A change in Princes is the Joy of Fools. ~ Old Romanian Proverb
There is no cause so noble that it will not attract at least a few idiots. ~Larry Niven

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

And the results are in . . . .

Today's email brought me responses from both my frosh Pubbie Congressman Rick Nugent and the next-ex Senior Senator from Florida, Bill Nelson.

Since I posted the contents of  my letters to both of them, I thought it fair and illustrative to post the replies from each.  I know they are canned and not personal, but it's interesting to note how the staffs' of each elected official approach exactly the same topic.

Let's start with Sheriff Rick:

Thank you for contacting me with your budget proposal. My job is to be your representative and voice in Washington and without hearing your ideas, I can't do that.

Our country is in dire straits right now. The financial problems facing our country are on the verge of crippling our entire economy. Many people don't realize the full extent of the problem. This year, we are running a $1.7 trillion deficit. Our entire discretionary budget – including the entire military – is only about $1.3 trillion. In other words, if we got rid of every single government agency from the Department of Education to the Department of Justice and on top of that decided not to have a military anymore, we'd still be running a $400 billion deficit. Unfortunately, balancing the budget isn't as simple as just cutting back around the edges.

For years, this problem has been swept under the rug by the media and by politicians in Washington. What we once thought was a crisis twenty years off is in fact already happening now. The President's own budget projects that interest payments on the national debt will be as big as Medicare by 2014 and bigger than the entire defense budget by 2018. Most people don't know that.

This is not just about saving the economy for our children and grandchildren anymore. This is about saving our economy now. If we do not fundamentally rethink our finances in Washington, everything we have come to expect will be at risk in a short period of time.

The House has started that process. Instead of debating how much to increases spending as we've seen over the last many years, we're now debating what and how much to cut. That is a fundamental change from just a few months ago.

As you know, after over 90 hours of debate, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1, the Full-Year Continuing Appropriation Act of 2011. H.R. 1 cut billions of dollars from all types of discretionary spending and amounts to the single largest budget cut in our nation's history. Unfortunately, despite all his rhetoric about cutting the budget and his commitment to fiscal responsibility, President Obama threatened to veto the bill if it ever reached his desk.

The attitude taken by President Obama and Democrats in Congress, who voted against H.R. 1 unanimously, is completely out of touch with reality. Despite the fiscal situation we are in, they increased the non-defense, discretionary part of the budget by 23% in the last two years. Right now Congress needs to be following in the footsteps of the American people. The average citizen cannot print more money when they run out of funds, they must tighten their belts. And that is what the federal government should be doing.

We cannot fix the budget without your help. As I see it, it's your money we're talking about, you should have a say in how it's spent. To that end, it doesn't matter if you're calling, emailing, writing, or stopping by the office to visit, just keep in touch. The more people we get engaged, the better our ideas will be.

Richard Nugent
Member of Congress
Straight for the issues, no waffling.  Now here's Astro Boy's reply to me:

Thank you for sharing your views on the Federal budget and your support for the spending plan set forth by the House of Representatives in H.R. 1, the Continuing Budget Resolution for Fiscal Year 2011.

I voted against H.R. 1 because rather than blindly slash programs without taking the time to examine the consequences, I believe what we need are responsible solutions that can reduce the deficit and, at the same time, ensure economic opportunity for the middle class.

I have long been committed to getting Federal spending under control, going back to my support for a balanced budget in the 1980s. Last year I voted for an across-the-board cap on discretionary spending through 2014, and recently voted to ban earmarks for three years. Furthermore, I am a cosponsor to the Reduce Unnecessary Spending Act (S.102), which would establish a streamlined procedure for Congress to vote on discretionary spending cuts proposed by the President, much like a line-item veto.
Ultimately, I believe if we come together in a good-faith effort, and let go of partisan hang-ups, we can break this impasse. Even though we may disagree on this specific bill, I believe we share a common goal in reducing our overall debt. Please know that I will continue to look for common ground across the political divide that meets the needs of Florida and our nation.

Senator Bill Nelson

 "Res ipsa loquitur" is the Latin expression lawyers use, "the thing speaks for itself."  Except for ommitting a footnote to his web site, that's all he had to say about the future of this nation.

[BTW, Yalie lawyer Nelson gets a huge percentage of his campaign financing from--"anyone . . . anyone . . . Bueller!"--yes, law firms.

I love this part:   "I believe if we come together in a good-faith effort, and let go of partisan hang-ups, we can break this impasse."  Whenever Donkeys are in the majority, they talk about "will of the people" and "mandates" and steamroller their policies through.  But on the Wednesday following an Election Day defeat in  any race, they dust off "bi-partisan" and sentiments to that effect.  The truth is, I think if the Senate did not stand for re-election in staggered one-third increments, the Pubs would be in the majority there, too.  Astro Boy knows he's vulnerable here in Florida, so he's making nice noises, sounds that were utterly alien to his throat until last November's Object Lesson in humility.

I see something in Astro Boy's  future, a vision for 2012, a sign and a portent of things to come . . . .

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