As a fiscally conservative Independent, I found Mr. Schied’s “Four more years will be a tough slog”, (Letters, Nov. 30-Dec.2) bewildering at best.
The theme throughout Mr. Schied’s musings down a “selective” memory lane of recent U.S. presidential history is one of hypocrisy. Hypocrisy; the same affliction that infects many varied institutions, organizations, firms, political establishments, and individual politicians; and apparently Mr. Schied as well.
Rhetorically, Mr. Schied asks, “How could a candidate that promised fiscal sanity and talk with Democrats lose to the status quo?” The phrasing of this question begs one to believe that Schied’s “status quo” is in regard to the current presidential administration as if it has been entrenched for decades. Alarmingly, Mr. Schied’s rambling citation of concerns is sprinkled with the names of former Democratic presidents, but shockingly leaves out any mention of any Republican administrations. In doing so “Four More Years ….” glaringly does not inquire into or provide a review of how the country got into the current fiscal mess. Could it be that rose colored glasses obscure the readily apparent answer to his question?
In regard to the past election, it was the majority of the American voting populace, both in the numeric count and in the Electoral College that rendered the presidential decision, whether any of us like it or not. And prior to a review of some of the past, it would be instructive to note that the Republican presidential candidates did not carry their respective home states and Mr. Ryan did not even carry his home town of Janesville. Could that merely be a hint of an answer to Mr. Schied’s question? Yes, even the Democrats carried Virginia, as well as Colorado, previous “red” states. And now North Carolina is considered a swing state?
Mr. Schied failed to acknowledge that the current administration inherited the worst U.S. economic condition in U.S. history outside of the Great Depression with the down turn becoming known as the “Great Recession.” Yes, it was created in great part by the housing bubble, but also by the reckless eight years of the Bush\Cheney Administration and the spend-crazy Republican Congress. The recent 2008-2012 Republican Congress took up the mantra of “it’s not funded” to defeat many proposed initiatives where they stated there were no immediate sources of revenue or cuts in spending to fund anything new, whether they would serve the national public good or not. Yet, the very same Congressional Republicans during the Bush\Cheney years approved, voted for, or directly funded:
The Bush Tax Cuts — no funding source or revenue offsets
The Iraq War — not funded in a formal budget (and WMD never found)
The Afghan War — not paid for in a formal budget
Senior Drug Prescription Program — no funding source or offset
Each of these items squandered an inherited surplus and exacerbated our budget deficits to the point that the Bush deficits were the largest in U.S. history and larger than that of all previous deficits in aggregate. All facts Mr. Schied does not even allude to and lays apparent blame at the feet of the nameless “status quo.” However, Schied attempts to posit that the answer lies within a couple of conservative columnist George Will’s writings such as “The Gimme Society” as well as hypothetically Chicago’s “Take No Prisoner” philosophy. Yet, Schied once again conveniently skips away from, or is historically oblivious to the fact that the same George Will has written or stated on Sunday morning news shows of the prior Republican Administration and Republican Congress’s handling of the U.S. budget as “ … the Republicans spent like drunken sailors,” and “.. the Republicans found out how much fun it was to spend other people’s money.”
In doing so, Schied has beaten his own hypocritical drum. And in regard to the housing bubble, he does not even touch on the Bush Administration’s laissez-faire, hands off policy to regulatory oversight of the toxic MBS’s and CDO’s that took the financial system and U.S. economy to its knees. Why did he not include the Wall Street and bank bailouts as part of the “Gimme Society”?
Mr. Schied is dead wrong that “we’re” challenging religious freedoms. Such freedoms have never been stronger in this country with more religious denominations and places of worship existing now than at any time in U.S. history. This speaks volumes to the diversity of this country and to religious tolerance and participation for all forms of worship; one of the founding principles of the country. If the Catholic bishops are up in arms, their pressing concern should be, and should have been, to root out the pedophilia that pervaded the U.S. church for decades. Instead they practiced deceit and knowingly moved offenders around to other parts of the country or parishes and as a result have endured numerous million dollar verdicts and settlements. No religion should tolerate such actions and no religion should cast stones at others, or other’s beliefs, if one’s own house has problems. The old adage of “he who lives in a glass house should not cast stones” applies here. As for the orientation of any U.S. citizen in regard to private matters, Mr. Schied should revisit the U.S. Constitution which begins “We the People” and the Declaration of Independence which states in part “…life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all.” These principals apply to all and are not selective to some, a chosen few, or those that any group might favor.
Mr. Schied mentions conservation easements. However, such conservation easements should be proffered voluntarily and free through restrictive covenants, down-zonings of other administrative measures. That is, there should be no tax credits involved. If one buys a farm, one buys a farm and pays the just taxes for owning a farm. In fact, if one studies conservation easements, most of the land that is placed in such easements is unusable slopes, ravines, adjacent to roadways, between houses and as such is not usable for farming, pasture land or any other true economic producing use. It is a tax avoidance boondoggle creation by landowners; giving up nothing of true economic value, receiving tax credits and transferring the tax burden to small businesses, those who own townhouses and small single family homes in Warrenton and Fauquier. But, it is almost a certainty that Mr. Schied does not view things this way.
No, not when he and others on estates and farms are obtaining public tax relieve, the result of which falls on others to pick up. And if there is a “saving” for current and future generations, can those same citizens access all of the conservation easements for hiking, biking, camping and other activities? If the answer is no; why not? He stated it is for future generations; so when will they enjoy it? There is that phrase again, “the Gimme Society”. And, Mr. Schied and others as willing takers of manipulated tax policy seem to be right there in the “Gimme” line. Oh, but for “Alice through the Looking Glass”. Mr. Schied’s gaze into the foggy mirror reveals that he indeed is a great user and taker of the “Gimme Society”. How much more blissful can hypocrisy be?
Brad Crockett Oakton