Owen: Open letter to GOP

Sunday, November 7, 2010 at 7:00pm
By Justin Owen

Well Republicans, congratulations. You rode an anti-incumbent, anti-Washington, anti-Democratic wave into power. You took the House and broke the Democrats’ filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

Don’t screw this up. Again.

You were elected by advocating the ideas of smaller government, lower taxes and fiscal restraint. Now govern by them. Whatever you do, don’t look back to your predecessors from 1994, who also surged into power, taking the Senate for the first time in a decade and the House for the first time in nearly a half-century.

They campaigned on similar principles, yet they soon abandoned those for political expediency. Under six years of total Republican control during this decade, government spending skyrocketed by 47 percent, and President George W. Bush continued to help the Democrats increase spending by an additional 13 percent until he left office in 2008. It was also Republicans who increased welfare by one third, government medical expenditures (such as Medicare and Medicaid) by 54 percent, food stamps by 43 percent and Social Security by 19 percent.

As a result of the GOP’s failure to walk the talk, Americans returned the favor by ushering in the most left-leaning Congress in history in 2006 and a compatible president two years later. Were it not for the GOP, Americans would likely have never uttered the words “Speaker Pelosi” or elected a man to our nation’s highest office who just four years earlier was a relatively unknown Illinois state senator. Alas, those things have come to pass.

Upon taking control, Democrats nearly doubled the national debt and drove up deficit spending to “stimulate” an economy that is still in recess. They hijacked our health care system and turned the financial sector into a farce. While we could easily lay all the blame for this at the feet of the left, it was you, Republicans, who paved the road for them. You even installed a fast lane.

Although it should surprise no one, a recent poll showed that 57 percent of Americans want Congress to cut spending, even during these tough economic times. Most Americans are firmly aware that Washington doesn’t have a revenue problem — it has a spending addiction.

Further, a growing number of Americans are coming around to the cold, hard fact that taxpayers cannot continue to foot the bill for our ballooning entitlement spending. Put simply, Republicans: Voters have given you the authority to do something about out-of-control spending, so it would behoove you to take the cue.

Given this sentiment, now is the perfect time to make difficult but necessary changes to our system of government. Start by reforming entitlement spending — Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — to reduce the unfunded obligations that together make up nearly four times our entire national debt. Social Security is already bankrupt by any sane accounting standards, so reform must occur now. If reforms aren’t made, these three programs alone will consume all federal tax revenues by 2052.

Further, our bloated federal bureaucracy is riddled with wasteful spending. If it’s not a core function of government enumerated in the Constitution, stop funding it with our money. Let the states, and the people themselves, take back many of the responsibilities that the federal government has improperly subsumed over the past century.

While you’re at it, reform the earmark process and eliminate ridiculous pet projects that do nothing more than serve as “ribbon-cutting” campaign photo opportunities. You should certainly work hard to return money to your districts — in the form of tax cuts, not bridges to nowhere.

To get reelected, you really only need to do three simple things: spend less, tax less and listen more. It doesn’t get much easier than that. 

11 Comments on this post:

By: govskeptic on 11/8/10 at 8:17

Tax cuts, tax cuts, based on this thinking the Federal Government
can live on free air and water. While I'm no believer that raising
taxes is the answer to all our problems especially in state and
local matters all this spending and warring during the Bush yrs
as well as the massive spending the past 2 yrs will require revenue
from some source. Closing so many tax loopholes might be an
awfully good area to start. Only the working middle class pays
the percentages in the tax codes, super wealth and most businesses
pay far less than those stated percentages through hundreds upon
hundreds of special provisions. Far too many in both catagories
pay nothing!!!!

By: Kosh III on 11/8/10 at 9:35

So many GOP talking points and omissions.
Social Security is NOT bankrupt. It does need so minor adjustments and it needs ONE major change: eliminate the exclusion from SS of those with large incomes. Everyone should pay the same rate. Funny how the GOP foam about "flat taxes" but don't want it for SS.
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"and President George W. Bush continued to help the Democrats increase spending"
Quite a distortion of facts to blame the other party instead of rightfully blaming to GOP. It was the GOP which pushed and passed these massive spending bills.
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The writer left out the trillions wasted on two unnecessary wars by the GOP.
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Earmarks are a tiny portion of spending. The biggest waste is the Dept of War/Defense. Start by cutting there.

By: Loner on 11/8/10 at 2:10

This letter has the aroma of a missive penned by a professional zealot. So, I Googled it.

