Open Letter to Utah Senators and Representatives, and All Members of the U.S. Congress

Open Letter to Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee (Senators from Utah), Jason Chaffetz (Representative of my district in Utah), Rob Bishop and Jim Matheson (representatives of other House districts in Utah), and all other members of Congress:

I am a middle class American and refuse to stand quietly by and let you destroy this country. The budget debate you have been playing at has gone beyond the point of reason. I join with many, many others in saying that you must stop this irresponsibility. It doesn’t matter which political party you have attached to your name, you are supposedly a representative of the citizens and supposedly put country first. You should be ashamed of the partisan debate that has brought us to the economic brink of default and made “democracy” the laughingstock of the world. No one observing the current debacle would want to have anything to do with our form of government, they must view us as in a downward spiral to nowhere, and they are right.

Many of you (all of the Utahns) claim that this is the result of unchecked spending, budget deficits, etc. (something that almost all of you have been a part of for many years), and that you are now going to be the ones to put a stop to it. Rather than stopping it though, you are opening the trapdoor for the middle and lower classes in this country to fall through. Not one of you has offered a reasonable, balanced approach that includes everyone in this country — and by that I include individuals (rich, poor and everyone in between), small businesses and big corporations. You refuse to consider any kind of tax increase — including closing tax loopholes that benefit large corporations or ending oil and gas subsidies on corporations that just posted multi-billion dollar profits — or even to let the Bush era tax cuts expire. Most of what has been proposed falls on the back of those least able to make adjustments — elderly, poor, lower and middle class, and the environment. Where were your budget concerns in the pre-war debate regarding funding of two wars? Did you express any reservations regarding how those wars were going to be funded? I’ll answer for you because I remember even if you don’t: No, you did not express any concerns, in fact, those of you who were in Washington at that time were in FULL support of the wars as well as the tax cuts. You completely disregarded the voices of warning saying that it could not be done and our nation remain economically sound. You were in a full press forward, following the administration’s advice to increase spending (two wars) and decrease revenues (tax cuts). That, sirs, is why we have a budget crisis; that is why we have a deficit rather than a budget surplus — and you were in full support.

Since you played such an important role in the making of our current deficit, you need to get busy, bury your partisan pom poms, and work out a viable compromise — not a compromise like you think you have agreed upon, not one that requires a constitutional amendment, but a real, viable compromise. A compromise that cuts spending but also increases revenues. The subsidies must go and tax cuts for those with incomes over $200,000 must go. You know that 90-95% of Americans do not fall into that category so unless you are going to be elected by the other 5% you’d better pay attention here!

Now a few personal notes to each of the legislators from Utah:

Mike Lee, your constitutional amendment needs to hit the bottom of the bin. This country had a budget surplus when George W. Bush started his first term and that was without your constitutional amendment. We didn’t need it then, we don’t need it now. You profess to believe that the Constitution of the United States is divinely inspired, so stop trying to mess with it. You are not the one to “save” it from the proverbial “thread” any more than Mr. Hatch.

Orrin Hatch, it’s time for you to retire. You came from Pennsylvania thirty years ago campaigning on term limits and you are still here. It’s time to do something other than petty squabbling with Jason Chaffetz.

Mr. Chaffetz, stop acting like Mr. Hatch. Also, I don’t want to hear you say again that you haven’t heard any disagreement with your budget/deficit position from your constituents. You have and you know it.

Rob Bishop, it’s time to realize that God didn’t say “suck the earth dry and then pave whatever’s left” when he referred to replenishing the Earth.  The dust you are made of will return to the earth but your soul will return to God, and He will require an accounting. That will not be in dollars earned for the oil and gas lobby.

Jim Matheson, I think it would be better if you just switched parties. You vote as a Republican most of the time so you might as well be honest about it.

Now a general note to all serving (yes, serving) in the House/Senate/Administration:

It is time to stop this ridiculous posturing and get some work done. If you went to school in this country you had to take U.S. history and/or civics courses. You should know that governing means compromise. Our country has 300 million people in it — no one will ever get everything they want! I won’t, you won’t, no one will. That is because if I get what I want, someone else gets stepped on. If someone else gets everything they want, the ‘wants’ of another someone else will be squashed. That is why we must compromise. EVERYONE must do their part, the poor, the middle class, the wealthy and the corporations. When you serve only one sector — even if it’s the one that provides bucketloads of campaign cash — you are hurting all others. You cannot do that as an elected official and still claim to be “principled.” You must look at the greater good for the majority. It is time to remember the other 95% of the American population. Unless I am mistaken, they are the ones who will be at the polls in the next election.

