An open letter to my Congressman in response to his form letter replying to me about my opposition to H.R. 2560, the “Cut, Cap, and Balance Act of 2011”

Official portrait of United States Senator (R-AR).

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I received a canned, form letter response from my (UGH) Republican Congressman John Boozman today.  I send regular correspondence to him pushing for the right thing pertaining to all legislation that we the people are privy to.  He, of course responds, generally with form letters, if it is an email I send.  Today, I was compelled to respond to his canned e-mail.  Of course, he is taking the party line of taxing the wealthy would be unfair because they area already bearing the most burden of taxation and that corporations could not be competitive if they paid taxes…blah blah blah…arguments that are all crap.  All we have to do is look to other countries where businesses thrive and the wealthy pay taxes to see that their argument does not hold water.

So, moving forward, I also found this fantastic site that where you can go and actually post comments directly to any Congress person.  I am not sure how often, if ever, it is read by them.  But, it ties comments to them directly, it is being used by the people, that is for sure.  It can be found at: http://whoismyrepresentative.com/.  I thought, why not share my letters out there for others to see.  Perhaps they might decide to start writing letters too?  At minimum, it is a place where people can start making a statement to their representatives that all can see.  I am totally in love with this idea.

Hopefully it will inspire EVERYONE to take action and voice their opinions about things to Congress.

At any rate, here is my letter.  I will warn, it contains a shocking confession.  I was once, years ago a Republican.  Shudder.  There, I said it.  I know, it is unbelievable,  I am so sorry.  I am doing everything in my power to make amends.  I pray there are enough years left in my life to do so.  Please accept my apologies and I pray you will forgive me.

Now, on to the show….

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First, his canned form letter to me:

Dear Mrs. S,

Thank you for contacting me to express your opposition to H.R. 2560, the “Cut, Cap, and Balance Act of 2011,” and your support for tax increases on the wealthy and corporations. It is good to hear from you.

Like you, I am very concerned with the economic situation both in Arkansas and across the country. One of the government’s principle responsibilities is to establish an economic environment, with the proper tax system and regulations, which allows for economic growth and job creation. I work hard to make sure we implement careful reforms that do not have an adverse impact on America’s small businesses and job creators. In order to restore an economic environment that helps, rather than hinders, job creators, we must enact legislation that expands trade, produces more of our energy domestically, focuses on infrastructure development, curbs unnecessary regulations, and reforms the tax code. I will continue to support legislation promoting these principles.

First of all, please understand that there are varying reports on the amount of taxes that America’s wealthiest individuals pay. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office reports that the richest 20 percent of taxpayers are now responsible for 86 percent of the federal income tax burden. Of the 750,000 taxpayers who pay the highest marginal tax rate of 35 percent, which is the top 0.5 percent of all taxpayers, more than two-thirds are small business owners. This means that most small businesses pay the individual income tax and these small businesses are generally concentrated in the higher income tax brackets. Prior to the 2003 tax cut, small businesses paid a higher top tax rate than most large corporations, even though businesses with fewer than 100 employees represent 98 percent of all businesses and create 36 percent of all jobs. As a committed fiscal conservative, I agree that the government must be more efficient and spend less of Americans’ hard-earned taxpayer money. However, I believe that raising taxes, especially during an economic crisis, will only worsen our financial woes.

We must be careful to ensure that any changes to current law or our tax code do not further aggravate our economy. In addition, the reason companies appear to have a lower tax rate is because U.S. multinational corporations are currently permitted to defer U.S. taxes on overseas income. In other words, they do pay substantial taxes, but they pay taxes to the country where the income is being generated and defer U.S. taxes on that income until it is brought home. This deduction prevents U.S.-based companies from being double taxed, here and abroad, which would put them at a significant competitive disadvantage with foreign corporations that are not subject to the double taxation. Today’s tax code is unfair, discourages against savings and investment, and is impossibly complex. I believe that the tax code should not unjustly burden the American people, yet at the same time we simply cannot put U.S. corporations in a position where they cannot compete globally. The U.S. corporate tax rate is currently one of the highest in the world. If we further increase that burden on American businesses, it will undoubtedly result in higher consumer prices and fewer American jobs. We should be doing everything we can to encourage manufacturing and investment within the United States, and I believe reforming our tax code is an essential step in making that happen. Please be assured that while we do not see eye-to-eye on this issue, I value your opinion and will keep your thoughts in mind as Congress debates this issue.