Sure enough. I found their site, here's the relevant snippet: "Justin Owen is the president of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research, the state’s free market think tank." Here is their URL:

http://www.tennesseepolicy.org/2010/11/open-letter-to-the-gop/

The NCP did not include information that would have revealed the pertinent fact that Mr. Owens is the President of the right-wing think tank, the TCPR.

I will join Mr. Owen in issuing a challenge to the elected and re-elected Republicans in the House, the ruling majority in the next Congressional session.

I challenge them to demonstrate their fiscal restraint, like they did under Bill Clinton, when they balanced the federal budget ...for 2 consecutive years, as I recall. Let's start with that...after all, all spending Bills have to go through the House; I don't want to hear any excuses.

Balance the current budget first, then we can start to pay down debt.

Paying taxes is the civil duty of all Americans, we must all be willing to pull our share of the load...like a team of mules on the old canal towpath, towing a barge. Lately, we've been cutting ourselves too much slack......when the tow-rope tightens, be prepared for whiplash....the collar is going to chafe.

By: pswindle on 11/8/10 at 2:14

It's gotta be interesting to see what a total mess they make. The middle class better wake up in 2012, they made not get another chance. Because we will go to a two-tier system. That will be rich and poor and nothing in between.

By: AmyLiorate on 11/8/10 at 4:13

Kosh, SS has $0 in it's account. I is bankrupt and only functions in the same manner as a Ponzi scheme.

As the pool of contributors waxes and wanes such a scheme will have abundance or shortages. IMO it's just another example of government trying to do something that is well intended but inappropriate and/or incompetent for it to do.

We will have to see how this guy works:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dN0N6roRGZ8

Listen carefully to what he talks about, he's not afraid to take a stand on the tough points. The real and critical issues that both sides find uncomfortable to talk about!

No one likes to cut anything. While it's easy to skip dessert the two parties just can't seem to switch protein from steak to beans. Yeah, it's gonna mean many people are less satisfied for a while, but guess what - we'll make it through this.

If we don't change? You fill in the blank.

By: brrrrk on 11/8/10 at 5:13

AmyLiorate said

"Kosh, SS has $0 in it's account. I is bankrupt and only functions in the same manner as a Ponzi scheme."

I'm curious, do you consider insurance to be a "Ponzi scheme"? Because there is no difference between the way that Social Security operates and the way that standard insurance operates.... well except for the profit that is pulled out of standard insurance at the expense of those contributing to the program. That's why Social Securities real name is, "Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program"

By: brrrrk on 11/8/10 at 5:22

Loner said

"This letter has the aroma of a missive penned by a professional zealot. So, I Googled it.

Sure enough. I found their site, here's the relevant snippet: 'Justin Owen is the president of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research, the state’s free market think tank.'"

No surprise there......

And while we're at it, how old is this guy? I've seen a picture of him and he looks like he's in his 30's (maybe). I say this because guys like him haven't been around long enough to know what a real working government can do when run by politicians who actually cared about something other than how much money was required to get themselves elected. Of course that assumes that he actually lived somewhere where government really worked.... frankly I have my doubts whether or not government has ever really worked around here. And I think that says more about the people than it does the government.

By: AmyLiorate on 11/8/10 at 5:27

Brrrk, the numbers have been on the table for 50 years.

Private insurance doesn't ignore actuarial observations such as the baby bloomers retiring where fewer workers will be there to replace (thus paying retirement funds for) them.

Given the chance you would rather rely on SS than your private retirement funds?

By: AmyLiorate on 11/8/10 at 5:34

"I say this because guys like him haven't been around long enough to know what a real working government can do when run by politicians who actually cared about something other than how much money was required to get themselves elected. Of course that assumes that he actually lived somewhere where government really worked.... "

Well, where would you say government has really worked? That shining place on the map where people don't complain as much as we do. Where they all get along like the Oompa Loompa?

It seems that the U.S. attracts millions from elsewhere. Is it because misery loves company?

"And I think that says more about the people than it does the government."
Yep.

By: pswindle on 11/9/10 at 10:23

The GOP will not believe that during the Bush years that lower taxes did nothing to help the economy, but increased the debt, and where are the jobs that the private sector was going to create. If lower taxes were the answer, would we be in the mess right now?

By: Kosh III on 11/9/10 at 12:02

Amy
Ponzi scheme? Like how banks take your deposited money and use it for other things and just "promise" you'll have it when you need it?
Putting SS into the stock market is a far more dangerous move.

What about my suggestion to tax everyone at the same rate for SS instead of giving a break to the rich folks---again.