Open letter to Rep. Dave Camp and his response

Norbert Bufka Both appeared in the Midland Daily News September 14, 2011

August 11, 2011

Dear Dave,

I am thoroughly disgusted with your leadership and that of your fellow extremist Republicans on several issues.

Debt limit

During President George W. Bushís presidency you voted to increase the debt ceiling seven times without a hint of concern. Now you are on a super committee to slash government spending as a condition for raising the debt ceiling again. Even the conservative icons, US Chamber of Commerce and Standard and Poorís, said tax increases must be on the table.Will you commit to raising taxes as an item to be discussed?

Tax cuts

You voted to cut the taxes of the wealthy by astronomical proportions so that they pay a lower percentage of income in taxes than someone making $100,000. Those millionaires today are paying 25% less than ten years ago creating a shortfall of revenue by 1.6 trillion dollars over that period. This is patently absurd, unfair, and immoral! It is time to end the Bush tax cuts. Will you commit to ending these tax cuts?

Social Security

Social Security is one of the finest government programs ever devised. Contrary to popular opinion supported by demagogues, it is not the cause of government deficits. Millions of taxpayers, including the lowest paid employees, have paid into this fund for generations. Their taxes provide a safety net for millions of families who have lost a breadwinner through death or disability. They have provided a base income for retirement and have kept millions out of poverty. The program needs tweaking, I admit, but should not be discarded. Will you commit to saving Social Security?

Shared sacrifice

In these troubling economic times many of your colleagues and like minded people talk of shared sacrifice. Yet they continually propose eliminating safeguards for the poor and middle class, such as safety standards, minimum wage, the right to organize and bargain for benefits, unemployment and workersí compensation. Will you pledge to uphold these laws and benefits? Will you also commit to demanding sacrifice from the wealthy? Will you commit to ending corporate welfare, like the oil subsidies?

Jobs

In the 2010 election cycle you and your fellow Republicans campaigned for more jobs. Yet since November 2010 1.9 million jobs have been lost. Republicans have introduced no legislation to promote jobs during this time either. When will you start providing jobs?

††††††††††† Reducing government spending is a fine idea when only looking at line items on a budget, but cutting government spending also means cutting millions of jobs. These are not only people who actually work for the government but private contractors who manufacture products or provide services for the government and improve our infrastructure. It is estimated that up to five million jobs will be lost by the end of 2012 if Republican plans are implemented. Will you commit to a plan that will guarantee jobs for these people?

 

Rep. Dave Campís Response August 17, 2011

Dear Norbert,

Thank you for contacting me.

I appreciate knowing your views on the economy and legislation to raise the federal debt ceiling. As you may know, I

served on President Obama's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, commonly referred to as the

Bowles-Simpson commission. In the Commission we heard from non-partisan experts that have studied economies from

all around the globe and throughout history. Their research shows that our current level of debt - more than 100 percent of

our economy - is reducing our Gross Domestic Product by about 1 percent. That translates into 1 million lost jobs. For the

sake of our economy and the roughly 14 million unemployed Americans, we must get our debt and deficits under control.

 

Both parties share the blame and both must be part of the solution. In the last few years, the crisis has grown significantly

worse. Under President Obama's watch and his proposed policies, the national debt doubles in five years and then triples in the years to come. Furthermore, the Social Security and Medicare trustees have warned that these critical programs are not sustainable. Medicare will go bankrupt in 2024 (five years earlier than previously estimated) and Social Security is already spending more than it takes in.

 

Clearly, it is time Washington be honest with the American people about the false promises it has made. The time for action is now, and as a member of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, and having been a part of the team that produced the bipartisan Balanced Budget Act of 1997, I am optimistic that Republican and Democrats can again come together and find a path forward.

 

With regard to your discussion of taxes and "shared sacrifice" I think it is important to set the facts straight. The Chamber

of Commerce has not called for tax increases. What they and others have cried out for is tax reform - something I have

long advocated and have been engaged in a bipartisan and bicameral effort to advance. Tax reform should be about

reforming the code, not increasing or decreasing taxes.

 

As you may know, the wealthiest ten percent of Americans pay nearly 70 percent of federal income taxes while the bottom half do not pay any. Meanwhile, our corporate tax code is a harbinger from the 1950s, when America dominated the international marketplace, and our corporate rate will soon be the highest in the world. Tax reform should focus on closing loopholes, reducing deductions and credits as necessary in order to lower rates and simplify the code to make American families and businesses more competitive.

 

Lastly, with regard to your complaint about the current tax rates, it is important to note the following: while they were first

established by a Republican Congress and Republican President, just last December the same Democrat Congress and

Democrat President that passed the new health care law extended all of those rates. Their rationale, and one I agree with,

was that raising taxes in a weak economy is a bad idea.

 

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

 

Dave

Concluding comments by Norbert Bufka

It is clear from Rep. Dave Campís response that he

  1. refuses to consider tax increases on the deficit reduction committee
  2. opposes ending the tax cuts for the wealthy.
  3. will not commit to saving Social Security and Medicare,
  4. does not support employee protections and benefits,
  5. will not commit to ending corporate welfare, like the oil subsidies.
  6. supports reducing government spending without regard to consequences.
  7. is not interested in creating or protecting jobs
  8. will not commit to protecting jobs of government employees lost by spending cuts

 

Dave is right that the Chamber did not support tax increases but rather tax reform. I too support tax reform but we canít wait until Congress gets their act together to implement reform. To use hiswords, letís ďbe honestĒ, not using both tax cuts and tax increases to balance the budget and reduce the debt is like doing surgery with a scalpel but not closing the wound. Closing loopholes will definitely mean tax increases for some individuals and corporationsor the reform will be a sham. So letís increase taxes now and bring the reform later.

 

Dave Camp is not working for our interests and must be replaced in the next election. Who is up to the challenge?