Friday, January 30, 2009

A Message to Republicans

by Norman Markowitz

The House has voted the more than 800 billion "stimulus package." The legislation might more accurately be called the Economic Emergency Rescue Act od 2009 as the first New Deal relief bill, the Federal Emergency Relief Act of 1933 created the Federal Emergency Relief Administration.

A handful of House Democrats and all, I repeat, all, House Republicans voted against the bill. This included House Republicans like Chris Smith in New Jersey who has long received AFL-CIO support and others both in New Jersey and through the nation, "moderate" Republicans representing urban and suburban districts whose people are on the front line of the economic crisis as the nation and the world stand on a symbolic borderline between recession and depression.

I have a message for the Republican House delegation in New Jersey and all others who the media and many of their constituents consider "moderates" or even "liberals." Tens of thousands of jobs are being lost in the private sector here and hundreds of thousands right now through the country as debt ridden states launch a new round of cutbacks which will reduce the quality of vital public services, make them more expensive, and cost jobs. Where will the buck that you have been passing to state and local governments since the beginning of your Reagan presidency stop now that the money is stopping? What are you going to say to the people of your districts who at worst lose their jobs and their homes? What are you going to say to the people
of your districts who if they are fortunate will "only" have to live with deeper insecurity and anxiety as their real incomes decline along with their health and pension benefits, their schools, roads, garbage collection, and a lot more?

Will you say "read my lips no new taxes" while regressive property taxes, regressive toll road taxes, regressive sales taxes and local fees of all kinds rise as existing public revenues decline? Will you blame it all on the low income people in the cities who elect Democrats now that more and more of your constituents are in the same boat with those people? Or will you try to pass the blame onto the Governors and Legislatures, most of them led by Democrats in the states where you, the "moderate" Republicans ,are elected, will if the plan fails have to carry out the crippling cutbacks that will reduce the quality of citizens lives?

I think that readers of this blog through the country should write to those Republican House delegates who voted against the economic rescue plan and tell them how they feel about this action. They should also write to their U.S. Senators, both Democrats and Republicans and make it clear that they don't want the Rescue Plan watered down with tax reductions for the wealthy and the corporations and other subsidies for those who created the crisis. That is the kind of "compromise" that Senate Republicans, who are threatening to filibuster the bill, are talking about.

And they should state, tactfully or bluntly depending on their temperament, an old popular citizens call to action in U.S. politics "we'll remember in November." In New Jersey there will be a state election this November where the Republicans who are allies of those who voted against the plan will be up for re-election, along with the Governor. In other states, there will also be elections. For the congressmen in question, we will have to remind them that November, 2010 isn't that far away and their first major vote of 2009 have hurt both the peoples future and their political future.