Reston has a new Democratic Congressman - Gerry Connolly. If we had to be GERRYmandered, I’m pleased we got a Dem. Still, I will miss Jim Moran, a hard-hitting, courageous progressive. Like Jim, I am hard-core progressive on matters of social and economic policy, tending more to the center on matters of public sector management and budget.
Mr. Connolly and I will likely agree on most public policy matters, but he is dead wrong on some things. There our paths, of course, will diverge.
As the election approaches, I am most troubled by Connolly’s stance on extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy top 2 percent, in opposition to President Obama. Mr. Connolly has been consistent in his willingness to forgo these hundreds of billions of dollars in federal tax revenue, while claiming to be a deficit hawk and wanting to avoid the over-hyped “fiscal cliff."
Republicans are happy to have his support. Imagine having a Democrat with
them, working as hard as they do against basic fairness and a more equitable
America. Make no mistake, saving the top-end tax reductions will be paid for by the usual suspects. Do the math: if the hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue coming from those who will not miss it are lost, how will the fiscal deficit be reduced? Basically, there are only two ways:
1) Shift a disproportionate share of overall taxation (e.g., sales tax) to middle and lower income folks and/or,
2) cut programs that benefit middle and lower income people (e.g., food stamps, Medicaid, education).
Next time you see or write to Mr. Connolly, ask him to do the math for you. How will he make up all those billions? Then ask him to explain the moral math for you as well.
Gerry and I will part in another public policy area, on both strategic and moral grounds. Like Moran, Gerry has a strong interest in foreign policy. They agree mostly, but diverge in the Middle East. Moran courageously stands up for a more even-handed, U.S. interests-driven policy toward the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands in particular, while Congressman Connolly hews closely to AIPAC and Israeli talking points.
It is clear to me that U.S. interests are best served by an equitable settlement of the 45-year occupation, including Israel returning the land and political rights to the Palestinians. The U.S. can and should lead the way to peace and to guaranteeing the long-term security for BOTH parties. Maybe time in Reston will help Gerry see this light!