Letters: Hensarling was wrong

Posted by : Staff Reports | On : December 19, 2011

Dear Editor,

Congressman Hensarling’s failure as the chairman of the Super Committee to bring together cuts and revenues to address the nations needs was a far bigger failure than he admits. Yes there will still be $1.2 trillion of spending cuts that will be guaranteed under the Budget Control Act but the part that he glossed over was that the Democrats offered three times that much way back when the first hard fight for spending and revenue increases were debated. That is the real tragedy.

The President has, on numerous occasions, expressed that Medicaid, Social Security and other tax supported systems were in the discussion for review and adjustment. This did not make many Democrats happy but he did this for a compromise. The Republicans could not come to the table because a majority of them had actually signed a pledge to not raise additional revenues for any reason. And that has been the real problem. Many Republicans have superimposed a pledge they signed to not raise revenue for any reason, over their legislative duties. They stand honoring this pledge regardless of their commitment to the legislative process.

Unlike what the Congressman stated in his article, President Obama did put his signature healthcare plan on the consideration block. He also changed a large cost of the Affordable Health Care Act by removing long term insurance for the elderly. He did this because the plan was found by the C.B.O. to be too costly. The C.B.O. Has reviewed the Affordable Care Act and crunched the numbers and Hensarling did not mention that their finding was that it will reduce the deficit and allow many millions more citizens to have basic healthcare. Controlling costs is critical going forward controlling the debt and budget, as the President well knows. As the Congressman also well knows, the Republicans vouchers for healthcare have been examined and that plan did not reduce costs and was not cost effective for most citizens.

The Congressman does not mention either that the plans that were laid out by the Republicans were offered only with a united “No” to any increased revenues mostly due to the pledge. It is a fact that the Republicans turned down all compromises for reducing the debt. Reductions in many programs that Americans cherish included Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security were offered. But, the Republicans stuck to the pledge that the country’s concerns would be addressed only through cuts. Clearly, budgets can withstand some debt and there are times that a debt increase and revenue increase to gain a goal is okay by most of us for some periods of time or emergencies like we just experienced. Even Republican President Reagan discovered this and raised revenue on five separate occasions for the good of the country. Even Warren Buffet who is one of the wealthiest 1 percent has stated that he does not pay his fair share of revenue for the nation’s support. Even Fareed Zakaria a respected international analyst has stated that America’s issues are stable and not economical any longer but that politics block a successful outcome for the country. This does make the Republicans quite responsible for the failure of so many offered compromises and for the Super Committee. It is almost the guarantee of budget difficulties becoming insurmountable down the road.

One party cannot determine the course of the nation if the other states there is no compromise regarding revenues. Our form of government does not work that way. I get confused about the absolute of not raising taxes and adjusting the tax code to help reduce the deficit during these unusual and difficult times. Countless studies by economists have shown that due to this crisis we need additional revenue and that the middle class cannot shoulder that alone. The middle class has shrunk in wages and percentage of wealth created over the last 30 years by a huge margin. The 1 percent has earned more of the wealth in the highest percentage in history at the lowest taxed percentage to that wealth. There has been a belief that by sheltering the 1 percent from increased taxes they would create jobs. That has not proven true. The highest income group have invested their gains in ways that have not helped the nation prosper enough over the last thirty years. That is a fact. National needs are debatable but when all is said our society believes that infrastructure, commerce, transportation, safety, world security, military strength, environment, education, the needs of the handicapped, disabled and elderly care are responsibilities we can better address together. These social goals have certainly benefited the wealthy the most. I do not believe that the Congressman has worked near as hard as the President on this process for the nation’s best interest. (The disproportionate influence of special interests appear to have won again.)

I believe that there is broad agreement among the American public that a balanced plan is necessary. The clear loser in this failure is every citizen. I do hold Representative Hensarling accountable. He lent his name to the Super Committee process for a reason. My guess is that he thought it would serve him well to chair the Super Committee to failure and then join the rest of the Republicans and state that it was insurmountable. It was not. Reasonable people have come together time and time again to trim elderly, poor, unemployed, medical benefits, and to tell the military to get leaner to afford what they need to do. It is due to unreasonable hardliners that we have unreasonable results. There needs to be a huge cost for the unreasonable to fail the American people in our severe need. The good news is that this “theater” will now at least have some automatic reductions in 2013. You stated in your article that you also have concerns about some of those automatic cuts that were articulated by our Secretary of Defense. You need to address your concerns to yourself and other Republicans. It appears Republicans almost to a person have planned several years ago to oust a duly elected president, block recovery, sign pledges to not address the whole difficulty of the nation and drive us deeper toward recession, and despair in that bargain. I hold you accountable for that, as well. You could have done better for more of the people and chose not to. You failed the Super Committee, Congress and the American people.

Carol Price