Dear Senator Murray,
On Wednesday 12/2 at 12:20 or so, I received an automated phone call from you, inviting me to "a telephone town hall meeting that's going on right now."
Since this is the 21st Century, I will - if you don't mind - express my concerns via e-mail rather than spending my life on 'telephone hold'.
As your constituent, I have two overwhelming concerns:
1. Health Care: I do not want nationalized, government-controlled health care. I'm not alone - a recent ABC News/USA Today/Kaiser Family Foundation survey showed that 89 percent of Americans are satisfied with their health care. I do not want my health care dollars spent on free care for illegal immigrants, prisoners and spendthrift deadbeats - almost 4 out of 10 uninsured Americans live in households making more than $50,000 per year. I don't want taxpayer-funded abortions. And I don't want Blue Cross to be forced out of the Medicare Advantage business.
Senator, if you want to improve health care, let's drop the laws and regulations that keep insurers from competing across state lines. Make individual plans tax-deductible, just like employer plans. Stop tying health insurance to employment and we'll end much of the fuss about losing coverage when changing jobs. Make health coverage job-portable the way retirement plans now are.
Then get some serious tort reform legislation passed. Tort reform should include hard caps on pain-and-suffering awards, as well as a board of lawyers and doctors to review potential cases. 'Loser Pays' legislation would probably eliminate 95% of all medical malpractice lawsuits.
The onerous health care plan proposed by Congress will increase the burden on employers and will destroy any effective job creation. That's very bad and that brings me to my second concern:
2. The Economy: The announcement of 10.2% national unemployment rate for October - a 26-year high - was distressing. It is 40% higher than the Obama administration's projections based on their stimulus plan. Clark County Washington is much worse at 13.7%. Unemployment in the area's building trades is estimated to be in the 30-35% range.
Please stop spending so much money, Senator: The federal government kicked off fiscal year 2010 by posting its widest-ever October budget deficit. The $176.36 billion gap is more than $20 billion wider than the shortfall recorded in October 2008, driven up by lower tax receipts, stimulus-related revenue reductions and consistently high government outlays.
During the month, the government racked up $311 billion in outlays compared with $135 billion in receipts. It is spending an astonishing 2.3 times what it earns. At the equivalent of 9.9% of gross domestic product, the latest figure is the widest U.S. deficit as a share of GDP since 1945.
I believe in a balanced budget and ask you to vote for a freeze in government spending until that goal is realized. Let's make the U.S. fiscally solvent again.
Thank you for your time.
Joseph M. Sherlock