Sunday, July 24, 2011

Letter to a Congressman

If the U.S. Treasury gets downgraded because of the idiocy of 535 people vying for power in 2012, I am moving to Europe (or Canada, or Mexico, or China. Hell, I would rather move to Greece). I've never written to my Congressman before, but this situation is ridiculous. Alexander Hamilton is crying from his grave right now...

Dear Congressman:

I am dismayed by the performance of Congress over the past few weeks in regards to the debt ceiling. It is quite clear that your objectives are political rather than economic. It seems to me that the Republicans (and some Democrats) in Congress are playing with the economic future of this country for relatively short-term political purposes.

I am twenty-two. I just graduated from college and am starting my adult life. For the last three years I've dealt with the downward spiral of the American economy and fear of joblessness after graduation because of an economic crisis. Neither I nor the American people are ready for another crisis to be imposed on us by irresponsible lawmakers.

I can forgive Wall Street for 2008. Financial institutions have poured money into our economy for the last century. In major cities around the country, they create the wealth that provides a tax base that keeps streets clean, public transportation working, and props up the cultural institutions that give our country character. Furthermore, Wall Street is built on risk. We as an American public accepted that risk when we let our industrial economy be exported. Relying on finance as a major source of our country's wealth (which I didn't hear anyone complaining about in boom years), means accepting that markets are cyclical and every once in a while they are going to crash. It does not take an economist to learn that. Just open a history book.

But I cannot forgive Congress for this insane brinksmanship over the debt ceiling. The impending economic troubles that 535 individuals in Congress are going to inflict on our country (my country) is inexcusable. Has anyone in Congress consulted any economists on this issue? Sure, you and your colleagues have paid lip service to the need for a deal, but thusfar the President is the only person who appears to be moving anywhere on the issue. From my perch here at home (which I admit is a limited view, but the public's view all the same), I see a President willing to compromise and a large group of Republicans holding him hostage by forcing him to either accept 100 percent of a crazy austerity plan or risk being blamed for an economic crash that is sure to impact his numbers in 2012, not to mention 300 million Americans for who knows how long.

That kind of politics makes me sick. Look past 2012 to 2020 or 2030. There are two ways to balance a budget: spending cuts AND revenue increases. It would be irresponsible not to use both options available to ensure that young people get to have the same American experience that their parents and grandparents did.


Shane Ferro