An Open Letter to President Obama

Dear Mr. President,

Like most Americans, I had high hopes for a lot of change.  Among my highest hopes was that you would change the toxic political culture in Washington.  You have been the statesman I expected you to be, and tried valiantly to be bipartisan and to compromise.  However, your efforts have been met mostly with vitriol and partisanship.  It is clear that most Republicans and their leadership have one goal and only one goal-to see that you are a one-term President, period.  And they are willing to go to any lengths-including threatening to purposely default on our sovereign debt and further damage our still fragile economy.  They even refused to fund the FAA and put 70,000 people out of work.  All because they care more about their personal political interests than the national interest.  Their insane strategy to sacrifice the wellbeing of the people they claim to represent, not to mention our country’s reputation, simply to reclaim political power, is unconscionable and unacceptable, and they must be stopped.

Dear Mr. President,

I know you have lots of professional advisors, though it seems clear to me that they have not been serving you or our country well.  So I thought I would offer my advice.

I worked hard for your election in 2008, as many thousands of other people across our country.  In fact, I was so inspired by your candidacy, I ran for and was elected statewide as an Obama Delegate-at-Large from Colorado.  About 6 weeks after my election, I switched places with a female alternate (who had received fewer votes) to allow the Colorado delegation to achieve the perfect gender balance required by the Democratic National Committee.  Nonetheless, I enthusiastically served as an alternate delegate and member of Colorado’s delegation to the Democratic National Convention.  And I continued to work hard for your election-I was a neighborhood team leader, organized phone banks, and knocked on doors to get your supporters to the polls right up until 7 o’clock on election night.

Like most Americans, I had high hopes for a lot of change.  Among my highest hopes was that you would change the toxic political culture in Washington.  You have been the statesman I expected you to be, and tried valiantly to be bipartisan and to compromise.  However, your efforts have been met mostly with vitriol and partisanship.  It is clear that most Republicans and their leadership have one goal and only one goal-to see that you are a one-term President, period.  And they are willing to go to any lengths-including threatening to purposely default on our sovereign debt and further damage our still fragile economy.  They even refused to fund the FAA and put 70,000 people out of work.  All because they care more about their personal political interests than the national interest.  Their insane strategy to sacrifice the wellbeing of the people they claim to represent, not to mention our country’s reputation, simply to reclaim political power, is unconscionable and unacceptable, and they must be stopped.

This is not to say that we don’t have a long term debt problem that must be addressed.  However, what we need right now is jobs, and tying a routine bill to raise the debt ceiling to a debate about how to address the debt problem was not only completely unnecessary, but obviously counterproductive.  I wish you would have dispensed with this manufactured crisis by invoking the 14th Amendment which states, “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law…shall not be questioned.”  This debt was already authorized by the authorization acts passed by Congress and signed into law.  Instead, you chose to continue to negotiate in good faith with Republican leadership that only wanted to ensure you failed.  As a result, we will now have several more months of angst and uncertainty while a “super committee” of Congress is formed and attempts to negotiate additional deficit reductions.  

While I know it is hoped that this committee will agree on a balanced approach of budget cuts and additional revenues, history provides scant evidence that this committee, evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, will agree on anything.  In fact, all six of the Republican committee appointees have signed Grover Norquist’s pledge to not raise taxes-ever-in spite of the fact that taxes are lower than they have been in decades, and the fact that almost two-thirds of Americans support fairly increasing taxes on wealthy individuals and businesses.

Business, consumers, investors, and Standard and Poor’s all know this history of Republican intransigence, and now we find ourselves on the brink of another financial crisis, perhaps a double-dip recession.   Consumer confidence and factory orders are both down.  People are afraid.  The stock market has been up and down like a roller coaster since Standard & Poor’s downgraded our debt rating.  In fact, the Dow has lost a total of 2,000 points in the last few weeks as Congress has done nothing but play irresponsible politics.  

It’s ironic that we have all collectively lost more in our personal investments than the wealthy would have ever paid with a modest tax increase, not to mention that taxpayers may eventually have to pay more in interest for every dollar borrowed.  This all because uncompromising Republicans refuse to even consider raising taxes.  It’s no wonder Congress’ approval rating is at an all-time low of 14 percent.

Republicans say we don’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem, and point to Medicare and Medicaid as the primary culprits.  However, the evidence shows we don’t have a Medicare or Medicaid problem.  We have a systemic health care cost problem.  This cost problem stems from continuing double-digit annual increases in health care costs, aggravated by demographics with thousands of baby boomers becoming eligible for Medicare each day.  

You recognized the best way to significantly reduce costs was to replace the current system which spends 25 percent of every healthcare dollar on administration and profits, with a single-payer system, similar to Medicare, that spends only about 5 percent on administration.  However, you gave up even on the public option, and Republicans are promising this super committee will repeal even the modest reforms that did pass.

