Tag Archives: the Washington Post

All tied up in the 26th?

Seattle native Reid Wilson wrote a blog piece for the Washington Post. Given that it’s aimed at a national audience that hasn’t paid a whole lot of attention to our state’s race, the piece goes over pretty much everything that has been covered here.

Except for one thing.

Reid mentions that both parties are polling and showing the race to be “virtually tied.”

This could be attributed to both parties wanting to make sure none of their faithful stay home. In other words, they could be lying. But I have heard this before in more than one off-the-record conversation.

Angel won by nine points in the primary. After that win I looked at past elections to see if a primary loss that large was insurmountable. Schlicher would need the needle to move five percentage points in his direction to win (because that would also mean the needle was moving five points away from Angel). Tim Probst did it in the 17th District in 2010, turning a six-point primary loss into a six-point general election win. It can happen. It doesn’t happen often, but it can.

The national debt is my debt

“It’s our country. It’s our debt. We are all responsible. We can’t just sit around waiting for government to fix this.” — Scott Soucy | Middletown, Del.

Eli Saslow at the Washington Post has a story about a guy, Scott Soucy, with a proposal to pay down the national debt. He believes each of us, including businesses, can take care of the national debt on our own. The simple explanation is you donate $1 every paycheck and businesses donate $1 for every transaction over $10. Personally, I think the paycheck proposal is easier to swallow than the business one.

There is a group looking to have a place on your tax form you can designate to donate to the debt. Before I found the site, I looked at the 1040 form and there is not a space specifically designated for that. You can give $3 to the presidential campaign fund, but not for the debt. You can send the IRS a separate check with your return if you like, but how many people are actually mailing hard copy tax forms anymore?

If you want to help pay off the debt, Pay.gov has a page, Gifts to Reduce the Public Debt, where you can donate online.

Obviously, if you’re convinced government has more of a spending problem than an income problem, you might not be motivated to do something like this. However, the fact that it’s voluntary might have some appeal even to fiscal hawks.

There are legion stories about government spending money it doesn’t have, the most glaring example being our entering a war we that didn’t cost us a single extra tax nickel now. It was the first time we ever did that. We got into debt for other wars, but we at least paid for some of each with additional taxes.

Complaining about that, though, has yet to do anything to solve the debt trouble we are in. At least Soucy is seeing the problem as his own. I think there is probably much to fault in his specific plan, but he is not waiting around for someone else to come up with a better idea. He’s taking on the challenge now and encouraging others to do the same. If 220 million other people felt that same level of accountability we might actually solve the problem.

It may come down to 220 million people like me realizing that however little blame I am willing to accept for the overall problem, I benefit from federal spending any time I cross the Manette Bridge.

According to CNN people donated nearly $8 million to pay down the debt in fiscal 2012, more than double the donations from earlier years. It’s a groundswell, but it’s far from 220 million. No wonder, then, there is little movement in solving the fiscal cliff issue. American leaders are taking their cues from us. Almost everyone involved is waiting for someone else to budge.

Talking about real money in Congress

Over in the righthand column we now have a widget that offers you the latest from PolitiFact.com’s Truth-O-Meter.

Some truth-o-metrics played a role in preparing the story for this weekend that discussed possible local impacts of federal budget cuts. One of the questions I ran across is how much cutting is really going on. That started with the Washington Post The Fact Checker blog piece titled
Democrats keep misleading on claimed budget ‘cuts.'”
The entry makes clear that Democrats are not meeting Republicans halfway on budget cuts by offering $52 billion in cuts compared to Republicans’ $100 billion.

For one thing, the $100 billion figure Republicans are using, such as in the quote I included from U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, is not correct either. For reasons I’m not sure I can adequately explain, the Republican cuts are actually about $61 billion and Democrats are closer to $10 billion.

If you’re into math, you know that 10 is not really close to half of 61 and that 61 is not 100. As a story in today’s Post explains, though, that’s less of an issue than the fact that Republicans and Democrats are about $50 billion apart.

In preparing the story I wrote I did my darndest to get a Republican voice in the story to respond to the comments by union guy Ivan Weich. I wanted a voice from Congress to match the comments from Norm Dicks’ spokesman. I first called Herrera Beutler and got no response. I talked to someone in Dave Reichert’s office who said he’d try to get someone, but that was the end of it. I then called the offices of Doc Hastings, Cathy McMorris Rodgers and the Republican National Committee. No luck at any of those places.

I was disappointed, but in the end I wasn’t surprised. We are, after all, JUST the Kitsap Sun. None of those representatives have voters in our districts so it benefits them nothing to call us. They might have made an exception for the papers from Seattle, Tacoma or Spokane, but that’s probably it. I can’t say I blame them, and they are all probably just as happy that I pulled quotes from their press releases rather than getting a specific answer about potential closures at local Social Security Administration offices. There might be a philosophical upside to calling us back, but not one that translates into stronger re-election chances in 2012.