Open Letter to the 111th Congress, 1/29/09 sign now

January 29th, 2009

To the Congress of the United States

As a citizen of this great country, I am writing to express to those who serve as Representatives and Senators in the 111th Congress of the United States, my concerns with supplemental appropriations bill H.R.1, which has passed the House of Representatives. In so writing, I do not represent any political party, particular group, or committee. In both the realm of political thought and in demographic circumstances, I believe I fall within the median of the populace.

It is incumbent that I, if not necessarily on behalf of Americans who are similarly situated, at least as one voice from this body of the citizenry, to call upon you to use reason rather than panic, integrity as opposed to gamesmanship, and wisdom over ideology to guide your next actions on this measure. Ultimately, the issue before you is how to best serve the people of this country during this severe economic downturn. It is not how best to serve special interests or to support political strategies. I and several hundred million Americans require that you make the best choices in this matter, not the most expedient or the most beneficial to you or the parties you represent.

At this time, the bill passed by the House is purported by its supporters to carry with it the means to stimulate the countrys economy, the ability to create jobs, and the hope of financial recovery. Attached to it are claims that its passage is urgent, that debate on its effects must be constrained, and that somehow it is the best of all existing alternatives. Yet, when even those who support it cannot quantify its impact, can it be so urgent or the best course of action? Is it imperative that this particular measure be passed absent a sincere debate on its merits? The Presidential budget, to be submitted next month, is a common instrument used to initiate government appropriations and an instrument open to full examination and debate. Have you asked yourselves, what appropriations have been included in this supplemental that could not have easily been relegated to the 2010 or future fiscal year budgets? Why, since the expenditures encompassed in this measure are extraordinary, should it receive less analysis and consideration than a Presidential budget proposal?

In this correspondence, I could easily assert my opinion on the measure itself. I could declare that it is either the right or wrong thing to do or even offer that some other form of appropriations that rely more on reductions in offsetting collections or receipts will have a greater positive economic impact. However, I do not have access to the expert analysis available to your esteemed bodies. I do not have the experience of manipulating public funds for government purposes as do your members. I, like my fellow Americans, trust that my representatives will make their choices based on the best information and from the best available alternatives, to the maximize benefits to all. But my trust is weakened by proclamations from your members that this particular action is required when there is no evidence that spending on this scale, or spending for the purposes to which the funds will be apportioned, will have any beneficial outcomes for this country or its economy. And the trust that I and others like me have will fail entirely if it becomes clear that a lack of scrutiny and earnest consideration on your part has resulted in a negative net benefit.

In considering this measure, immense choices lay before you. The actions of this Congress will have an impact on your constituencies and their progeny for many years to come. The very nature of the relationship between this countrys peoples and its government will be implicated by your acts. On the day of the bills passage, the Speaker of the House of Representatives equated its passage to the difficulty in changing the course of the ship of state. But what course is appropriate for our ship of state? Is it a course steered towards never-ceasing government intervention in the affairs of its people and the burdening of the nation with the weight of reckless and poor decisions? Or should its course follow the prescription of Thomas Jefferson, who ascribed the merits of a good government as thus, A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned?
I ask you to wisely consider you next actions. For, although we may choose to focus on our better history, the question raised by this measure is whether you will choose in favor of our greater future. Finally, I ask you to consider whether your actions truly serve the people of this country in the best possible way. For if you fail to adequately judge the outcome, those you serve will not fail in judging the adequacy of your service.

Sincerely yours,

A. T. Polidori

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