Monday, February 11, 2008

Dear Patty Murray,

Dear Senator Murray,

While I appreciate the fact that both Bush and Congress are in a state of panic about the Republican Great Depression that is coming, I do not appreciate the fact that this Congress continues to refuse to stand up to poor budget decisions. On the one hand, your email report sent today talks about how bad the Bush Budget is for our country, because of the way that it continues to degrade the infrastructure of our country. That infrastructure, which our government is tasked to maintain, includes physical, social, economic and legal aspects. Our financial/economic infrastructure is the responsibility of our Government.

I wrote an email a few weeks ago asking that you include a measure to raise taxes on the highest income earners in order to prevent this stimulus package from putting our country even further in debt. The debt that we carry as a nation, over $9 Trillion now, is the cause of much if not most of our trouble. It is the hole underneath our physical, social and legal foundation that will cause everything that we hold dear to collapse.

I am disappointed that you were unable to push for balancing the budget as part of this stimulus package. I believe that creating a balanced budget will do more to help our economy than $150 Billion dollars could ever hope to do.

Thank you for your service to our state and our country.

Chad Lupkes


Senator Patty Murray said...

Dear Mr. Lupkes:

Thank you for contacting me regarding Congress's economic stimulus plan. I appreciate hearing your thoughts on this important matter.

As you know, the financial markets in the United States have been under considerable strain since the late summer of 2007. Although numerous factors contributed to this situation, a central issue is the rising foreclosure rate of subprime mortgages and the impact those foreclosures have had on the rest of the economy. Because subprime mortgages were often combined with other loans and then sold by their initial lenders to various financial institutions, many investors throughout the private sector now own part of the debt owed by subprime borrowers. As the number of defaults on mortgage loans increased, numerous banks were forced to write off large losses, leading to decreased availability of credit to households and businesses. As a result, home values have declined across the country, leaving many homeowners with less home equity, fewer options for refinancing, and mortgage payments that are beyond their means.

In order to stem further decline, the Congress passed H.R. 5140, the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008, sponsored by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-8). H.R. 5140 contains a package of tax rebates designed to stimulate the economy on a short-term basis. Rebates range between $300 to $600 for individuals and $600 to $1,200 for married taxpayers filing joint returns, and allow additional rebates of $300 for each child of an eligible taxpayer. The definition of "earned income" includes social security retirement benefits and veterans' disability benefits, and therefore senior citizens and disabled veterans are eligible for the rebates. For individuals earning more than $75,000 or joint filers earning more than $150,000, the rebates begin to be phased out. Importantly, the bill prohibits the payment of a rebate to a taxpayer without a valid identification number, such as a social security number, and the rebate will not be considered taxable income for future tax filing purposes. Lastly, the bill directs the Secretary of the Treasury to disburse the rebates as rapidly as possible, and it is expected that rebate checks will be disbursed in May. This bill was signed into law by the President on February 13, 2008.

This rebate package will provide additional liquidity in the economy and give hard-working Americans extra resources during these tight financial times. Although the House of Representatives originally passed a bill which excluded social security retirement and disabled veterans' benefits from being considered "earned income", I fought to ensure that those benefits were included in the bill that passed the Senate so retired seniors and disabled veterans could receive the rebate as well. While I strongly support the short-term benefits this package will provide, we must also address the country's long-term economic needs and create a plan for ensuring a healthy economy in the future. I believe investment in infrastructure, education, and workplace training programs will give Americans the skills necessary to compete in a global economy and build a strong foundation for future economic growth. As the 110th Congress progresses, I will continue my work to strengthen the American economy and will certainly keep your thoughts in mind. If you'd like to know more about my work in the Senate, please sign up on my website to receive my weekly updates at: Thank you for sharing you thoughts, and please don't hesitate to contact me in the future.

I hope all is well in Seattle.

Chad Lupkes said...

(above note pasted from her email response)

Dear Senator,

Thanks once again for completely ignoring my concerns. Please keep doing whatever, since that's about all I can expect...

I'll probably work on your campaign in 2010, unless another Democrat comes along who will actually answer my emails instead of just sending me bulk replies to assumed questions.