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An Open Letter to Senators Snowe, Collins, and Specter

10 February 2009

(Sent to all three senators at 5am CST 2/9/09)

Dear Senators Snowe, Collins, and Specter:

Recognizing that you are not accountable to a resident of the state of Texas, I am writing you because your actions in the next several days will ripple across the United States and affect people like me.  

Briefly:  I plead with you to withdraw your support for the so-called “stimulus” bill being considered for passage by the Senate.  I am urging my own Senators Cornyn and Hutchison likewise, and I will be doing what little I can to persuade other senators that this entire effort is a terrible idea – and the details now emerging are even worse.

Of course we face the risk that our current economic downturn has not bottomed out; it will likely get worse before it gets better.  But our experiences as a nation over the past 75 years have convinced me that the so-called “stimulus” bill will make matters even worse because of their long-term implications:

* We are effectively borrowing an incredible amount from our children.  When I explained to my 12-year-old son how we will have to come up with money we do not now have in the bank, he immediately got it:  he, not only we, will have to foot the bill in the form of tax revenue AND accelerated inflation for years and years to come.  It appears to me that we have reached a tipping point in the global economy’s confidence in the United States dollar as a repository of value, and pouring such a vast ocean of dollars into the economy is an unprecedented push…in the wrong direction.

* The creeping nationalization of corporations will sap our workforce’s incentive and sends a terrible message to the private sector:  “no matter how poorly your corporations perform, and no matter how unwise your business strategies are, we can always ask the taxpayers of this country – and their children – to backstop you.”  CEOs and boards will therefore be emboldened to take even greater risks.  This particular abyss has no bottom.

* The ostensible “urgency” of this bill is little more than a cynical means of making it a vehicle for all manner of what might be rightly termed “poison pills,” provisions that do not appear to cost much in financial terms but that carry a payload that will devastate the American experiment in personal liberty and self-determination.  I am speaking primarily of provisions like the “health care information technology coordinator,” which is clearly a Trojan horse intended to give nationalization of health care a toehold in the federal government.  We rejected such terrible ideas in 1993-94, and we must be vigilant to continue rejecting them at every turn.  So it is in this case.

The problem, of course, is that the larger this overall bill becomes, the smaller each line item appears as a proportion of the whole, and the less onerous it seems.  Perversely – and this is a telling observation – once the American people and their representatives are persuaded that this bill is going to pass, the bill becomes a magnet for every morsel of pork and every pet policy directive that politicians can tack onto it.  The result is inevitably a disastrous exercise in incoherence, waste, and political pay-for-play.

I appeal to your sense of American history and your understanding of our Framers’ political philosophy.  When it comes to government meddling in the private sector, less is more.  With all due respect, I beg you to rethink your support for this bill and to persuade your colleagues in the GOP caucus to unify in support for a filibuster.


Brent Auvermann

Amarillo, TX

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