I was surprised to find that Congressman Gary Ackerman found the time to answer my March 5 letter on the demise of his $9 million dollar earmark.
He wrote a witty and clever response. I was disappointed that he failed to address the critical issues raised in my letter.
If we had the resources, I would love to see Washington send $9 million dollars to assist the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Adults in Sands Point. What Congressman Ackerman ignored is how to pay for this.
All of the 435 members of Congress and 100 United States senators would also love to allocate $9 million dollars and much more to their own favorite cause in their home district or state.
Too many earmarks are like Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s Nevada “Cowboy Poetry Festival.”
The problem is $9 million times 535 equals $4,815,000,000 that we don’t have. For years, both the House and Senate have funded thousands of earmarks in the billions of dollars.
Fast forward to today. Congress has to face a $1.7 trillion shortfall in this year’s federal budget and begin reducing our $14 trillion plus long-term debt.
Ironically, the debate is between Democrats including Ackerman howling the sky is falling if as Republicans propose $60 billion is cut out of a multi-trillion dollar budget.
Democrats would prefer a cut of $6 billion, but might be willing to go to $12 billion. At the end of the day, Congressman Ackerman would have us borrow another $1.7 trillion minus the Democrats token $6 billion to $12 billion dollar cut. If you or I managed our respective household budget in this manner, we would have long ago been thrown into debtors prison!
Under Congressman Ackerman’s watch, the long-term federal debt has increased from $3 trillion to $14 trillion dollars. America can’t keep borrowing forever without dire consequences to our economy and freedom.
Congressman Ackerman supported and voted for fellow former Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s commitments to drain the corrupt swamps of Washington and implement Pay-as-You-Go Spending.
Two years later, we have added over $3 trillion dollars in new debt under President Obama, Senate leader Reid and former Speaker Pelosi all ably assisted by Congress member Ackerman.
Republicans in Congress who are now in the majority have proposed the elimination of all new earmarks. Sorry, Congressman Ackerman but as an ordinary citizen I don’t have the clout to take away all your earmarks. Talk to your friends across the aisle. All I would ask of Congressman Ackerman is to honor your previous commitment for “Pay as You Go.” Clearly identify the existing source of funding for your proposed earmarks.
The overall operating budget for the Helen Keller National Center is far greater than the potential loss of a $9 million earmark. Could they have applied directly to the federal or state Department of Health and Human Services for funding? Other sources include voluntary donations made by individuals, foundations and corporations. Congressman Ackerman never provided any detailed information as to what percentage of their operating budget would be impacted by the loss of this earmark. I seriously doubt that the basic mission of this well-known excellent institution will result in the suspension of significant services.
Does Congressman Ackerman manage his own family finances the way he does Washington’s? By all means, fell free to bring home our fair share of the tax dollars we send to Washington. But first, please enter a spending detox program. Stop borrowing trillions of dollars. The interest payments alone on our $14 trillion dollar plus long term debt is taking a bigger bite out of the federal budget each year.
Those “nickels in the cup” you sarcastically refer to adds up to millions of dollars donated to thousands of charities. Just ask the millions of school age children who every Halloween collect tens of millions for UNICEF. In addition to financial contributions, millions of Americans also donate time each week to perform volunteer work at their favorite charity. Congressman Ackerman never addressed how much money or hours he personally donates to charities.
Yes, I do get many letters published. Editors feel my opinions on current issues such as in this submission are of interest to their readers.