An Open Letter To Jan Schakowsky
Dear Representative Schakowsky –
I’m a taxpayer. The Tea Partiers are also taxpayers. We are the people who make the enterprise of government possible.
People in government would object to that statement. They would say that the US Government has multiple revenue streams: the income tax, other federal taxes, the Social Security Trust Fund, other intergovernmental funds, external bond sales, bond sales to the Federal Reserve. They’re right, on a technical level. Year to year, the full burden of federal spending doesn’t rest on the taxpayers.
There’s more to the story, though. Any money borrowed by the US Government is borrowed in the name of its taxpayers. The more than $2 trillion that will be borrowed to close the deficit in Obama’s first budget is being borrowed in our name. The same goes with the undisclosed billions borrowed to pay for the Bush bailout plan. We currently have a national debt of $11,194,472,663,030 that the Congressional Budget Office projects will grow to over $20 trillion under the Obama spending plan. As one of the approximately 138 million Americans who paid taxes last year, I look at the Obama deficit of $2 trillion and realize that almost $15,000 was borrowed in my name alone, just this year. Over 10 years, the Obama plan will borrow over $65,000 in my name. As scary as those numbers are in the aggregate, they are frightening when made personal.
I imagine it must be a pretty amazing job, being one of the 536 people that direct an enterprise with a limitless credit card that will be paid off by others. Unlike every corporation and citizen in the country, Congress and the President don’t have to worry about where the money’s going to come from. You have the authority to fund anything you want by pretty much any means you want. Max out the credit card? Just write a bill that increases the credit line!
From the perspective of this ordinary, hard-working taxpayer, that authority has gone to your heads. You never bother to stop and ask us whether we want your spending anymore. When Obama debuted his budget, it faced severe opposition from the taxpayers of this country. Instead of wielding the power granted to him responsibly and reconsidering based on that opposition, he began moving to ram his budget down our throats without even a moments pause. He tried to sic his campaign machine on us to “persuade” us that the irresponsible borrowing and spending was for our own good and that we should take it with a smile.
Between that and Bush’s TARP debacle, it became clear to ordinary taxpayers all across the country that we had no voice in Washington anymore. Democrats and Republicans were spending all their time pandering to core constituencies and special interests while ignoring the people who pay the freight. In fact, it’s gotten so bad that we taxpayers are not even perceived as an independent group anymore. This is shown so clearly in your own comments on the Tea Party protests:
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) blasted “tea party” protests yesterday, labeling the activities “despicable” and “shameful.”
“The ‘tea parties’ being held today by groups of right-wing activists, and fueled by FOX News Channel, are an effort to mislead the public about the Obama economic plan that cuts taxes for 95 percent of Americans and creates 3.5 million jobs,” Schakowsky said in a statement.
“It’s despicable that right-wing Republicans would attempt to cheapen a significant, honorable moment of American history with a shameful political stunt,” she added. “Not a single American household or business will be taxed at a higher rate this year. Made to look like a grassroots uprising, this is an Obama bashing party promoted by corporate interests, as well as Republican lobbyists and politicians.”
We are in an age of taxation without representation. The taxpayer has no voice in Washington. The charade of democracy fostered by the two major parties has no place at the table for ordinary, hard-working Americans. If you’re a Wall Street executive or an ACORN organizer, you have a say in how much money is borrowed and spent in America. If you’re a simple plumber, electrician, or office worker, you have none.
You and the rest of Congress are gambling with our futures and you couldn’t care less what we have to say about it. That’s why the Tea Parties are happening. You want to deny us our voice? Our place at the table? Fine. We’ll take it back from you. Tea Party after Tea Party, letter after letter, column after column, we will make ourselves heard again.
The only shameful and despicable thing here is the fact that we have to take back our voice at all. You and the rest of the ruling class have ignored the people who make your existence possible for far too long. I’m sure your comments will be the first in a long line of bleating on the part of the ruling class, that we will have to endure rhetorical slings and arrows far worse than yours before we are heard again, but it doesn’t matter. We WILL be heard, whether you like it or not.
No more irresponsibility. Not in our name. Not without a fight.