"Sometimes the law defends plunder and participates in it. Thus the beneficiaries are spared the shame and danger that their acts would otherwise involve. But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them and gives it to the other persons to whom it doesn't belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime. Then abolish that law without delay. No legal plunder; this is the principle of justice, peace, order, stability, harmony and logic." — Frederic Bastiat
The Honorable John Boehner, Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Dear Speaker Boehner.
I am writing you as a simple taxpaying citizen. I am a member of no special interest group except that of the American citizen. I have not taken any bail out or stimulus money. I did not buy a new car and take $7,500 of my fellow taxpayer’s money for doing so. I have not benefited from any diversity, welfare, food stamp, WIC or aide to dependent children program. I have paid millions of dollars in income, property, sales and gasoline taxes over the past 55 years. In essence, Speaker Boehner, I, like millions of my fellow citizens am not a freeloader.
Speaker Boehner, last November I, like millions of my fellow citizens and Tea Party supporters, were elated at the results of the mid-term elections. We saw a real chance for the Republicans we elected to make some tangible changes in our government. We saw the beginning of a new day when spending would be reined in and government downsized. We saw a day when the private sector would be rejuvenated and our economy would grow and prosper. Yes, Speaker Boehner we were not only elated, we were filled with hope. Not the hope and change promised by President Obama, but hope for a better tomorrow with more individual freedom and less interference in our lives from Washington, D.C.
Speaker Boehner, like you I was an entrepreneur and business owner. I was pleased to see a man who had once made payroll rise to your elevated position in our government. I believed, that like our Founding Fathers who were businessmen, farmers and entrepreneurs, you would stand against the entrenched professional politicians in Washington and speak for us. Yes, Speaker Boehner I believed this.
Speaking frankly Speaker Boehner I am very disappointed in your performance so far. I know that you are an emotional and caring person, but now is the time to cowboy up and take the progressives and Democrats full on. You cannot trust them to participate in fair and honest negotiations, the recent example of the health care debate and the debacle in Wisconsin have illustrated that. You must realize that if they cannot get their way they will do everything in their power to undermine any budget cuts you and your caucus propose.
As for the media you have taken the wrong tack. You believed your position would be honestly portrayed in the media. By now you should know that this just will not happen. Again I refer to the Wisconsin budget battle where the reporting was very one-sided in the media — the side of the unions and the Democrats. Just look how your caucus’ proposed defunding of NPR was covered. Harry Reid and his sycophants in the Congress and the media mounted a vicious attack on you for wanting to get rid of Sesame Street.
We have a looming $1.65 trillion deficit and a $14 trillion national debt. Mr. Speaker, do you realize that the Louisiana Purchases, which increased our national territory by 50% and made us a coast to coast nation, only cost $219 billion in today’s dollars. You have proposed a $100 billion dollar cut in this massive deficit and the Democrats have responded by putting $6 billion on the table. Mr. Speaker, that’s a difference of $94 billion dollars. You have the power in the House and they are driving the ship.
The Democrats are calling you extremists and hostages to the Tea Party. They say you want to shut down the government. They have put you on the defense and you are losing the battle in the media. They are dictating the dialog. They bring up the specter of 1995 when one of your predecessors, Newt Gingrich, did in fact shut the government down for a few hours. What harm did it really do? So what if a few protected federal employees and congressional staffers don’t get a paycheck on time and the national parks are closed. What about all of those Americans that haven’t gotten a paycheck for months.
Speaker Boehner, this is not 1995. You have an army of supporter who will march behind you if you ask them. Let’s take a moment to look at the differences between 1995 and today.
In 1995 the unemployment rate was 5.6%; today, 9.0%. (Gallup has a more accurate reading of 10.0%). The U-6 unemployment rate was 9.9% today 17.0% (the U-6 unemployment rate counts not only people without work seeking full time employment but also marginally attached workers and those working part-time for economic reasons.) (Gallup shows that figure to be 19.0%) The unemployment rates are up 62 and 72% respectively.
