Thursday, July 28, 2011


An Open Letter to Congress

Dear Congress,

As you know, I spend a disheartening amount of my time benchmarking, quantifying, and planning initiatives with measurable outcomes, in the name of accountability for my stewardship of public funds. It’s not how I would have chosen to do my job, but I understand that there’s an irreducible element of public trust that should not be violated. As long as people are required to pay taxes to support the college -- even granting the precipitous decline in taxpayer support over the last several years -- it’s only fair that those of us who manage budgets are held accountable.

I get that. And while I grumble about “metrics” and “value added” and whatnot, I get the concept; with public money comes public responsibility. Okey-dokey.

So in the spirit of “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander,” I have a measurable outcome to propose for you. Since you guys control much larger budgets than I ever will, almost all of it from taxes, it’s only fair that you have goals, too. So here’s one.

How about if you STOP PLAYING CHICKEN WITH THE FULL FAITH AND CREDIT OF THE UNITED STATES AND RISKING TOTAL ECONOMIC COLLAPSE. Fair being fair, in return, I will gladly redouble my efforts to ensure that students graduate with employable skills ASSUMING THAT THERE’S STILL AN ECONOMY WORTH TALKING ABOUT AFTER YOU JEOPARDIZE OUR STANDING AS THE WORLD’S RESERVE CURRENCY AND WIND UP GETTING OUR DEBTS DENOMINATED IN EUROS OR YUAN. For the love of all that is holy and good, it is not “fiscal responsibility” to blow the national credit rating when WE OWE MORE THAN WE EVER HAVE and higher interest rates would MAKE THE DEBT EVEN BIGGER. So, stop it. Just stop.

You’ll notice that the goal is both specific and measurable. If you need help understanding it, you have no business representing the people of the United States.

Yours in reciprocity,

Dean Dad

Amen. Some of these elected officials -- that stubborn, inflexible minority -- really are poorly educated and badly informed.
What is odd about the whole episode is that the revenue gap is driven (at least partially) by a series of large tax cuts. This congress voted to extend them as a way of stimulating the economy (a very bad way but go figure). If they are worried about the looming debt, why not just reverse that decision and raise taxes back to the levels of the Clinton era?
Where is that "like" button here?
Raise the debt ceiling already, review Keynes, and invest in people. We need jobs!!!

Thank you. Excellent rant. Failure to meet these measurable outcomes before the next evaluation period (election) will trigger cuts in Congressional spending and probable reduction of Congressional employment.
Thank you. I agree. I heard a commentator on the debt ceiling lumping the U.S. economy with Argentina and the Ukraine. How's that?
Nicely put! Hope you don't mind if I cut and paste this one to my Members of Congress. I'll give you credit. :)
Great rant, DD!!!
Worse are the UN-ELECTED officials who are actually arguing that the debt ceiling should not be raised at all. They are either complete idiots, totally ignorant, or actively want to destroy the U.S.

I figure the best way to call their bluff would be for the President to say that he will not sign any short-term debt increase, but rather let it become law 11 days later without his signature.

He can't be blamed for vetoing it, but -- the way I see it -- the Republicans will pass a full extension the minute that Lockheed or Boeing doesn't get a check from the government because military spending has to take a back seat to running the air traffic control system.

(Some IHE commenters yesterday were under similar delusions that Pell Grants were more important than air traffic control or Medicaid for people in hospitals or nursing homes.)

The down side is that we would probably go back into another depression, but the Idiocracy doesn't seem to realize just what it means to cut all "discretionary" spending. Maybe we need to stick their nose in it for them to learn the nature of reality.

On the safer side, the President could announce the NON-payment schedule after default hits, simply as a matter of prudent planning. The current focus on what could be paid is not very effective.
Welcome to California politics - where a minority has been able to squash any increase in taxes for the last 15 years. Seriously - we tossed aside a governor over a increase in vehicle registration that would have cost the average person $70 a year. It's grim.
There may be less here than meets the eye:

Nevertheless, it's time to start over with an all new Congress.
Dear DD:

The President is black, so we're blowin' the whole thing up.

Teabagger Congress
A-men! This is a prime example of "stupid kills." The US Congress has become but a mere updated version of the USSR's Politburo during the Breznev (s?) era. Ideology is far, far more important than data.
Awesome. Thank you.
I couldn't have said it better.
That is just perfectly written! Some of the officials are uneducated & even the smart ones behave like badly informed individuals.
Well said. This letter deserves to be widely publicized and needs to be read by every member of Congress.

One quibble: "Full Faith and Credit" refers to the doctrinal respect that courts accord one another, not to the federal government's debt and credit.
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