Sincerely,

Utah American

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Big Oil and the Budget/Deficit Debate

There are some people who will immediately discount the following information simply because the source is  The Progress Report Banner, what is generally considered to be a liberal/progressive information source.  Whether the information comes from a liberal or a conservative source (e.g. The Wall Street Journal), the facts are the same:  the big oil corporations continue to make billions of dollars in profits even as they continue to receive government tax and incentive subsidies.  Please read closely and note that the figures below are not for a full year, say for 2010, but are for second quarter 2011, that is April to June only of 2011 and they are profits.   Three Months!

The budget/deficit debate in the House and Senate of the United States continues to slide away from the elimination of these subsidies and toward cuts to services that ALL Americans, not just corporate CEOs or shareholders, receive — Medicare and Social Security, clean air/water regulation, environmental protections and assistance to “the least among us.”  The debate has included such possibilities as doing away with or lowering PELL grants for low-income students, eliminating the mortgage interest tax deduction, defunding the EPA and Interior Departments to the point where enforcement of existing regulations that protect drinking water, mine safety and air quality, for example, is impossible.

Our government is supposed to be “of, by and for the people,” and so, unless you think this is fair (and who knows, you might), I suggest that you write/call/email your congressmen, those representatives and senators who are elected BY THE PEOPLE, NOT BY THE CORPORATION and let them know how you feel about this.  As far as I am concerned, this is absolutely unacceptable and would say, “read it and weep,” but I don’t want you to weep, weeping is generally associated with hopelessness and the facing of a situation that cannot be changed.  This can and must change.  Therefore, I say, “read it and get DAMN MAD!!!!  Call and write your congressmen and let them know how unacceptable this is!  Compromise means that both sides come together, it’s not one side of the debate completely caving!  Everyone must tighten — YES, EVEN BIG OIL!!!

Link here to find your congressional representatives:   http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml

No ‘Shared Sacrifice’ for Big Oil

While the government’s coffers are nearly empty (not unlike the wallets of millions of Americans), Big Oil is still flush with cash — including some of the $4 BILLION in taxpayer-funded handouts they’ll get from Uncle Sam this year. This week, the government-subsidized oil giants once again reported tens of billions of dollars in profits.

As the nation teeters on the brink of default, the GOP wants us to “kiss Medicare goodbye” (along with Medicaid and Social Security), but they still refuse to touch a dime of the $77 BILLION in taxpayer handouts that we’ll give to the most profitable industry the world has ever known over the next 10 years.

Here are the numbers you need to know:

$3.4 BILLION

ConocoPhillips’ second quarter profit.

$5.6 BILLION

BP‘s second quarter profit, which investors called “disappointing.”

$8 BILLION

Shell’s second quarter profit.

$10.7 BILLION

ExxonMobil’s second quarter profit.

17.6 Percent

ExxonMobil’s effective federal tax rate.

20.4 Percent

The average American’s individual effective tax rate.

41 Percent

The increase in ExxonMobil’s second quarter profits.

$77 BILLION

The cost of taxpayer-funded subsidies for Big Oil from 2011-2021.

In one sentence: Even as ExxonMobil made more than $118 MILLION a day in profits last quarter, it is still paying a lower tax rate than the average American.

Mike Lee vs United States of America

Mr. Lee, Republican senator from Utah, won his 2010 primary election against former Senator Robert Bennett and then, because this is Utah, won in November because Utah is, for all intents and purposes a one-party state. In that primary, it was a tea partier against an experienced conservative. Tea Party won.

Now, after extolling the divine inspiration that resulted in the Constitution of the United States in order to get elected, now Mr. Lee says that we need to amend that very Constitution, that the Founding Fathers who practically walked and talked with God as they sweltered in that constitutional summer, beating out compromise after compromise, didn’t get it right. Mr. Lee needs to “fix” things.

The argument I hear from Lee and others advocating constitutional amendment on the budget is that, “Well, how could they (Founding Fathers) know we’d end up with a several trillion dollar budget! If they had known, they would have written it in.” Now, THAT’s an argument I understand. I’ve used it several times myself! Only I’ve used it in conversations about guns (“If they had known how easy it would be for crazy people, or even otherwise normal people, to get automatic weapons they would have made a law against them.”). So, Tea partiers, constitution amenders, Mr. Lee: I feel your pain. HOWEVER! That doesn’t mean we should give in to your extortion regarding the federal budget.

YOU, Mr. Lee, should be charged and prosecuted for extortion of the citizens of the United States. You are trying to hold this entire country hostage while you write your constitutional amendment that will devastate this country’s economy and spill over into the world as a whole. You remember that world, don’t you? The one God created (and all in it)?