The federal budget deficit in 1995 was $172 billion; by the end of fiscal 2011 it will be nearly $1.65 Trillion (adjusting for inflation: the annual deficit is up by 543%). The deficit as a percent of GDP in 1995 was 3.2% in 2011 it will be 11.3%.
The national debt at the end of 1995 was $4.9 Trillion; at the end of 2011 it will be $14.5 Trillion (adjusting for inflation: the national debt is up 106% or more than double). The national debt was 66% of GDP in 1995 and will be nearly 100% of GDP in 2011.
Overall government (federal, state and local) spending has also skyrocketed. In 1995, $2.63 Trillion was spent; in 2011 it will be $6.3 Trillion (adjusted for inflation: overall spending is up 70%). In 1995 this spending was 35% of the GDP; today it exceeds 46% of the GDP.
In 1995, the federal government budget was $1.6 Trillion; President Obama has proposed for 2011 a budget of $3.75 Trillion (adjusted for inflation: an increase of 67%).
The U.S. Gross Domestic Product in 1995 grew over 4.5% from the previous year. In 2010 the GDP grew only at 2.3% over the previous year.
Another point of economic comparison is the price of oil. In 1995 it was $17.99 a barrel, today it is $105.00 (an increase of 304% adjusted for inflation).
The Democrats cannot escape the fact that all this devastating economic news over the past 3 years occurred when they either controlled Congress or had a stranglehold on White House and the Congress.
In 1995, the American citizen was not engaged in the political process. Per the above statistics, the economy was doing well and the average citizen was content to go about his business and be concerned with his family. Most people were busy earning a living, buying a home and raising a family — I certainly was.
There were no foreign wars ongoing, no terror activity, and no upheavals in the Middle East with the very real prospect of jihadist takeovers in Egypt, Libya and Yemen in addition to a nuclear armed Iran. The world is a far more dangerous place than it was in 1995 or even 2008.
In the venue of the media there was no Fox News, no internet blogs or news and commentary sites, and talk radio (dominated by conservatives) was a quarter of what it is today. The media that so aided and abetted the Democrats to spin the 1995 shutdown as a Republican blunder is a shadow of its former self.
Fox News is now the dominant cable news network outside Washington D.C. In '95, CNN and C-Span were the only real cable news networks and the big three networks and the big two newspapers dominated the media for the most part.
In fact, phrases like "the mainstream media," let alone "lamestream media" and "liberal media bias" and "Jurassic media" and so on were not part of our political vernacular. Now they're practically base assumptions on the part of a huge swath of American voters.
Rush Limbaugh was on a few hundred stations, but nothing like the 600 plus he is on today. Meanwhile, Hannity and Beck and Levin and Humphries and Wilkow and Savage and Larson and Cain and Lewis were names no one knew — because they were not yet conservative talk show hosts. These folks are all now popular out in the 50 —or is it 57 — states.
Al Gore had not yet gotten the internet up to speed with hundreds of conservative websites and blogs (like mine). There was no American Thinker, NRO, Red State, Sweetness and Light, Lucianne, Free Republic, Townhall.com, etc., etc., etc. Folks still got their daily news from a handful of national newspapers or magazines. One of those magazines (Newsweek) was recently sold for a dollar. In 95, it was an opinion mover.
There was no Facebook or Twitter, nor was there a certain Alaskan with the power to dominate the national debate with but a single tweet or post on given subjects. Is there one now? You betcha!
In 1995 the term viral normally meant a discussion of AIDS; today it means a YouTube video is out exposing just what typical government union employees are all about as they act like spoiled lunatic children in Madison's formerly stately capitol grounds. Speaker Boehner you should check one of these out one day.
There was no Obama Care legislation that had passed back in 1995. If you remember correctly, Hillary Care failed — and while it was a driver of the 94 elections, it was not around in 95 as exhibit A of out of control government. Today, we can say safely that ObamaCare is still alive and still animating an anti-government movement.
There was no such thing as a "Massachusetts Republican" anywhere to be found in Washington that I can remember. Now, one occupies "the Kennedy seat." (OK, he's a flawed RINO, but I'm talking about the change in the national dynamic here).
