April 8, 2013 by  
Filed under Blogs, Hot Button / Lynn Ashby

Dear Member of Congress, I can no longer refer to you as “Congressman” since 97, or 18.1 percent, of the 535 seats in Congress, are held by females, and I really don’t know who you are. I just vote a straight party ballot as did a record 64 percent of Texas voters in last November’s general election. Anyway, I write to demand that you cut federal spending. I’m sure you’ll agree, since you and every other member of Congress say you must “scrub the budget,” “eliminate waste and fraud,” “end the pork, cut the fat,” which is fitting, considering all the pigs’ snouts in the trough. You can start with something simple, like the Senate Hair Care Service with its shoe shiner, manicurist and stylists, which I have been subsidizing, and your private gym, too. Speaking of subsidizing, thanks for stopping the subsidies to control towers at smaller airports, including 13 in Texas. They can still operate, only more carefully, but why am I helping pay for these airports which cater almost exclusively to private and corporate airplanes? If the CEO can afford to take the company jet to the company deer lease, he can pay for his own control towers. All of these reductions are due to the $85-billion sequestration, a word almost no one knew or used until now. One target is the defense budget, which has doubled since 9/11. We now spend more on our military than the next 22 nations combined. Maybe chop the $255 million to upgrade our M1 Abrams tanks even though the Pentagon opposes the increased spending — it plans to stop production. According to Sen. John McCain, the Navy has spent in excess of $400 per gallon — per ever-loving gallon! — for approximately 20,000 gallons of algae-based biofuel. The Defense Department is no longer a military operation. It’s a jobs program. The money we are spending on various projects may not be helping. After 40 years and $1 trillion spent, an official of the war on drugs, Richard Kerlikowske, stated in May 2010, “In the grand scheme, it has not been successful. Forty years later, the concern about drugs and drug problems is, if anything, magnified, intensified.” We will spend $114 million on the U.N. Democracy Fund which supports global democratization efforts. The Obama administration has never requested any funding for it. And do we really need to pay $3 million for aquatic plant control? This doesn’t mean Congress should cut all spending. According to Recovery.gov, the American Recovery Act of 2011 (aka the Stimulus Act to Recover From the Recession), spread funds far and wide, and we Texans were fighting for our share. The ZIP covering Dallas’ Park Cities got $6.1 million, all of it to the local public schools and SMU. The Houston ZIP that includes Piney Point, the richest city in Texas (average per capita income: $133,558), received $36.8 million in stimulus funds. Midland ranks as the second richest metropolitan area — as opposed to a city — in the entire nation based on per capita personal income: $65,173 in 2011. The Recovery Act gave Midland County $57 million. Granted, all these aaffluent residents have probably sent a lot more to Washington than they got back, but let’s not hear any idle chatter from them about “cutting gub-ment spending.” That’s not hypocrisy. It’s the American Way! Even the ZIP for my own neighborhood, Running Rats Acres, receives $6,129,433 in stimulus funds, including to BP and ConocoPhillips. No doubt they need the money. I mentioned cutting defense spending, which reminds me of Dr. Samuel Smith who was posted at the U.S. Army’s Camp Charlotte, Texas. On July 4, 1879, he wrote, “The whole state of Texas counts on the expenditure of money for Army supplies, and when a Congressman tackles the appropriations bill he joins issue with the whole state from Dan to Beersheba.” I’m all for slicing the military budget, but certainly not our Major John Andre Signal School. You never know — semaphores may come back in style. Military experts (my uncle’s VFW post) say the only thing between national safety and Al-Queda is the Fumble Fuse Ammunition Dump. Slogan: “Home of the biggest dump in America.” Mustard gas is not totally illegal. You said in a speech on the House floor (C-SPAN showed you were actually on the floor itself) those courageous words, “Somebody do something!” Then you got specific: “We must cut some things but not others. We need budget reform of some kind. I have made myself clear.” True, but we can’t throw the pig out with the trough. My mother needs more Medicare, not less. Close the medicine doughnut hole so she can eat more doughnuts. Increase her Social Security checks — she needs them to cover her trips to the Louisiana casinos. Also, our family farm couldn’t exist without all those subsidies. Otherwise, I’d have to get a job. Lyndon Johnson said, “One man’s loophole is another man’s livelihood.” The proposed tax deduction on empty Bud cans is not a loophole, it is my livelihood and an investment in our nation’s future. I am glad you are trying to cut all federal funding for that den of treason, National Public Radio. If that Mozart fellow wants his music played on the radio he should get a better agent. I am told the federal funds to NPR annually are the equivalent of what the Department of Defense goes through every eight hours. Should we just declare an eight-hour ceasefire with Kim Jong-un? You receive $174,000 a year, more if you’re in a leadership slot. As a U.S. representative you get about $1.3 million a year for staff expenses, senators get twice that. Not bad for a one-man band that doesn’t have to pay rent or utilities. Most doctors, lawyers and CPAs would love to have so much cash for expenses. So pay for your own haircut. Incidentally, we could use an eight-lane interstate from Dan to Beersheba. Ashby is in the trough at ashby2@comcasat.net

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