Again, thank you for contacting me on this very important issue. Please be sure to visit our website at www.boozman.senate.gov. I look forward to your continued correspondence.

Sincerely,

John Boozman
U.S. Senator

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Dear Senator Boozman,

In response to your form letter reply pertaining to my opposition to H.R. 2560, the “Cut, Cap, and Balance Act of 2011,” and your support for tax increases on the wealthy and corporations The CBO is simply a puppet for whomever is the Speaker of the House. Statistics will say whatever you wish them to say, it is a matter of selecting your
input data. The simple fact of the matter is that there are persons that can and there persons that cannot afford additional taxes at this time in the U.S.

Additionally, history has proven and top economists will tell you that during an economic rebuilding period it is ludicrous to try to limit spending and worry about deficits. If we build a better economy then deficits will be taken care of.  By putting the proverbial cart before the horse, the House is doing nothing more than stalling an already slow recovery and putting election antics over the well being of the people.  Has the GOP consulted with
economists that worked in Government in similar situatons? How about Robert Reich? He is a good man, with good ideas and could do this country a world of good.

As you are aware, based on my activity sending you correspondence I am deeply passionate about Government doing the right thing for the PEOPLE. I do not see the GOP, who I was formerly a member of the for over twenty years (I now shamefully admit) acting in a manner that is caring for the people. Rather I see a party that has lost its way in a sea of greed and special interests. It is going to take strong leaders to step up and speak the hard truth, trickle down economics do not work. Corporate personhood was a bad idea. Campaign finance is in dire need of reform. Term limits must be imposed on members of Congress. Insider trading for Congress must be stopped. Social programs are a necessity in a Christian America. Education is a necessity in America. Alternative fuels are a necessity in order to end our dependence on oil in the next 3-7 years. Tax breaks for shipping jobs overseas must be stopped. Tax breaks for companies that put bonuses and performance over employees jobs must be stopped. There is a list a mile long of the right things that need to be done. 

My question to you is can we count on you to be the man to stand up, against the tide of the mainstream GOP, and be the voice of reason? Can we count on you to voice the needs of the people over the wants of the 1% and the corporations?

If not, then all is lost. If so, then perhaps you are the one shining beacon of light in an otherwise pitch black void that I have come to know as the GOP and their political agenda.

Regards,

Becky

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Come on guys, make some noise with me.  These guys are full of crap!!!  We have to stand up and be heard!!

the Atlantic I am so disappointed in your piece ‘Are Most Federal Workers Overpaid? CBO Says Yes’ it is just poor journalism

I just read ‘Are Most Federal Workers Overpaid? CBO Says Yes By contributors@theatlantic.com (Jordan Weissmann)’ and have to reiterate what I say in my title.  I am so disappointed.  I posted the following comment on the Yahoo site and sent a comment to the Editor.

First, the Atlantic should be ashamed for even offering this as journalism. This article does nothing but incite anger unnecessarily. It does not provide enough information or insight into the actual report to allow the readers to understand that politicians are not even included in the report. This is clearly obvious by the masses of comments about firing congress I see posted.

This report, which incidentally I think was a waste of tax payer money, tells us that on the low end of the scale employees with less education are paid more when working for the Government than those working in the Private Sector. Conversely, the more education you have the more money you make in the Private Sector vs working for the Government. That is all this graph shows.

The sad comment to all of this is that people are calling for the Government to fire people, which is exactly what we don’t need at this point in an economic recovery, unless it is the politicians that made this mess.

