A loyal York News-Times reader dropped off an interesting article the other day. It was a “report” or newsletter from a Nebraska congressman. He was writing about what a mess it is in Washington and how Congress can’t get along,
He said, “Nebraskans are eager for change, believing that changes in many policies and programs are long overdue.”
On the back of the congressman’s newsletter were poll results taken from 25,000 people who took the time to voice their opinion.
Some of the questions and answers are:
Would you favor eliminating Saturday mail delivery if it would save tax dollars? Fifty-five percent said yes.
Are you willing to accept substantial cuts in federal spending if the cuts seem to be equitably shared by all segments of society? A whopping 86 percent said yes.
Do you favor an increase in the share of the federal budget devoted to defense related items? Sixty-two percent said yes.
Would you favor mandatory registration of all privately owned handguns in the United States? Only 49 percent said yes.
In view of the continued rise in hospital care, would you support mandatory cost controls imposed by the federal government on hospitals? Fifty-three percent said yes.
Do you favor gradually raising the eligibility age for full Social Security retirement benefits? Only 31 percent said yes.
There were other stories the congressman covered in his newsletter. He spoke about the federal budget process as being the most controversial and confusing exercises in government. He writes about how we need to cut spending, but Washington is engaged in a monumental “tug of war” on budget issues.
He also discusses how we need complete and thorough tax reform, saying the nation’s economic problems can be traced to the ever-increasing tax burden on all its citizens.
So here’s my question. Are you the one in 10 who thinks Congress is doing a good job, because their job approval rating is near only 10 percent? As the congressman points out, we the people are fed up with the inability of Washington to govern, to solve the nation’s problems, and to set a course for a positive and prosperous future.
The fact is most of our problems today are the fault of Washington’s failures. Congress is very good at pointing out the problems. It is very bad at solving them.
Do you need proof? Well here’s some proof for you.
The congressman writing this newsletter was Representative Doug Bereuter. It is a four-page newsletter he sent to Nebraskans in the summer of 1981. That was 32 years ago folks. Rep Bereuter was complaining about the very same problems that exist today because all they did for the past three decades was to talk about the problems and make promises to fix them.
Bereuter was complaining about the large federal budget of $695 billion (in 1981) that it would take to run the country. Today we spend that amount in only 69 days as our federal budget is now near $4 trillion dollars a year.
And with all that extra money taken from our pockets and sent to theirs in Washington, you would think they could do something with all those dollars that would garner the respect of more than one in 10 Americans.
Can you believe that in 1981 Congress was trying to fix Social Security, cope with the post office’s financial problems, legislate gun registration, reduce federal spending, properly fund the military and struggle to balance the federal budget?
This 31-year-old newsletter could have been written yesterday, as all those issues still exist today, proving Congress is not only inept, but incapable. The time has come to stop talking and start fixing, and it must begin with the voters who need to stop listening to empty promises and start demanding that we don’t face another 32 years like the past 32.
If the current crop of Nebraska representation, Johanns, Fischer, Smith, Terry and Fortenberry can’t right the wrongs, then we need to fire them and hire someone else who can. Shame on them. Shame on us.
With all due respect to Rep. Doug Bereuter, it is obvious his newsletter written in the summer of 1981 vividly points out that Congress’ biggest problem is… Congress!