Office of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer
112 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D. C. 20510
October 29, 2010
Honorable Senator Boxer:
I am writing to vent my frustrations, of course. Why else does anyone write to a member of Congress? I am also including a few suggestions to clean up the political election process. What a mess this mid-term election has been. The lies, distortion, deception, half-truths and scams we've had to listen to and that a mind-boggling $4.2 Billion dollars spent during this election is deplorable. How did we get here? I would like to hear Chief Justice Robert's opinion now about the Supreme Court's Citizen United decision. Do you think he would have a clue about how bad that decision was? Frankly, I doubt it. Even those touted to be the most intelligent legal minds we have in America appear to be idiots. Do something about that disastrous Supreme Court decision.
I have already voted – by mail. I voted for you. I presume it will be counted, but with all of the corruption in this election, I, for the first time in my life, have my doubts about that. I don't know who is honest and who isn't any more. I also have to tell you that my vote was only to keep the Democrats in power in the Senate and not because of anything the Democrats have accomplished in the past two years. In this election I can truly say that handing over the Senate to Republican obstructionist would be a disaster. A disaster, I'll add, that would be even worse than the financial disaster those very same Republicans caused. We would literally be handing over our government to corporate special interests. Of course, nobody knows which Senator or Representative, Democrat or Republican or Independent, is taking more from the super PACs, Chamber of Commerce or Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS, so I may have voted for you and you may have the greatest debt to special interest for a quid pro quo vote that I find offensive. Who knows except you and your campaign manager, Senator Feinstein? I hope she reads this letter too, because she is just as susceptible to lobbyist and big money as you are. In fact, I hope you pass this letter around – including Republicans – because I don't see a single Senator who has a clue about what “the people” really want or need – even when Mitch McConnell spouts off about “the people” with every other word. If anyone is more clueless than spineless Democrats, it's Mitch McConnell. It should be glaringly clear that corruption in politics and truth and honesty in elections trumps all other important issues in this country, even unemployment and climate change. I never thought that I would live to see the day where so many nuts (Tea Party, if you like) are candidates for offices in our U. S. Congress and that our very democracy and Constitution is threatened by corruption. How do we fix a broken country when every member of Congress is corrupt? It can't be done.
That brings me to my first point, the most important issue in this country as far as I'm concerned, and that is to once and for all make political elections and the actions of members of Congress transparent. I'm talking about the whole spectrum of politics, from your votes on bills and why you voted the way you did, who you get money from, the lobbyist you talk to, the super PACs and PACs you receive money from, a cross reference from those who give you money to the bills you vote on and to your beliefs and ideology. With all of the capability of the Internet, I find it odd that Congressional behavior is still secret or so hard to pin down that it spins one's head. As far as I'm concerned, transparency in politics should be law of the land all the way down to the lowest electable office in a local community, the county clerk. If you think that's impossible, then think again. If Google can create a world-wide search engine that finds literally anything and everything anywhere, including a picture of your house, tracking the money to and actions of elected officials is a piece of cake. The other odd thing about this country's attempts to create a transparent political process is that all non-partisan organizations are non-profit organizations that depend solely on donations. Why is it that “we,” “the people” must donate hard earned dollars for a transparent process? How long does an organization that depends on charity last? Only as long as there is public interest. That's bizarre! OpenCongress.org is a perfect example. It is desperately needed, yet we must voluntarily pay for it. Why isn't it, or something like it, paid for by Congress? Why isn't a project like that, searchable, cross referenced, an easy user friendly system, already up and running in the Library of Congress? It's certainly not because there is a lack of skills and capability in this country, so, do it.
I need to explain why I voted for you, but to do that, I need to explain why I didn't vote for your opponent. The reason I didn't vote for Carly Fiorina is the ideological rut that she's stuck in, the same ideology that has been sold as a bill of goods to us for the past 30 or 40 years and that ultimately caused our economic meltdown. She is a typical free, unleashed market capitalist who could care less about the serfs and peasants she hires and fires. Do I need any other proof than the thousands of jobs she sent overseas? Your campaign ad is correct about that. Ironically, all of us were sold the idea that capitalism was the great equalizer, the answer to economic equality the world over, that those overseas employers would eventually raise their standard of living to ours and all would be hunky-dory. It didn't happen and it never will. There is no utopia after all. But, do you get it? Do you understand what unleashed capitalism (Republican capitalism) has done to this country? Twice in the past one hundred years! You would think we would remember the history of only 80 years ago, but we didn't. Will we ever learn?
