurance policy? That would save a bundle of cash right now to pay for the car, but maybe not be so good for my long-term health or financial health, for that matter.
The reasons for the deficit being this high include the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the Bush tax cuts and the Prescription Drug Bill—none of which were paid for.
Do I want to pay higher taxes? Not really. Do I think we can afford to keep spending and not try to raise more money? No. Do I think we can cut the deficit by spending cuts alone? Of course not. You can’t cut the social safety net to shreds. Do the Republicans think I’m an idiot? Maybe they do, or maybe they think I have a very short memory.
Two friends of mine live in a rural community. Rob lost his job with a heating and cooling company. Now he works as a short-order cook. His wife, Lynn, is a school bus driver. They each make $10 an hour at their jobs. They have a 10-year-old son, Evan. Can they afford to pay more taxes? No. Can they afford to lose Evan’s state kids healthcare insurance? They would be able to get by, yes, but it might not be so good for Evan’s health, short term or long term.
Recently, Sen. Sessions said that having millionaires pay higher taxes to save the economy was “rather pathetic.” Sen. Hatch suggested that the poor do their fair share. Really? Where would Rob and Lynn find the money? Why don’t you ask those who have done so well these last 10 years to pay a bit more? Charge the regular price for juice, not sale price for perpetuity.
I am truly disgusted with what I see in Washington. The greed and hypocrisy is beyond anything I could have dreamed of. Congressmen standing on the floor in the House of Representatives, railing against the stimulus package, voting against it, but then showing up at ribbon cutting ceremonies in their districts, praising the jobs that were created by the stimulus.
In Washington, the focus is nothing more than getting and retaining power. Congress is looking out for the interests of those contributors who fund their campaigns. You don’t really seem to care about the rest of us. It is my family who help pay your government salary, pension and healthcare insurance. Our checks to your campaign coffers just aren’t big enough to justify any attention to what we need. In the last election cycle, the Republicans ran on “creating jobs.” There have been no job bills. Most of the bills that were passed were focused on social issues. I don’t see a job bill or any new jobs that the 112th Congress has created.
Raising the retirement age and Medicare age eligibility
Raising the retirement age for general office workers might be okay, but what about people who work at hard labor jobs, construction, waitressing, nursing, etc. Your body wears out—doesn’t Congress understand that? Are they so insulated from life that they don’t know that people do hard, physical labor or are on their feet all day? To secure the financial health of social security, lift the cap and stop raiding the trust fund. That seems to be a no-brainer for me.
Raising the Medicare eligibility age is just going to hurt more people. So many people in their 50s have been laid off. In this economy, who is going to hire an older worker? They require higher salaries, and their health insurance costs are higher. Most employers hire cheaper, younger people or go out of the country, where labor is cheaper.
I have many friends who are self-employed, unemployed or underemployed, and are trying very hard to stay healthy and praying they don’t get sick. They are counting the days until Medicare kicks in because they can’t buy health insurance because of pre-existing conditions, or they just can’t afford it. There are ways to fix Medicare without hurting seniors. How about negotiating for lower drug prices, for instance? Oh, I forgot, it’s the pharmaceutical companies that write the big checks to election campaigns.