Friday, September 09, 2005

Jean Schmidt is off to a fiscally irresponsible start as the Congresswoman for Ohio's 2nd District

The following is the text of a letter Porkopolis is submitting to the editors of local Ohio 2nd District papers:

Jean Schmidt's heart was in the right place on September 8, 2005, when she cast one of her first votes as a Congresswoman in support of H.R. 3673. However, this constituent has questions on where her head, and that of 410 other members of Congress, was. Only eleven members of Congress, all fiscally conservative Republicans, voted against the bill.

H.R. 3673, better know as 'Further Emergency Supplemental Appropriations, Hurricane Katrina, 2005', provides for $51.8 billion in disaster relief. This is on top of the $10.5 billion in immediate, justifiable aid made available by the Congress on September 2, 2005. So far, more than $62 billion as been appropriated for disaster relief.

On the same day the vote was cast, the Wall Street Journal summarized many fiscal conservatives' concerns best when they editorialized:

The biggest threat now to a rapid and complete recovery is the storm-after-the-storm in Washington, where the politicians are making Governor Blanco look composed.

Our panicky, or shall we say opportunistic, solons are already using Katrina to bust through whatever spending limits they had previously set for themselves. Following last week's $10.5 billion, Congress is set to appropriate $52 billion more this week, and not just for the Gulf Coast. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid has already tossed out $150 billion as a spending goal, and Republicans are saying they won't be outbid. No one wants to be stingy, but it's time to worry when the same people who passed a $286 billion highway bill without enough money for Louisiana levees now want to throw money at everything in sight..

It appears that the hurricanes disastrous effects on the Gulf Coast extended to Washington where the majority of our legislatures had their desktop calculators blown away as well. Initial estimates have up to 1 million people being affected by the disaster. If calculators weren't available, a quick back-of-the-envelope calculation would have shown that $62 billion divided by 1 million people results in appropriations per person of $62,000.

To put this in perspective, consider that whole households in the district get by on less than $62,000 in a given year. As the editorial notes, no one wants to be stingy, but we sent our leaders in Congress to utilize a combination of heart and mind as they provide stewardship over the tax dollars we send to Washington. The appropriations are being passed into law so quickly that reasonable questions are not being asked; like:

Is $62,000 per person in immediate aid really needed in light of charitable contributions being made?

What safeguards are being put into place to control against waste and corruption over these large sums of monies?

How much of the monies are going for reconstruction and should we even be reconstructing in areas like New Orleans that are under sea level and getting more so year over year?

Congresswoman Schmidt rode to victory in the Second District on a platform that included cutting "government waste by reducing spending in the federal budget"; leading many to believe that she would represent us as a fiscal conservative. If Ms. Schmidt continues down this track of fiscal irresponsibility, the next fourteen months until the November, 2006 elections will not go by quickly enough for the constituents that are feeling deceived; even at this early stage in her career.

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