Five Critical Questions for our Lawmakers by Gregory Hilton

Our nation now has a $1.7 billion deficit, new taxes on energy are pending and there are many concerns regarding a public option health care program. Here are some critical questions for our lawmakers:
1. When Democratic leaders passed the stimulus bill, they indicated it would result in holding the national unemployment rate under 8 percent. In reality, the unemployment rate soared to a 26-year high of 9.7 percent and since January, 2.84 million Americans have lost their jobs. When will the stimulus actually start working?
2. The budget deficit will approach a historic $.7 trillion this year and is estimated to be $1 trillion a year for the next 10 years. Policies under discussion now would increase the top tax rate to nearly 40 percent and implement an additional surcharge of 5.4 percent that would fall primarily on small business owners to pay for health care. The top tax rate in America would be higher than that in every country except Denmark, Sweden and Belgium — a harsh penalty on investment, risk taking and business development and a recipe for more job loss. Given that the backbone of our economy is small business, how do you support this soaring deficit and increased taxes?
3. With nearly 3 million Americans out of work in the last six months alone, why are we even considering global warming legislation? India and China have promised not to participate in any effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which means accelerating the export of even more American jobs to those countries. A study by the Heritage Foundation estimates global warming legislation will lead to more than 1 million lost jobs per year and cost the average family nearly $3,000 annually. How does this get the middle class back on their feet?
4: The House global warming bill requires an energy audit for older homes, and those that fail must make expensive upgrades before the home could be sold. This will be another major economic challenge on top of already declining real estate values.
5. Supporters of health care reform efforts have said the legislation will allow Americans to choose their doctors, it will not increase the deficit and will not undermine the care that seniors currently receive. Yet the legislation being prepared for votes in the House in September would cause almost 85 million Americans to lose their current private insurance according to studies cited by the Heritage Foundation, will increase the budget deficit by $239 billion according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, will raise taxes on many Americans, including those making less than $250,000 and will eliminate Medicare Advantage, which 22 percent of seniors depend upon for their current health care. If this plan is so good for Americans, then why are our lawmakers exempted?

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