Open Letter to Congress: Common Sense Needed Now More than Ever

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Elections 2012
Illustration by Emily Metcalf

REPORT FROM TAXPAYERS FOR COMMON SENSE – More than $6 billion and thousands of campaign commercials later, the dust has finally settled on the 2012 elections. The voters have spoken. And they sent the same teams (with a few new players) back to Washington to fix the mess they couldn’t fix for the last two years. We have a Democratic Senate majority (again). And a Republican House majority (again). And President Obama was re-elected. It’s déjà vu all over again.

But this time has to be different. This isn’t 2008 where a Democratic congressional majority worked with a newly elected Democratic President claiming a mandate. This isn’t 2010 when a surging Republican majority saw their victory as a repudiation of 2008. The 2012 elections sent a group back that is a little more battered, bruised, and hopefully wiser.


The nation needs the new Congress to work. There is too much at stake. In the waning days of the 112th Congress, lawmakers are likely going to punt on the big fiscal cliff decisions, leaving it up to the new guys in January. But that’s when the punting has to stop. The can has been kicked to the end of the road. The country needs the policymakers to grow up and work together.

That’s where Taxpayers for Common Sense comes in. At seventeen years old, we may be just a teenager, but we’re the smart nerdy types. When we find a problem, we come up with a solution. It may not always be popular, it may be hard to swallow politically, but it’s right. We’ve been called the “hyphen” in left-right coalitions. We don’t care if you’re liberal or conservative, Republican or Democrat or Independent, we’re ready to work with you if you’re ready to work to cut waste and get the American taxpayer what they deserve – a responsible federal government that lives within its means.

For example, Congress created a “Super Committee” to come up with $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction. In our “Super Cuts for the Super Committee” report we gave them $1.5 trillion. Now with $1.2 trillion in sequestration – across-the-board cuts – looming after the Super Committee’s failure, we just gave policymakers $2 trillion in deficit reduction. And that was even without touching entitlements or fundamental tax reforms. But don’t worry, we’re not done yet. When you’re ready to listen, we’ve got common sense solutions for spending, tax, and entitlement reforms in the days and weeks to come.

With all the din and complexities surrounding these issues, Taxpayers for Common Sense’s ability to cut through the crap and tell the straight story is essential. While every D.C. special interest will be out there trying to protect their piece of the pie, as a voice for taxpayers, we’ll be out there demanding that Congress eliminate the parochial tax breaks and spending provisions.

Over the next two years, in addition to the major debates about tax reform, budgets, and entitlements, there will also be a fight over a $1 trillion farm bill,water projectsenergy subsidiesearmarks (again!), defense spending,transportation spending, and the role and scope of government.

The American taxpayer deserves no less than your best effort to come up with common sense, bi-partisan solutions to our nation’s fiscal problems. It’s time to grow up and speak hard fiscal truths to not just ordinary taxpayers but to the special interests that walk the corridors of power and line your campaign coffers. We’re here Congress, and you can be sure that Taxpayers for Common Sense will be in the thick of it fighting for taxpayers.