10th District Townhall Meeting

I attended Congressman Robert Dold’s Townhall Meeting, which was a first for me. I was one of the youngest people in the room–by far. Dold began with a presentation on budget issues, debt and energy policy. Some of his data was quite spurious, e.g. budget projections that in 2081 national debt would be 300% of GDP.

Right. Talk about a worse case scenario. The data was so slanted and meaningless. It depended on this same budget being approved every year and all the worst economic decisions and conditions. Don’t think so, Rep. Cassandra. (France, Italy, Germany and Japan all have higher debt ratios and sometimes debt makes sense, i.e. in a recession.)

A lot of this is “Starve the Beast” thinking used to weaken government and as a byproduct allow corporations to run wild. Clearly, some of the folks at the meeting wanted that. Some urged doing away with the EPA and the federal reserve altogether.

By starving the government, it’s easy to create an ineffective government which in turn allows Republicans to say, “Look at how inefficient the government is. We told you. So let’s make give it even less resources.” See the vicious circle? Round and round it goes and before you know it we’re back in Sinclair’s Jungle.

Dold did show us that while people often think that we should cut foreign aid that it’s such a small percent (less than 1% of US spending) that it wouldn’t make a significant difference. Well, some in the audience insisted that that’s where we should cut.

I was gladdened to hear one progressive woman say that we 10th District residents should be urged to curb our use of energy. Her family consists of three engineers and they’d adopted several energy-saving measures. We are an affluent area and such change would work to the common good. Some of the changes were simply using different light bulbs and such minor fixes.

But for the most part the crowd was very Republican and pro-business.

I did think Dold spoke reasonably, even when he was dealing with some right wing types who want complete state’s rights and all the inherent inefficiencies they offer. You could tell he was new at all this so he wasn’t completely up to speed on everything.

A few people got feisty, but no one was out of control or Howard Beal-ish.