It is unfathomable that our elected representatives in Congress have manufactured this financial crisis that has resulted in the downgrading of our national credit rating and threatens the global economy.  It is equally unfathomable that no one has taken bold and decisive action to try to stop them.  Yes, you have tried to subtly embarrass and cajole Congress into doing the right thing.  But Republicans are determined to advance their political agenda and poison your chances for re-election at any cost.

Worse yet that this debt ceiling debate and entirely avoidable financial crisis has sucked all the oxygen out of the room and distracted us from focusing on job number one-growing the economy and creating jobs.

So what can be done now?  You took bold and decisive action before to prevent our economy from going over a cliff.  We need you to do that again, and we can’t risk continued uncertainty by waiting until November or December only to find this super committee can’t make the hard decisions.  We know that uncertainty is the last thing our economy needs right now.  Businesses, investors, consumers, and economists all agree on that.  We need you to take bold action now to restore confidence and get our economy moving again:  

1. Call Congress back from their month-long recess, showing that you understand the seriousness of the situation and are willing to take the bold and decisive action necessary.

2. Make clear to Congress and to the American people that we all know the truth-that this crisis was manufactured for political gain.

3. Provide Congress a plan with specific common sense proposals, including those that already have bipartisan support, to reinvigorate the economy and create jobs including establishment of an infrastructure bank, a new highway bill creating or saving 600 thousand additional jobs, patent reform to bring innovative products to market quicker and creating more jobs, extending the payroll tax cut, and the fair extension of unemployment compensation.

4. Put back on the table your “grand bargain” that sought balanced deficit reduction of $4 trillion over a decade, a goal also endorsed by Senator John Kerry.  The United States must show the markets that it is “deadly serious about dealing with its long-term structural debt”.  Make clear that you and the American people expect and demand Congress make the compromises necessary to get a balanced, comprehensive deal done-now.

5. If you are re-elected, develop a new strategy citing the most compelling evidence to sell a single-payer health care system to the American people as the only feasible option to fix an uneconomical and unsustainable system.

All the polls show the American people have lost their patience and are absolutely disgusted with Congress.  We don’t need another super committee.  We need a super President.  You are in the most powerful position in the world-please use it.  The people will wholeheartedly support you and thank you for being the strong leader we need right now.  Taking bold and decisive action will also re-energize your base, and help recapture the hope that all those that voted for you had for our country.  It may not just save our economy, it may be the only hope to save your Presidency.

Sincerely,

Jeff Hart

Denver, Colorado

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An Open Letter to President Obama

Dear Mr. President,

Like most Americans, I had high hopes for a lot of change.  Among my highest hopes was that you would change the toxic political culture in Washington.  You have been the statesman I expected you to be, and tried valiantly to be bipartisan and to compromise.  However, your efforts have been met mostly with vitriol and partisanship.  It is clear that most Republicans and their leadership have one goal and only one goal-to see that you are a one-term President, period.  And they are willing to go to any lengths-including threatening to purposely default on our sovereign debt and further damage our still fragile economy.  They even refused to fund the FAA and put 70,000 people out of work.  All because they care more about their personal political interests than the national interest.  Their insane strategy to sacrifice the wellbeing of the people they claim to represent, not to mention our country’s reputation, simply to reclaim political power, is unconscionable and unacceptable, and they must be stopped.

Dear Mr. President,

I know you have lots of professional advisors, though it seems clear to me that they have not been serving you or our country well.  So I thought I would offer my advice.

I worked hard for your election in 2008, as many thousands of other people across our country.  In fact, I was so inspired by your candidacy, I ran for and was elected statewide as an Obama Delegate-at-Large from Colorado.  About 6 weeks after my election, I switched places with a female alternate (who had received fewer votes) to allow the Colorado delegation to achieve the perfect gender balance required by the Democratic National Committee.  Nonetheless, I enthusiastically served as an alternate delegate and member of Colorado’s delegation to the Democratic National Convention.  And I continued to work hard for your election-I was a neighborhood team leader, organized phone banks, and knocked on doors to get your supporters to the polls right up until 7 o’clock on election night.

Like most Americans, I had high hopes for a lot of change.  Among my highest hopes was that you would change the toxic political culture in Washington.  You have been the statesman I expected you to be, and tried valiantly to be bipartisan and to compromise.  However, your efforts have been met mostly with vitriol and partisanship.  It is clear that most Republicans and their leadership have one goal and only one goal-to see that you are a one-term President, period.  And they are willing to go to any lengths-including threatening to purposely default on our sovereign debt and further damage our still fragile economy.  They even refused to fund the FAA and put 70,000 people out of work.  All because they care more about their personal political interests than the national interest.  Their insane strategy to sacrifice the wellbeing of the people they claim to represent, not to mention our country’s reputation, simply to reclaim political power, is unconscionable and unacceptable, and they must be stopped.