And Mr. Speaker, then of course, there was nothing around in 95 like today's tea party movement. And believe you me; this is not a movement that went into hibernation after the elections. It may be impossible to define the tea party to everyone's satisfaction, but trust that it is still out there and it is still adamant about reducing the size, scope, power, reach and spending of government. That's what the election of 2010 was all about. Let me repeat that: reduce the size, scope, reach, power and spending of government.
But the ultimate determination of the supposed disaster that befell the Republicans is what happened in the next election in 1996 less than a year after the shutdown. This was also a presidential election year wherein Bill Clinton carried 31 states soundly defeating Bob Dole by over 8.3 million votes. Yet the Republicans picked up 2 seats in the Senate and lost only 9 in the House after winning a then unprecedented 54 seats in 1994. The Republicans also maintained control of the House for the next ten years until 2006. Did you ever happen to think that the economy was churning along just fine and Bob Dole, a RINO Republican, brought nothing to the party. So what, I really didn’t care if Senator Dole, war hero as he was, kept his federal job. I was more concerned with the hundreds of people who worked for me.
The atmosphere that allowed Bill Clinton, the Democrats and their allies in the media to blame the shutdown on the Republicans does not exist today. In fact it is the polar opposite. Mr. Speaker, the Republican leadership of the House and Senate need to understand that.
The people are now engaged. They are aware of the nation's debt and spending crisis which will lead to national bankruptcy. The Tea Party movement is unlike any other in recent American history and confirms the anxiety of the vast majority of the people as to the future. A shutdown will not result in Social Security checks or other vital services being curtailed only the temporary stoppage of non-essential services. There will be no fear of seniors starving to death, soldiers not being paid or airplanes falling from the sky.
The Democrats and Liberals in general pride themselves on always being the smartest people in the room. They claim to always be a step ahead of those Neanderthal conservatives who are stuck in the past, and as for those really dumb people in fly-over country — well there's just no hope for them. Yet these same self-proclaimed movers and shakers are always reverting to a 70 year old tattered and threadbare political playbook and assume whatever may have worked to their benefit in the past will work again.
Today the Democrats, Chuck Schumer and Howard Dean and their sycophants in the media among others, are out publicly cheerleading and plotting to force a government shutdown in the assumption that they will win in the court of public opinion as they perceive they did in 1995. But did they succeed in destroying the Republicans in 1995 and what were the circumstances then versus now?
Sixteen years in politics is a lifetime; for those Republicans with weak knees in the House and Senate, perhaps a primer of what the facts on the ground were in 1995 (the last government shutdown blamed on the Republicans) as compared to today is in order.
Speaker Boehner I strongly suggest you gather your forces as the Democrats have done and marshal them behind one clear and succinct message (RINOs like Scott Brown included). Get out in front of the cameras and reporters and tell the American people what is at stake. Call Democrats out for the liars and spenders they are. Don’t be concerned with their calls for bipartisanship and cooperation — they certainly didn’t offer that when Nancy Pelosi held the reins on the House. Don’t be concerned about the left-wing press. They will sucker you with sweetness and then stab you in the back the minute you turn around no matter what you do — they are not your friends and never will be.
Focus your message on the American people — the conservatives independents and Tea Party supporters. They are the ones that gave you and your caucus the jobs they have now. Forget about the Democrat’s claims of “hurting the poor, the children, the seniors and education.” Ignore their false claims that cutting the budget is extreme and will kill jobs. Face up to the Reids, Pelosis, Wieners and Schumers. Counter with the facts and stick to them.
Now there is nothing that could be a better way to start to reduce all of that size, scope, reach, power and spending than by shutting the government down. Not only will that immediately reduce all of that by a tiny amount, it will send a clear signal that we don't need or want this government that we cannot afford — even if we did want it. And we certainly do not!
And those who make this come to pass will not be blamed. They will be given credit. So Speaker Boehner: wipe the tears, cowboy up, and shut this sucker down. You will be glad you did. The producers among us are counting on this.
Speaker Boehner, I thank you for taking time out your busy day to consider my comments. I hope you and you caucus will give them serious consideration. There are millions of Americans depending on you.
A very concerned citizen and taxpayer.