Note from Dan: Susan Sweet is a graduate school administrator and resident of the 9th Congressional District who shared with me her response to Rep. Morgan Griffith’s survey, after my column on that subject appeared last week.
By Susan Sweet
Dear Congressmen Griffith:
I am including our response to your flyer with this letter. A few lines on the questionnaire were not adequate to provide you with my comments.
The manner in which your questions were asked is at once confusing and misleading. But I’m sure that was intentional so that you could get the answers you want rather than truthful answers based on clear questions that didn’t include any political bias.
My responses correspond with the questions from the questionnaire.
1. “Do you support or oppose adding a balanced budget amendment to the constitution?”
This question is ridiculous. Why would any federal government want to be tied to a balanced budget? Look at what happened to those states that have such a requirement when the economy tanked. Their citizens suffered, their state suffered. If we had a balanced budget how would we handle disasters?
To my knowledge, no state can handle the costs, the non-profit sector doesn’t have enough resources to handle the enormity of most disasters, nor is initial disaster recovery something the private sector can handle. The federal government has always and should continue to take that role—I don’t believe that any citizen wants that to change. And what about all those wars the Republicans seem to start? How would these get handled in a balanced budget?
I often wonder when people start talking about a balanced federal budget if they really understand how the public sector works.
Keep your hands off Social Security. From what I read, Social Security is not a serious problem and with some tweaking it can continue to take care of the elderly regardless of how old they are now. Further, the current “crisis” is because we baby boomers are getting old (who would have thought?), but that isn’t a permanent problem either because just like we are getting old, we are also going to die.
And, unlike the Republican party, I have no problems with higher taxes to keep it solvent. This has been a highly successful program, why do you want to mess with it?
It may be politically expedient to mislead your constituents to believe that Social Security and Medicare (and sometimes Medicaid is also included) are one program, but some of us know they are not. These are separate and distinct programs. Medicare and Medicaid do need work, no question. But vouchers? With the private sector? Both are very bad ideas.
Medicare needs major work so that it remains a viable program for all US citizens—those of us over 55 and especially for those who are younger. While it is time to think outside the box, vouchers and the private sector are not viable solutions. The fact is the private sector is the reason our health care costs so much. Why would you want to give them more control and money? How do you think any savings would be achieved? Through competition? If you really believe that the public gains more competition and lower costs through the private sector I suggest you read any book written by David Cay Johnston.
This question is completely misleading. The EPA is doing its job of protecting US citizens so that we can have clean water and air—both vital necessities of life. Coal is not an end all energy solution. While it might provide jobs here in Southwest Virginia there’s a huge cost to those jobs. Health being one that has a huge cost to society.
It is time for us to develop reliable alternative energy solutions. Let’s start the future now; let’s engage our scientists, researchers and the energy companies to come up with viable, renewable and sustainable energy solutions. Fossil fuel is no longer an answer. The sooner we can break our fossil fuel habits, the better for all of us.
6. “Do you support or oppose U.S. action in order to prevent Iran from acquiring or building nuclear weapons?”
Really? Another war? In another Middle Eastern country? Haven’t we learned anything? One way to restrain our growing deficit is to not start any unnecessary wars.
Why Iran? Yes it is troubling that they seem to be on this quest for nuclear power, but that’s why the UN, US and its allies have implemented powerful economic sanctions, which are working. But why a war for nuclear power? The US never threatened war when Pakistan developed its nuclear weapons, or India.
What I see is an excuse to access oil. I see in Iran another Iraq—weapons of mass destruction were the code for getting our hands on their oil. How did that one work for us? Iran would be an even bigger quagmire than Iraq. Like Iraq, IRAN’S OIL IS NOT WORTH IT.
Another misleading question. Gun control has nothing to do with law-abiding citizens who wish to purchase and own guns. Gun control is about public health and safety. The 2nd Amendment is no more absolute than any of the other Constitutional Amendments. So, why are gun rights more important than the public’s right to be safe in their community? Guns don’t make us safe. More guns is not a solution.
The time to act is now. Better gun control will keep us all safe. I support and applaud President Obama’s gun control initiatives.
I agree that this country is facing some challenging and serious issues. But as I see it, the biggest problem this country faces is from Congress itself; the dysfunction cannot continue if we hope to find workable solutions. No one solution is best, which is why both parties need to work together to find reasonable solutions that are best for the majority of our citizens. Compromise is not evil, it is necessary to get our country’s business done.
The Republicans need to stop governing to their ideology and begin to govern for what’s the best solution. Those solutions may cost us money (more taxes), sacrifices will need to be made, many of us won’t like all of the solutions, but that’s life. Here’s my list of what this next congress should do:
- No more pledges, unless it is to pledge to do your job to the American people, not to a lobbyist;
- Stand up to the NRA for reasonable gun control measures that honor and respect those who are gun supporters, but also addresses the public health and safety of our communities,
- Agreeing to an immigration policy that gives amnesty for those who have lived and worked in the US for years and for the children who are born here, and
- Truly dealing with entitlements—that doesn’t mean Social Security and Medicare—but rather corporate entitlements that are tax breaks to companies that don’t need them.
One more comment, I noticed in your flyer that you spent time with business leaders and owners in the 9th District, but you had no pictures with private citizens. Are business leaders/owners more important than those of us who just work for a living?