This is crunch time, and because I always try to say too much, I've tried to condense it to the most effective, brief things to say to elected representatives. They are swamped with messages: short and punchy does it. So, my outline says - I'm unhappy with Congress, and :
1 -- Just pass a simple, two-year debt ceiling increase like the President asked, to cover expenditures Congress has already authorized - like Republicans did routinely for Reagan and Bush.
2 -- If there has to be deficit reduction, it has to be 50-50 shared sacrifice: a dollar of canceled tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy for every dollar in spending reduction.
3 -- It’s crazy to cut government spending, extended unemployment benefits and health care like Medicaid and Medicare when there aren’t enough jobs to go around.
.... Delivered with whatever mixture of vehemence and grace you bring to it.
I offer my draft of condensed points as a work in progress, not a strategic policy, but tactical thinking for this particular moment. In crunch time, whether email, fax or voicemail, we need to be brief but not vague - succinct and telling - a couple modest paragraphs at most. And not just venting, but stating specific preferences that don't allow an easy out. They have to understand that we really are paying attention, and we understand some things about Congress. And also not sound like academic, elitist intellectuals.
So, after saying that I am upset with Congress' inability to deal with fiscal matters responsibly, I plan to say:
- Just pass a simple two-year debt ceiling increase like the President asked for – this is just rolling over the mortgage that Congress has authorized through appropriations and tax cuts. And it was done routinely when Reagan and Bush were running big deficits and we didn’t have a recession.
- If there has to be deficit reduction, it must to be 50-50 shared sacrifice: a dollar of canceled tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy for every dollar in spending reduction.
- It’s crazy to cut government spending, extended unemployment benefits and health care like Medicaid and Medicare as long as there aren’t enough jobs to go around.
If there is space for one more, I'd single out Boehner's dishonest statement about giving the president a "blank check" - which everyone in D.C. understands is just inflammatory and misleading propaganda. Raising the debt ceiling doesn't allow any president to unilaterally spend a single dime that hasn't been appropriated by Congress. (And since it sets an upper limit, it technically isn't a "blank" check for Congress either ... there I go being too long and pedantic.)
I'm not completely happy with this, but I'm are out of time for editing. They need to hear punchy messages from outside the Beltway - my reps, other reps from my state, and the White House.
Feedback appreciated - and hope you are already writing even better stuff.