Here's what happened. Starting about 30 years ago in the 1970s the average wage of the middle class began to level out and decrease year after year. Only a few days ago a report was released that said, once again, that the average wage in America decreased again, to $505 per week. In all that time productivity has gone up; women started working, technology improved, automation improved, all to make the average worker super-productive – and super-profitable for companies. Hewlette Packard, for example, Carly's old company, earns $406,000 per employee according to the latest data on TD Ameritrade. As of last year, it had 304,000 employees world-wide and, even though its US employees average around $84,000, the huge number of its overseas employees more than likely bring the overall average HP wage down to $500 or less per week, $26,000 per year. So, HP made $380,000 profit per employee last year, some of which went directly into HP CEO's pocket just like it did in Fiorina's day. The real problem is that for the long term Hewlette Packard is doomed, along with all other companies doing the same thing, because nobody earning $500 a week can afford their laptops. The only way those wage earners, the consumer, can buy a laptop is to buy it on credit. And, we already know how far credit goes. Not very far. There is a limit, and then the economy crashes – we saw it happen. Meanwhile, all of that profit transferred to the rich and the banks who suddenly found themselves with so much cash that they devised even more complex schemes to make even more money, such as Credit Default Swaps that insure the risk. With wages down and deeply in debt, the consumer has nothing left to keep the economy running. By sending those jobs overseas, Carly Fiorina put a nail in America's coffin as sure as an invading army could have done. That's why I didn't vote for her.
What to do? The only thing left to do if you really want to get the economy going again, and the government out of debt, and America going again is to realign the tax burden to redistribute the wealth back to the middle class. Less taxes for the middle class and higher taxes for the rich and corporations. You will need also to, somehow, start bringing up the average wage to a level relative to productivity. You really have no choice in this. There are a whole host of social problems that have and will continue to occur if you don't, including declining education standards, increase in welfare, increase in healthcare costs, diseases, ignorance and all that goes with that. Do I need to explain everything? It is a national security problem that threatens the foundation of America. Anger, frustration, insurrection, violence are only the beginning. You're going to catch a lot of flack for this idea. It is a socialist idea. But, it turns out, that capitalism is just as dangerous as socialism or Marxism when taken to extremes . It should be obvious to even the man on the street that a little moderation in the use of both economic systems will work a lot better than the extremes of either. In fact, no government exists for long using one or the other system alone. When our consumers can afford the products companies produce without relying heavily on credit, this country will be restored and the American Dream will be restored. You have to do it. CEOs of corporations should support this idea, too. That's what they do; they sell stuff to consumers.
I should mention that Carly Fiorina also has a different idea about what the American Dream is. She believes that “the Dream” is all about becoming someone like her; getting to the top, filthy rich and all powerful. But, that never was the American Dream. That Dream was only that an average person could be employed, make a livable wage, have a family and enough money to educate its children and own a home and the amenities that go with that. That's it. Fiorina spoiled that for thousands of her employees as most other corporations did when they refused to find other ways to become more efficient. They took the easy way out and hurt America by doing it.
In any event, I appreciate the opportunity to vent my frustrations with Democratic leadership and the Party of “No.” I hope you take the opportunity of your reelection to actually get something done this time and stop trying to compromise with Republicans. You failed miserably by not passing a public healthcare option because of so-called compromise. They have repeatedly obstructed your efforts and they've already said they're not going to compromise, so take them at their word – don't even try. And, stop the nonsense of the two-thirds vote and filibuster and for God's sake get a Senate President with some balls. Maybe that's Senator Schumer if you retain the majority in the Senate. If not, then stonewall the Republicans. They have no good ideas.
cc: Carly Fiorina