I recently received a mailer for Representative John Spratt, our democratic congressman from 5th district (14 counties in all). At first glance you would think that John Spratt and I don’t differ too much on the issues. It even took a “trained” political contrarian like me a second reading to catch that Rep. Spratt was not like me at all; rather the mailer was just a “least common denominator” representation of his views. Or in other words, John Spratt paid someone good money to create a mailer that watered down his actual stances and voting record to a point to where it would appear to be acceptable to both Democrats and Republicans, Liberals and Conservatives.
It starts with an innocuous introduction about his offices and background. He says that he is “accessible” or at least his offices are in Rock Hill, Sumter and Darlington and that his staff has helped “hundreds of folks” receive a “fair shake out of the federal government”. The reverse of the letter states his “positions on a few key issues.” These issues are listed within quotations so these are the words of Rep. John Spratt from the 5th Congressional District, a Democrat, a Liberal. He says he is for more drilling if it lowers gas prices; in fact he is “for anything responsible that will bring down prices.” Fair enough, strange to hear that talk coming from the side of the aisle that has made access to oil so expensive. Everyone knows that Democrats are the party of the environmentalists. Perhaps Mr. Spratt should ponder the responsibility of ZERO new atomic energy facilities in the US in 40 years more than half of that time Spratt has been in office (25 years). Perhaps Spratt should ponder the responsibility of us sending $700,000,000,000 (700 Billion) over seas for our energy needs when a large chunk of that could stay home or at least in North America.
Spratt confuses the issue by going on about how many permits and acres the oil companies already have to drill on, suggesting that other places like the Gulf and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) shouldn’t be explored or drilled. The number of permits and acreage available is immaterial Rep. Spratt if your investment-to-return ratios are better elsewhere. If I could drill in Mudville and get 10 Barrels a day but drill in Ruby and get 25 barrels a day for the same investment, where would I drill first? Or if I only have money to plant one field with melons and one of my two fields cost twice as much to prepare and to harvest which field do I choose? These are the dilemmas facing the oil producers. Spratt tows the party line using the silly talking points issued to him by Democrats much more powerful than he and tries to turn it in to something palatable for all of us.
On Iraq he says he has “traveled to Iraq four times” suggesting the trip makes him more expert. Hardly. It would be what he did with his time there that made him more expert. I have traveled to Phoenix more than four times to change flights, but have never stayed, am I now an expert on Phoenix? Mr. Spratt, tell us more about your conversations with the troops on the ground. What are you hearing from the Generals and Colonels? The problem is, the Democrat Representative from the 5th District can’t do that. Because to do that would betray his party. A party that has invested in defeat. A party that has made the mission in Iraq harder and more dangerous by giving indirect aid and direct comfort to our enemies. If he discussed what he has seen and what he is hearing from those who know and are expert on Iraq and are in a position of power in the country of Iraq he would have to confess that his party’s positions on Iraq and his own behavior/vote/positions, either by act or omission are and have been less than helpful and often close to Treason. John Spratt will find NO QUARTER with me on this issue. His positions and his party are irresponsible. They have taken up with the blame-America-first and the anti-war crowd rather than do what nations do in a time of war, you pull together. As a son of the South Spratt was no-doubt raised better. He his partially protected in Washington because his party keeps him from the microphones and cameras on these tough issues? As well the media is either so inept that they don’t know to ask the tough question or so biased as to keep tough questions about the war for Republicans only. Shame on you Rep. Spratt.
On Health Care he starts with a dangerous premise that “…every American [has] affordable medical care.” Can you point to that in the Constitution Mr. Spratt? Does that fall under “necessary and proper” or interstate commerce? The Federal Government has no charter to provide health-care nor monkey with its affordability. It certainly doesn’t have the right to tell States that they MUST pay for 20% of a Federal program!!!
On the Budget Rep. John Spratt goes on about his work balancing the budget in the 90’s, before the dot-com bubble burst, before 9/11, before Katrina, before the war on Terror and the War for Energy Security (Iraq). Well, whoop-tee-doo! If I was Bill Gates I bet I could balance my check book with a bit more ease and security. But, I am not, so it is often difficult for me when times get tough. The heady days of the 90’s are gone and we are paying the price for it now. I no more expected John Spratt to be clairvoyant enough to predict our situation today than I expected George W. Bush. But now that the causes of our economic situation are clear, I at least expect honesty. Seems I get none from Democrat Representative John Spratt from the 5th Congressional District. Honesty would admit that the globalized nature of our economy has given us our current situation and a temporary negative budget might be a necessity for the short term. A balanced budget should be the norm of course and we have gone too long in the “Red”, but let’s be clear headed about the situation.
How could a Democrat be a Democrat without talking about education? As with health-care, please point to the passage in the US Constitution that gives the Federal Government the right or obligation to deal in education and to dictate to States how we should educate our children? Increasing Federal spending on education has never worked. Yet we keep spending. Spratt’s mailer is even targeted towards me, it suggests a decrease in loan repayment interest rates and more money for need based grants and loans that I have taken advantage of in the past for college. Why don’t we let states handle the education, we can still have Pell Grants and Student Loans but lets do it on a State by State and community by community basis. In Ireland part of your local taxes goes to paying for local kids to go to college. The benefit for this kind of taxing and spending is obvious. Who knows best how much to tax and where to spend your money, John Spratt, a man who you can’t even pick up the phone and contact, or someone in your community? Federal interference in education has been a complete failure. Shame on John Spratt and all that support it.
Finally, Spratt has two sentences on taxes. In these two short sentences he manages to clandestinely promote his party line that the “rich” should be taxed more and are not paying their fair share. Well Sir, lets do some research.
Percentage of Federal Personal Income Tax Paid (2006)
(Folks that make over: ) (Percentage of total taxes paid to the Feds)
Top 1% $388,806 39.89
Top 5% $153,542 60.14
Top 10% $108,904 70.79
Top 25% $64,702 86.27
Top 50% $31,987 97.01
Bottom 50% <$31,987 2.99
Source: Internal Revenue Service (via www.ntu.org)
This means that those that make over $100,000 dollars are paying over 70% of the taxes. Those that make over $31,000 are paying 97 percent of the taxes. 97%!!!!!!!
Let me translate a bit more. 40% of the taxes are paid by the so called “rich”. 20% of the taxes are paid by the “well off”. 10% of the taxes are paid by the “upper middle class”. 25% of the taxes are paid by the “middle class”. Less than 5% of taxes are paid by the people who use the programs the taxes pay for. If you think all your money is going to Iraq, you are VERY WRONG. The majority goes into Federal Funded Entitlement Programs!!!