What we need is reform, yes reform, that requires the Private Sector to pay a living wage, including to those with less education. Additionally we need education reform so we can educate EVERYONE.

We are rapidly headed toward the entire US looking like George W. Bush & Rick Perry‘s Texas: a ton of under-educated people working extremely low paying jobs barely able to survive; having to turn to public assistance in order to put food on the table while their so called leader brags that he has the highest job creation rate in the nation. Then he goes about cutting those very programs and gives tax breaks to the richest who do not need it.

All in all, a poor piece of reporting. I urge you to go read the report for yourself, the link is in the piece – it is only 28 pages if you are truly interested in the data. You will glean far more information than from reading this.

http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/126xx/doc12696/01-30-FedPay.pdf

First of all, that “more money” is not a lot of money being made on the low end of the scale as far as the less educated employees are concerned.  The overall salaries for these jobs, looking at the graph, appears to be under $25k for people with no college education.  Next to that is the sad wage of the Private Sector employee which is even less.  Follow along on the graph and you will see that the average wage of persons in the U.S. that are lucky enough to have a 4 year Bachelors degree is under $40k per year and those with Masters Degrees are  at $40k or barely above in both the Government and Private Sector jobs – they are virtually the same pay-wise.  The next big disparity comes along when you get to the Professional Degree or Doctorate.  A Government Employee who has Professional Degree or Doctorate makes under $50k according to the graph and the Private Sector employee is over $60k.

So, what it comes down to is the CBO is saying that the lowest paid persons in their organizations are being paid too much.  Their pay rates are barely a living wage, yet, it is too much and they want to cut it.  It is shameful for anyone in the U.S. to begrudge a person who was not lucky enough to get a college education the little bit of extra money they may be able to make in one job vs. another.  This is disgusting.  So, why would they say this?  Who stands to gain?  Who does the CBO report to?  None other than the Speaker of the House.  Yep, John Boehner.  That jerk.

I don’t know about any one else, but I am sick of these pointless inflammatory pieces that are trying to skew opinion of the Government waste,  especially because of the election.  Considering the steaming pile of dung that Obama received when he took office I am pleasantly surprised with what he has accomplished, even with the obstruction the GOP has been guilty of.  (I sure hope everyone is taking notes on how they have pretty much told the rest of us where we can go because they are going to do what the money people tell them to do regardless of the consequences to the people or the planet).

So, reading the report you will see that the Department of Defense employs approximately 35% (they said more than one third, I did the math) of the Government civilian workforce (program administrator, information technology worker, and program analyst); the only way to reduce that cost is to get out of the business of war.  Not a popular plan as far as the GOP goes.  Also, not something Obama is doing.  He is raising military spending to the tune of $6 billion a year, every year.  It seems a bit much to me, but that is a discussion for another day.

Remaining civilians employed by the Government are at the Department of Veterans Affairs, who employ 14% of the persons counted.  Of those half were medical professionals and the majority were nurses, not doctors.

There is also the Department of Homeland Security employing 8% where about a quarter are everyone’s favorite…..TSA.

The remaining 43% of federal employees work for the other departments and agencies of the executive, legislative and judicial branches.  In these areas the most common occupations are in I.T., and criminal investigations.

My question is where is the editor that should have looked at this and said WTF?  Have we really lowered our standards so much that anything submitted to a reputable magazine, regardless of being newsworthy or informative will be published?  I hope not, we need real reporters who can offer an unbiased, factual, overview of the item or issue they are reporting on.  Please join me in sending an email to the editor expressing your disappointment in this article, they have a form on their website that allows you to send a note to the editor and that link is http://www.theatlantic.com/contact/.

I also urge you to contact you elected representatives and comment on this report, it is a sad commentary on the use of tax payers dollars to try to skew public opinion in the favor of hidden political interests.  Speaker Boehner should be ashamed that he is once again trying to take money away from those who make the least.  What a despicable man.

Remember it is up to us to make a difference!