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Open Letter to Rep Greg Walden (R-OR)

Dear Representative Walden,

I was disappointed but not surprised that you voted for the Republican Christmas Present to the Wealthy Act this week, but I was flabbergasted that you actually had the balls to post a message on your Facebook page claiming that “Washington special interest lobbyists lost, and the hard-working American taxpayers … won.”  I am boggled that an elected official imbued with the public trust would make in a public statement that is so utterly and provably false.

The truth, of course, is the exact, polar opposite of your fantasy.  We all know that, and your attempt at DoubleSpeak revisionism does not change the ugly facts.  This bill was literally (and here I use the traditional meaning of the word, “in actual fact”) written entirely by thousands of Washington special interest lobbyists.  It was certainly not written by any elected representative of the people, as evidenced by the fact that it does not benefit the people.  Indeed, I would assert that it was not even READ by the Congressmen who voted for it, yourself included.  Shame on you.

No expert involvement.  No expert consultation.  No debate.  No public input.  No town halls.  The only voices that contributed were the voices of all of those “Washington special interest lobbyists” that were supposed to be sucked away when the swamp was drained.  Shame on you.

It’s clear you never talked to an economist.  An economist would have told you that you don’t cut taxes when times are good.  It’s economic idiocy.  When times are good, you store up surpluses so you have the opportunity to offer relief when times are bad.  An economist would have told you that cutting corporate taxes does not result in more jobs.  Corporations do not hire more workers when profits are up, they hire more workers when demand goes up, and that only happens when “hard-working American taxpayers” have more money to spend.  That’s something this bill simply does not provide.  When corporate profits go up, corporations shower their executives with bonuses and keep the rest.  This is not some harebrained theory on my part — go look at the statistics. The evidence is there.  Look at what happened following the disastrous Reagan corporate tax cuts.  America as a whole has always done better when corporate and high income tax rates are higher.

Corporate America did not need a tax cut.  Corporations are doing just fine, and corporate profits are at historic highs.  This bill gives them no incentive at all to do anything with their increased profits.  Indeed, the strongest incentive to get corporations to invest in plant, equipment, and personnel is a high tax rate.  When taxes are higher, it’s smarter for corporations to reinvest their profits to avoid paying tax, rather than stockpile the profits.  You have eliminated that incentive, and the result will inevitably be an even wider chasm between the rich and the poor.  Why would you vote to mortage our future by raising the national debt, in exchange for absolutely nothing?  The ugly answer to that is that you are rewarding those “Washington special interest lobbyists” who have been funding your campaigns.  That’s not democracy.  Shame on you.

It’s also clear you never talked to your constituents.  More than 75% of the American public was against this bill, and for very good reasons.  Besides the totally unnecessary giveaway to the most profitable corporations and the most wealthy individuals, this bill also guts the extremely popular Affordable Care Act (which can no longer be called “Obamacare”).  The most needy Oregonians will be rightfully outraged when their health insurance premiums go up because you voted to end the individual mandate, thus throwing the premium pool out of balance.  The ACA’s provisions were worked out over many long months, in consultation with industry and economic experts, producing a thoughtfully crafted piece of legislation that has been working.  By hacking away at it in the dark of night without the same kind of care and expertise, you have helped do real damage to the American public.  Shame on you.

You have tried to argue that the negative feelings in the public are because you’ve done a poor job of messaging.  That is not  so.  The problem is that the only way to put a positive spin on this bill is to lie about it, as you did in your Facebook message.

You have betrayed your constituents, your fellow Oregonians, and your country.  I’m ashamed to have you represent my state, and you can be sure that the electorate will remember this next November.

Posted in Opinion.

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