Saturday, April 15, 2006

A weak reply

I received the following response from my letter to Sen. Burr today:

"Dear Mr. Rose,

Thank you for contacting me with your thoughts on the President's proposed budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2007. I appreciate hearing from you.

On February 6, 2006, the President released his proposed budget for FY 2007. While this budget is only a starting point for the budget process, with no obligation that Congress implement its proposals, it does establish the President's priorities for 2007 and beyond. I am pleased the President has again made it his top priority to defend America both at home and abroad. I also strongly support the President's goals of continuing to strengthen our economy, focus on educating the next generation, and tackle difficult problems such as the high cost of health care.

In line with the steps of toward greater fiscal stability Congress achieved last year, the President has again proposed steps aimed to cut the federal deficit in half by 2009. These steps include Congress holding the growth of discretionary spending (the spending which Congress determines year to year through appropriations) to no more than the rate of inflation. These steps also include the further reduction if the rate of growth for mandatory spending (those programs like like Medicare, scheduled to grow each year without constant Congressional approval).

Last year Congress passed the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (P.L 109-171) which will save over $39 billion from mandatory spending over the next five years. I voted for this legislation because I am concerned about the growth of mandatory spending and the long-term liabilities such spending will create for the federal government. This spending currently compromises 56% of the annual budget and primarily includes the costs of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security programs. It is estimated that in only ten years the financial demand on theses mandatory programs will account for almost two-thirds of the total federal budget. While, reforms to Social Security generally must be made outside of the annual budget resolution, I believe Congress should take another hard look at Medicaid, Medicare, and other programs during this year's budget process. Congress must take steps to slow the rate of growth of our spending and find cost savings by eliminating wasteful spending end inefficiency in these programs.

I believe that our federal budget should promote a strong domestic economy by encouraging growth and managing spending to prevent waste and an unfair tax burden on hard working citizens. I don't believe that by simply raising taxes we will be able to reduce our national deficit. Instead, a strong economy will provide greater overall revenues for the government. In FY 2005 for instance, total federal revenues saw their largest increase in 24 years. This was achieved without new taxes, and was spurred by recent tax cuts. Responsible federal spending should encourage growth in businesses which foster economic expansion. This growing economy will create new jobs.

Congress has a responsibility to spend taxpayer dollars wisely or not at all, and I believe we should not leave future generations a legacy of debt. I look forward to colleagues to make sure the federal budget is responsible and funds priorities important to North Carolinians. As Congress begins its budget process, I will keep your concerns in mind. If I can be of further assistance on this, or any other issue, please do not hesitate to contact me or visit my website at


Richard Burr
United States Senator


This letter makes it perfectly clear to me that Senator Burr is either unwilling or unable to address the question of the budget. Burr cites the budget's commitment in educating the next generation as one of the reasons he supports it but, this budget will see the biggest cut in funding to the Department of Education since that agency was supported and it will also cause the biggest increase in the cost of student loans ever. He also talks about the steps the President will take to cut the deficit in half by 2009 unfortunately, the President's plan to cut the budget deficit in half by 2009 is only rhetoric. It has gone up every years since he took office and will probably continue to do so until he leaves office. The only steps that he outlines in cutting the deficit is to reduce spending on Medicare and Medicaid and to reduce the increase in annual spending to the rate of inflation. Neither of which has had any serious support by Senator Burr. He tells me that future generations should not be left with a legacy of debt but, he does not show any commitment to making that happen. Senator Burr's empty promises and meaningless rhetoric has not impressed me. I therefore feel that it is appropriate to conclude that Burr will move only when the President changes his position on this issue and that he is not willing to stand up to anyone and fight the deficit.

Congressman John Tierney sums up how many Americans, including myself feel about the wasteful tax cuts that both Sen. Burr and the President tout as an economic stimulus like this:

As we entered 2001, there existed a projected ten-year budget surplus of $5.6 trillion. Now the projected deficit after several months of this Administration’s policies will run over $3 trillion turning the $5.6 trillion surplus into $8 trillion of debt. In response, the President proposed a second round of tax cuts for high income earners, even though his first round of cuts are largely seen as responsible for much of the disappearance of the surplus. These policies have not created jobs or economic growth!

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