Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The debt ceiling and democracy

Matt Yglesias pointed out today that Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) won't vote to raise the debt ceiling unless we enact a cap on federal spending, which he believes should be at 20.6% of the GDP. I live in TN so I sent Senator Corker an email voicing my disagreement with his stance. Here it is:

Hi Senator Corker,

I just wanted to let you know that I disagree with your decision to not support raising the debt ceiling unless federal spending is capped at about 20% of GDP.

First of all, we are still at about 9% unemployment. I have a masters degree and I have been trying to find a job for almost a year now. There are many people like me out there. The economy is still on shaky ground and therefore now is not the time to worry about the deficit. Plus inflation is low and interest rates are low. So this talk about short term deficits from both parties is just hampering discussion on how to grow the economy.

But when it comes to the medium and long term deficit I don't think a spending cap fully addresses the issue, not to mention it would limit our ability to deal with future recessions. If we are serious about the deficit we should also be looking at revenue along with spending. If we were to enact a spending cap without addressing revenue, which is well below average then you don't really close the gap between the spending and revenue, thus keeping in place a deficit.

If we are serious about cutting the deficit to manageable levels we must address revenue. And without raising the debt ceiling our economy will be even worse off than it is now and revenue will drop even further, raising the deficit even more. And worst of all, unemployment will get worse and people like me will find it even more difficult to find a job.

So I urge you to simply raise the debt ceiling and focus on growing the economy right now. The deficit can wait. People without jobs can't wait much longer.

Thanks for your time,
David Plunk

Democracy in action. Of course, one of the unique features of American democracy is the fact that my email probably won't change his mind because there are many more Republicans in TN than there are Democrats like me, which is to say that it takes a large number of people to get things done in our political system. But at least his staff knows there is someone out there who doesn't agree with him that could not vote for him and convince others to not vote for him too. That's something, kind of.

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