To the editor:
The 2nd District incumbent representative in Congress recently sent an email inviting constituents to share their thoughts with him. He occasionally issues invitations like this – impersonal and remote. One recent occasion was shortly after he voted to shut down the federal government at a cost to the economy of some $20 billion. But the topic of this recent “survey” was the economy, and it admitted to troubles we “are experiencing because of a historically slow economic recovery.” I thought this might have been an apology for votes against unemployment benefits and the Affordable Care Act.
Instead, it asked what kind of expenses concerned me most. Then it asked whether Congress should: increase spending, decrease it, cut taxes, or “get out of the way.” The list includes the kind of remedies pursued by former President George W. Bush. They are summarized by the phrase “trickle-down” and they didn’t work for Mr. Bush. In fact, since Ronald Reagan introduced this economic theory it has never worked.
While I’m happy to share my thoughts on the economy, I don’t know my answers will be considered, since the incumbent seems to mirror the policies of his friend, Speaker of the House John Boehner. And the questions seem to reflect “either/or” solutions rather than thoughtful attempts to understand what his voters are thinking. A real town hall meeting might allow the representative to find a broader range of options than an online survey.
I think the timing of this survey came suspiciously soon after the first-ballot endorsement of his opponent, Democrat Mike Obermueller. In Obermueller’s speech, he said time had run out for the incumbent to do something about equal pay or care for veterans or for folks who want to go to college. As a senior, I’m interested in stability for my Social Security and Medicare. So far, I like what Obermueller has to say.