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Legislators Have Led Us To A Perilous Crossroads

To the Editor:

After decades of mismanagement, many legislators (national, state and municipal) have forced us down the perilous road to governmental and economic chaos.

Legislators campaign on platforms of honesty, integrity, transparency, will of the electorate, reaching across the aisle, etc., but those virtues appear to change once they are elected.  The focus becomes power, self-interest, special interests, cronyism, and sometimes immoral conduct, fraud and corruption. We hear of laws that have not been well researched and assumptions that do not fully project the ramifications for future generations.  We hear bills may not have been fully read before a vote – or costly, unrelated additions are attached to them. New bills may not be based on the will of constituents.

Politics has become a dirty word for many Americans.  I am not a poll follower but cannot ignore Gallup showing a 13 percent approval rating for Congress (read 87 percent disapproval). If this were a performance appraisal it should necessitate instantly firing Congress.  If it were a report card they should be sent back to kindergarten to be educated anew.

The budget mess we find forced upon us is due to years of fiscal ignorance, lack of foresight and negligible oversight. For years, the legislature has exempted government from laws that affect private businesses, e.g., unfunded/underfunded pension liabilities. Now a staggering debt in the trillions of dollars has been accumulated by all three levels of government that must be paid out but for which there is little reserve. Future government retiree medical payments are another major unfunded liability.  The legislators look at these liabilities every year and almost totally ignore them. Now, they have become almost insurmountable problems. And, no needed reforms are in sight.  These are only two “cans being kicked down the road.”  The time to deal responsibly with them has long passed – they are now at crisis stage. What will it take to get action?  The next election will decide their fate.

The legislators are also failing us in the quest for stricter universal gun controls to protect our families.  They are divided along party lines and by special interest groups. Where is the will of the voters…the voice of the people?  The last I heard, we are still a democracy. Polls show more than half of Americans favor stricter gun control including banning assault rifles. Mandatory background checks reach up to 90 percent in favor.  Where are our legislators?  Some are leading on these issues, but many are worried about party politics, pleasing special interests, and getting reelected.  These need to be constituent and conscience issues.  How can anyone play politics with them?  Shame on you if you do!

As a concerned American, I implore our legislators to address all of our critical problems immediately and responsibly.  Be courageous – exercise your intellect and common sense and hear the voters’ voices. Adjust your moral compass and bring back the America we all knew and loved.  Only then will you deserve the privilege of being called our legislators!

Joseph E. Kelly

103 Taunton Hill Road, Newtown                               March 18, 2013

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