Letter to the Editor

What's the real reaction?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The first principal learned in high school physics class was, that for every action there is an equal opposite reaction. Perhaps our political leaders skipped physics class because they seem to assume there is no reaction to the grand accomplishments and actions they tout. Or, worse yet they just ignore the real reactions and assume we voters will blindly take it all in.

A case in point is Senator Grassley's January 12th DCN editorial. He again takes credit for advocating the 2001 Bush tax cuts which were to grow jobs and the economy and shrink the national debt. Real reaction: primary reason for a $6 trillion increase in national debt and wealth redistribution to the top 2 percent of the population. He also takes credit for successfully extending these cuts through 2012. Real reaction: another $1 trillion increase in national debt.

During the recent re-election campaign he took credit for co-sponsoring the Prescription Drug Bill to help retirees. Real reaction: $5-6 trillion of unfunded obligations for future generations to pay. He commendably takes credit for recovering $25 billion in fraud since 1986 however, there might be a downside. Real reaction: little or no time spent to investigate greater billions of waste/fraud associated with no-bid war support contracts to companies like Haliburton and other defense contractors.

He was also a ranking Senate member when the banking regulations were eliminated to increase services and grow the economy. Real reaction: unmitigated bank leverage/risk taking with misguided massive increases in consumer debt ultimately resulting in national economic collapse and heavily influencing loss of 8 million jobs.

While his explanation of the Senate committee structure and his service on many of them is enlightening, his fiscal record is abysmal! Does he really believe the above actions have had a positive influence on Iowans and the American public? Perhaps he should do some serious soul-searching as his "work for Iowans continues in the 112th Congress."

Relating to this same theme, for months during the recent election campaign, the new re-elected/re-appointed Speaker of the House, John Boehner, emphasized "spending cut" priorities countless times on the airwaves. However, on a recent national interview broadcast he was unable to name one single program or cost he would recommend be cut. When pushed he emotionally and emphatically pronounced defense, national security, social security and Medicare were off the table. Since we have to make national debt interest payments, only 16 percent (domestic spending) of the $3.5 trillion national budget remains on the table to make cuts from. If (unrealistically) 100 percent of that portion is eliminated, only a third of the annual projected $1.4 trillion shortfall is covered. Real reaction: no meaningful change in Washington -- the national debt build up continues! This should come as no surprise as Mr. Boehner formerly presided over one of the most fiscally irresponsible periods in House history.

We have experienced the negative reactions from decades of congressional actions/inactions relating to energy, healthcare, infrastructure decline, structural unemployment, wage declines, education, trade imbalances, entitlements, regulations, trade treaties, wars and massive national debt increases. To resolve the mess we are in will require innovative thought; common, civil, realistic discussion/evaluation of ideas leading to some combination of tax increases and program overhauls/cuts; meaning all will have to sacrifice. It should now be evident that tax cuts do not equate to job creation; tax codes do not determine new business creation; deregulation usually leads to unabated greed creation; and, ignoring needed changes/costs of social programs leads to unsustainable future generation debt creation. This must be continually communicated to our elected officials with the caveat we expect action on real issues, not partisan political game-playing. And, when they come to us with proposed actions, we must insist they also provide specific reactions we can expect. If they don't deliver, we need to vote them out!

Terry B. Yarns

Spirit Lake