This is not to say that we don’t have a long term debt problem that must be addressed.  However, what we need right now is jobs, and tying a routine bill to raise the debt ceiling to a debate about how to address the debt problem was not only completely unnecessary, but obviously counterproductive.  I wish you would have dispensed with this manufactured crisis by invoking the 14th Amendment which states, “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law…shall not be questioned.”  This debt was already authorized by the authorization acts passed by Congress and signed into law.  Instead, you chose to continue to negotiate in good faith with Republican leadership that only wanted to ensure you failed.  As a result, we will now have several more months of angst and uncertainty while a “super committee” of Congress is formed and attempts to negotiate additional deficit reductions.  

While I know it is hoped that this committee will agree on a balanced approach of budget cuts and additional revenues, history provides scant evidence that this committee, evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, will agree on anything.  In fact, all six of the Republican committee appointees have signed Grover Norquist’s pledge to not raise taxes-ever-in spite of the fact that taxes are lower than they have been in decades, and the fact that almost two-thirds of Americans support fairly increasing taxes on wealthy individuals and businesses.

Business, consumers, investors, and Standard and Poor’s all know this history of Republican intransigence, and now we find ourselves on the brink of another financial crisis, perhaps a double-dip recession.   Consumer confidence and factory orders are both down.  People are afraid.  The stock market has been up and down like a roller coaster since Standard & Poor’s downgraded our debt rating.  In fact, the Dow has lost a total of 2,000 points in the last few weeks as Congress has done nothing but play irresponsible politics.  

It’s ironic that we have all collectively lost more in our personal investments than the wealthy would have ever paid with a modest tax increase, not to mention that taxpayers may eventually have to pay more in interest for every dollar borrowed.  This all because uncompromising Republicans refuse to even consider raising taxes.  It’s no wonder Congress’ approval rating is at an all-time low of 14 percent.

Republicans say we don’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem, and point to Medicare and Medicaid as the primary culprits.  However, the evidence shows we don’t have a Medicare or Medicaid problem.  We have a systemic health care cost problem.  This cost problem stems from continuing double-digit annual increases in health care costs, aggravated by demographics with thousands of baby boomers becoming eligible for Medicare each day.  

You recognized the best way to significantly reduce costs was to replace the current system which spends 25 percent of every healthcare dollar on administration and profits, with a single-payer system, similar to Medicare, that spends only about 5 percent on administration.  However, you gave up even on the public option, and Republicans are promising this super committee will repeal even the modest reforms that did pass.

It is unfathomable that our elected representatives in Congress have manufactured this financial crisis that has resulted in the downgrading of our national credit rating and threatens the global economy.  It is equally unfathomable that no one has taken bold and decisive action to try to stop them.  Yes, you have tried to subtly embarrass and cajole Congress into doing the right thing.  But Republicans are determined to advance their political agenda and poison your chances for re-election at any cost.

Worse yet that this debt ceiling debate and entirely avoidable financial crisis has sucked all the oxygen out of the room and distracted us from focusing on job number one-growing the economy and creating jobs.

So what can be done now?  You took bold and decisive action before to prevent our economy from going over a cliff.  We need you to do that again, and we can’t risk continued uncertainty by waiting until November or December only to find this super committee can’t make the hard decisions.  We know that uncertainty is the last thing our economy needs right now.  Businesses, investors, consumers, and economists all agree on that.  We need you to take bold action now to restore confidence and get our economy moving again:  

1. Call Congress back from their month-long recess, showing that you understand the seriousness of the situation and are willing to take the bold and decisive action necessary.

2. Make clear to Congress and to the American people that we all know the truth-that this crisis was manufactured for political gain.

3. Provide Congress a plan with specific common sense proposals, including those that already have bipartisan support, to reinvigorate the economy and create jobs including establishment of an infrastructure bank, a new highway bill creating or saving 600 thousand additional jobs, patent reform to bring innovative products to market quicker and creating more jobs, extending the payroll tax cut, and the fair extension of unemployment compensation.

4. Put back on the table your “grand bargain” that sought balanced deficit reduction of $4 trillion over a decade, a goal also endorsed by Senator John Kerry.  The United States must show the markets that it is “deadly serious about dealing with its long-term structural debt”.  Make clear that you and the American people expect and demand Congress make the compromises necessary to get a balanced, comprehensive deal done-now.

5. If you are re-elected, develop a new strategy citing the most compelling evidence to sell a single-payer health care system to the American people as the only feasible option to fix an uneconomical and unsustainable system.

All the polls show the American people have lost their patience and are absolutely disgusted with Congress.  We don’t need another super committee.  We need a super President.  You are in the most powerful position in the world-please use it.  The people will wholeheartedly support you and thank you for being the strong leader we need right now.  Taking bold and decisive action will also re-energize your base, and help recapture the hope that all those that voted for you had for our country.  It may not just save our economy, it may be the only hope to save your Presidency.

Sincerely,

Jeff Hart

Denver, Colorado

Do you aree that the President should take these actions?

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