Update: I’ve posted on the status of responses, by race / district, here.
If nothing else, events in recent weeks have demonstrated that the corruption in Washington has reached the boiling point. We are now faced with a legislative body so dysfunctional that it cannot pass even emergency legislation without bribes and enticements. The problem isn’t Red vs Blue, or liberal vs conservative. In this context, such labels have no meaning.
Congress is running amok, and although 59% of the country would like to replace the entire legislative body, there is no mechanism for doing so… nor can we hope for any internally-driven solutions.
The best we can do, under the current circumstances, is force individual accountability. To that end, I sent the below letter to each person in my immediate area this morning who is running for Congress. I plan to post their responses.
I encourage you to freely copy this letter and ask for the same commitments from the congressional candidates in your own area.
I’m writing to you as a local-area resident, a political blogger, a non-partisan Independent, and a concerned citizen of the United States.
Our obscene debt levels are nearing a par with the GDP, and the deficit continues to grow. The future was already grim on the current unchecked path, but compounding these problems is a financial and credit crisis. Federal intervention will be astoundingly expensive, yet many years of ill-considered policies have intersected with pervasive fiscal irresponsibility in Congress, leaving us with limited options to meet the current challenge.
The people are losing faith in their elected leaders.
We desperately need a return to fiscal responsibility in Washington. At this perilous moment in our history, we must have leaders who are committed to reigning in the excess and paying for their policies.
Once upon a time, in another era, the concept of ‘pay as you go’ was well understood. In recent years, unfortunately, partisanship and political polarization have distorted and undermined its effectiveness, and many in our current Congress have discarded even the pretense. However, PAYGO is a non-partisan concept if applied even-handedly to both spending increases and tax reductions.
Therefore, I’m writing to each congressional candidate in Harris and Fort Bend counties, and I’m asking all of you the same question: Will you work toward fiscal responsibility by publicly committing to PAYGO?
With the exception of emergency measures, will you eschew writing, sponsoring, or voting for any non-funded new spending, tax cuts, or incentives? Will you make such a commitment so that we, the voting public, can begin to demand accountability?