Vote for fiscal restraint

Letter to the editor

Posted: Sunday, October 31, 2004

With most elections, I carefully evaluate each candidate, and frequently give my support and my vote to the female candidate, if her qualifications, her position, and her past voting record fall within a range of personal acceptance. I am prejudiced. I believe we need more balance in our legislative offices - elected officials that reflect the composition of the constituency. While one elected official can make a difference, democracy works best when balance in representation is achieved, overall. I would like to cast a vote for Lisa Murkowski, but I will not.

Frankly, I expected the Republican Party, which touts itself as the party of fiscal responsibility, to have more carefully weighed the financial impact of a package of generous tax cuts, an undoubtedly protracted war in Iraq, and record pork-barrel spending that includes yet another increase in farm subsidies. The Republicans may point to the need to run up record deficits to fund the war on terrorism, but this level of fiscal recklessness cannot be justified. The responsibility for this record spending falls squarely with the majority party in the Congress and with the president.

I want Americans at home and abroad to feel safe and secure. I do not believe that we now, or in the foreseeable future, have a safer world as a result of the invasion in Iraq. As an aging baby boomer, I am as concerned with the financial security of this country as terrorism. Important lessons can be learned from the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Competition with the United States in the nuclear arms race, their misadventure in Afghanistan, and a lack of investment in building a competitive workforce lead to the financial collapse of the USSR.

President Bush's signature program, No Child Left Behind, imposes higher standards without adequate funding to local school districts. Republicans pat themselves on the back for a tax cut, which barely covers increase costs of gasoline and heating oil for all but the rich. Every economic measure reinforces that the rich have increased wealth in the last four years, while the middle class fall deeper into debt. The stock market is at a yearly low, the dollar is at a record low to other currencies.

Republicans can label Democrats as "tax and spend," but the Republicans of this administration have won the title, "cut taxes, spend recklessly, and create record deficits." It is time for fiscal responsibility and balance in Washington, D.C. I will be voting for Tony Knowles.

Gail Smith


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