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Why not try a balanced approach?

Published: Thu, February 28, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

Why not try a balanced approach?

When I was a boy and my family had money problems, my dad and mom did two things. They cut spending and my dad went out to get a second and sometimes even a third job. (This was in the days before both parents commonly worked out of the home.) Dad wasn’t crazy about working two or three jobs and being away from his family longer, but he did it because he knew it had to be done. In governmental terms, my parents made budget cuts and brought in new revenue. This is something every working family has long known, but members of Congress don’t seem to understand the concept of doing both things when faced with a money shortage.

This Friday, unless Congress takes action to stop it from happening, huge indiscriminate budget cuts will go into effect, putting many people across Ohio and across the country out of work. With this in mind, a few days ago I wrote to U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-6th, telling him the federal contractor I work for already has notified me and 11 other people locally that we will be losing our jobs. At my age (too young to retire and too old to be hired), I now face the very real prospect of being unemployed or, at best, underemployed for the rest of my life. Another man at my office is in the same position, while still another has three children with a baby on the way. Multiply our situation by the number of people statewide and nationally who will be put out of work and you get the human toll being exacted by dysfunctional members of Congress who flatly refuse to put aside partisan politics to stop the slash and burn sequester cuts.

In my letter to Congressman Johnson, I urged both parties in Congress to work together to solve the budget problems we face. In his reply, along with repeating the party mantra of this is all the fault of the president and Congressional Democrats, Mr. Johnson told me, “hard-working families have to live within their means,” just as businesses and governments do. How does he expect hard-working families to live within their means when hardly working members of Congress take those means away from us?

Jay Brookes, New Springfield


1HappyBob(285 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

Very good letter, thanks.
I too am disappointed in our congressmen and particularily Congressman Johnson because he seems to be backing the ideology of his party rather than working toward an agreement, a more balanced approach.

Jay, I understand the sentiment of relating to your childhood and how Mom and Dad worked through tough times. Everyone had to work together. My experience was that the kids had to take a pass on getting new clothes for school and collected bottles or did odd jobs in the neighborhood. Mom took in laundry, Dad took another part-time job.

The point is that we all worked together to solve the problem until times got better.

That's how families get through, that's how the nation needs to get through.

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2Woody2(26 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago


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3redeye1(5107 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

HappyBob and Jay, How come people always want to put the blame on the GOP. What's wrong with placing the blame where it really needs to be, On OBAMMY! He's the one who wanted to pushed this down the road until now. I'm guessing he never thought he;d be re-elected and put on the hot seat. He also probably figured let the next guy worry about it. When your an arsehole who says it's his or no way then there will never be any compromisng He already got his tax increases in January . But i guess that wasn't enough for him, because with all his spending habits. enough is never enough. I'm being to really feel that liberalism is really a mental disease.

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4jojuggie(1607 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

Hey woody, yours is the finest post I have seen on this message board, in years

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5Sensible(118 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

@Hman, I'm not suprized that you would support the sequestration.

BTW, Bill Johnson voted against the Violence Against Women Bill today. Again no shock!

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6Sensible(118 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

I am not implying that Johnson is "against" women. Rather that Johnson should explain why he voted against the Violence reauthorization.

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7doubled(210 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

hman says about our ELECTED PUBLIC OFFICIAL - ".....why does he have to explain himself."

Apparently hman is ok with his elected officials doing whatever they want without any explanation to their constituents as to why they are doing wha tthey are doing in washington. Oh, i forgot, that only applies if hmans eleceted official is a tea bagging do-nothing sack of ----, such as johnson.

God, you people are freaking morons

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8borylie(890 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

If President Obama was a real leader, he'd be solving problems. Instead during every crisis he's out there scaring people with doom and gloom. There's got to be a better way to do things other than blaming others and demagoguery.

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9AnotherAverageCitizen(1176 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

Very nice letter written.

Johnson voted for the sequester..... Boehner voted and PRAISED the sequester.

Republicans Had Praised Sequestration Earlier
In 2011, however, Boehner was among the Republican leaders who expressed support for the Budget Control Act and voted in favor of it. "When you look at this final agreement that we came to with the White House, I got 98 percent of what I wanted," Boehner said in 2011. "I'm pretty happy."

The Budget Control Act including the sequestration cuts passed in the House with 174 Republicans voting in favor, including Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and U.S. Rep. and 2012 vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

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10AnotherAverageCitizen(1176 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

Congress started the new year with an even lower approval rating than it had in 2012.

Congress ended 2012 with a 15 percent average approval rating -- its lowest yearly average in history, according to Gallup. The legislative branch of government began 2013 with a 14 percent approval rating, Gallup found.

A poll earlier this week by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling found that Congress was less liked than genocidal warlord Genghis Khan, cockroaches and rock band Nickelback.

"In the broadest sense, one bit of good news for the new Congress is that its current job approval ratings are so low that they have practically nowhere to go but up," Gallup's Frank Newport said.

The most recent poll, taken a week after the end of fiscal cliff negotiations, is fresh evidence that Americans are unimpressed with how Congress handled the issue.

Republicans bore the brunt of disapproval on the fiscal cliff, facing not only enmity from Democrats, but from their own party.

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11Sensible(118 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago


You say that “maybe there are other things (in the Violence Against Women act) that Johnson could not support”. As a member of his district I have every right to ask him to explain his position. I’ve written and emailed Johnson and called his office on a number of occasions. The reply I get in return is generally non-responsive to specific questions. Asked if he supports the idea of expanding firearms background checks to gun shows, his written response is a canned “I support the Second Amendment”. To my mind that doesn’t answer the question. I wrote and called urging his support for the Violence Against Women act, what I got in response was another invitation to get his newsletter (which I already get).

The reason I’m not surprised at his vote against women is because he doesn’t give a reason, which leads me to believe that his vote is driven by the rest of his republican caucus, rather then his own principles. It is also my sense that the Republican caucus is guided by opposition to Obama. It seems like ‘if Obama is supporting something, anything, then we obliged to oppose..

You asked what was the vote count that created the sequester scenario. 181 republicans and 95 democrats voted yes. 66 republicans and 95 democrats voted no. There can be no question that the republicans enacted the sequester procedure into law.

Back to Jay Brookes, letter. So what is wrong with a balanced approach? The administration offered support for “entitlement cuts” coupled with tax loophole and subsidy reforms in the same package. The counter offer from the Republicans was no, we refuse to work on any tax reforms that might generate additional revenue.

Really, who is kidding who? Both things have to be done. The notion that Congress can’t work on both at the same time is a clear signal that they have no intention to work on closing tax loopholes or reducing the obscene subsidies to the oil industry.

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12jojuggie(1607 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

You conservative, non-politically correct types, that enjoy good county music will enjoy this:


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13Gman(46 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

Well actually Johnson DOES explain himself !!!. You have to send him a letter, call his office, get on a Town Hall Meeting Conference Call or go to a Town Hall Meeting. You can ask him anything and he will explain!!! The problem is, YOU have to push your butt off the couch to get an answer because whining here will get you nothing.

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14Sensible(118 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

Thanks for the advice about my butt - very helpful.
You may have missed it in my comment above but I did say that I actually write to the dear congressman. I did say that I actually call his office, and I actually have been on a couple of his conference calls.

In every case I was dissatisfied with his response and not because he might disagree with my thinking. My dissatisfaction is that he never gives a full and complete answer.

He also has a website and a newsletter. As of a few minutes ago there was nothing on his website about his rejection of the Violence Against Woman Act. It was not discussed at his last town hall.

His position on Gun control is summed up in his own words "None". - Not real informative.

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15Sensible(118 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

Your personal quess about what motivated Democrats is just that a quess. Zero foundation !

Simple fact is that the majority of Republicans voted in favor of the bill. The Democrats did not. The Republicans carried the bill.

The Republican vote enabled passage.

They own it.


The really useful discussion should be on was the sequestration the right thing to, with the right amounts, with the right timing, with the right rules. That's what the original poster was bringing up for discussion.

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16RTS1416(117 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

Whoever owns it, and I would say both parties do, I am glad that someone finally started curbing spending however slight it might be. Atleast it is something. For those who may lose their jobs due to the cuts, I hope lawmakers have the sense to find a way to cut travel allowances or government vehicles rather that terminating peoples employment. Either way it had to start somewhere.

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17Sensible(118 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

I agree with you arguing about whom enacted, or whose idea it was is not productive.
And I have no issues with the idea of starting to reduce spending.
What I do have an issue with is the sequester "rules". Under the sequester rules (which were set out in 1985) huge portions of government spending are excluded.
Because of these exclusions the way that many agencies will have to comply with the law is to lay people off.
The point is that our lawmakers of today did not have to apply the rules of 30 years ago. It might have been hard work but they could have tried to setup the spending reductions so as to minimize the impact on agency employees. That they did not even try to be careful that I find reprehensible. That's what I "blame" them for.

The impact on the Defense spending is particularly galling.

The other thing that I "blame" congress for is that they had almost 18 months to work on avoiding the meat cleaver approach to spending control.

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18RTS1416(117 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

Nice to agree with someone, however I have heard repeatedly from credible news sources ( NPR, Washington Post etc..) that were two pieces of legislation put forth from congress to offer more responsible ways to approach the cuts that were never considered by the senate or the administration. If those statements are true and I would guess that they are, regardless of how unappealing they were they did actually offer something other than the cleaver

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19Sensible(118 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

I will try to find out. Can you give any more clues as to when the House may have voted on these two pieces? Was it before the sequester legislation was passed (in 2011) or after the sequestration legislation (the 16 or so months), or was it last Thursday/friday when there were some sequester "replacement bills" offered.

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20Sensible(118 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

I should have said when the House considered alternatives.
But you get what I mean, just need to look for clues.

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2176Ytown(1318 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

The debt clock now includes the sequester cuts.

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22Sensible(118 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

As I understand it, Obama is in control of the the reductions, however he can only do what the BBEDCA and the ATRA authorizes. To modify those "rules" Congress has to pass legislation.

So can you tell me what the bill # or name was that you referred to (where Obama would have more control) ?

Did the House act on this bill? - or any other sequester modification bills.?

I hear news reports that a number of bills have been placed in the hopper, but the clerks office and the speaker has not assigned them to committee yet - and that this time they do not even have numbers.

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23Woody2(26 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

Bring in more money? Easy, feds just nationalize the gun manufactrs.

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24Sensible(118 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

Hman & RTS
Update: House just passed HR 933. It didn't change the reductions, just rearranged the deck chairs and provided a continuing resolution.

The House bill is 269 pages long and the explaination is 394 pages long. Introduced on the 4th and passed on the 6th.... do you suppose house members really read it?

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