Monday, September 15, 2008

McCracken for Congress -- Turning Around This Country Will Require Tough Choices and Leaders Who Have the Courage to Make Them -- September 14th, 2008

This past Friday morning in Venango County all 3 candidates for the 5th Congressional District appeared at the Venango County Chamber of Commerce Breakfast Candidate Forum. During this event, the issue of fiscal responsibility, the $482 billion budget deficit and the $9.7 trillion federal debt came up several times. Fiscal responsibility is perhaps the single issue that clearly defines the difference between me and my opponents in this campaign.

Since day one of my candidacy I've stressed that we must bring the federal budget back in balance, return to growing a surplus and make the long term commitment to paying down our debt to foreign countries. My Republican opponent stated again on Friday that he supports extending the Bush tax cuts. Contrary to what he says, I continue to believe the first step to return to fiscal responsibility is to allow the Bush tax cuts to expire. Below is a chart from the Congressional Budget Office that shows the negative impact the Bush tax cuts had on the federal budget along with projections of what will happen when they expire.

Be advised, the chart above was released in January of 08, months before the Bush administration themselves announced a record deficit of $482 billion when they leave office in January of 09. The chart above actually had a more optimistic projection of a deficit of around $220 billion for 08/09.

While John McCain and many Republicans running for Congress continue to support the idea of "trickle down" economics, there is no proof that this type of fiscal policy will succeed, especially with the unstable condition the nation's economy is in. Consider that banks are failing, the housing bubble has burst, the mortgage / foreclosure crisis, the bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the American auto industry is seeking federal loan guarantees along with and other economic indicators that show the US economy in turmoil. There are too many problems that require financial intervention from the federal government at a time when our federal government is in it's fiscally weakest condition ever.

I continually point to the fact of how well off the economy was in the late 90's when we were showing fiscal responsibility with a balanced budget, a growing surplus and a decreasing debt load. Then, George W. Bush took office on January 20th, 2001 with a record budget surplus and he, along with the Republican controlled Congress, chose to halt fiscally responsible policy for the quick gratification of a tax cut that mostly benefited the wealthiest 5% of the citizens. Even more problematic was when President Bush made the decision to begin the Iraq war, he failed to adjust his fiscal policies to pay for it.

We must recognize that the fiscal mess, while blame lies directly with George W. Bush and Congress, is our nation's #1 problem and it must be dealt with before we can move forward on solving other domestic problems. In order to fix this problem, it is going to take sacrifice on the part of everyone. Unfortunately, it is the people at the top who benefited the most from the Bush tax cuts that cry out "they want to take away MY TAX CUT". These same people must be reminded that while they benefited from the Bush tax cuts, it is now "our deficit and our debt" regardless of who the politicians were that made the irresponsible decisions to get us in this hole. If we were to assign a moral to the story of the George W. Bush presidency, it would be reasonable to say "The Rich Got Richer, The Poor Got Poorer and the Middle Class Had To Pay For It".

While members of the next Congress will have tough choices to make on how to deal with this fiscal mess, voters will first have to make their own tough choice on November 4th. Before you vote on November 4th ask yourself this - Do you want to solve this problem now or have it grow larger and pass it on to your children and grandchildren? Make no mistake -- The Bill Must Be Paid at some point. Voters need to look at this issue in this context: If you were running a business that was having financial problems and you had the choice to hire a person that identified why your business was failing and how to fix it VERSUS a person who was in denial that the problem exists and fails to recognize what caused the problem -- which person would you hire to solve this problem?

I am the only candidate on the ballot in the 5th Congressional District who recognizes the problem and will commit to making the tough / responsible choices to solve this problem that will ultimately secure a better future for our children and grandchildren. It won't be easy, but we were on the right track in the 90's and we can get back there again.

Here is a link to a story about the 5th District race that is on

Highlights From The Past Week:

Last Sunday, Kelly, Amanda and I had a wonderful time attending the Democratic picnics in Clinton and Lycoming Counties. On Tuesday, I invited Art Goldschmidt of State College to travel with me to Tioga County to attend the opening of the Tioga County Obama / Democratic Headquarters. Wednesday we were in St. Marys attending a labor rally for both myself and State Rep. Dan Surra that was organized by various labor unions. Special thanks to the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO for providing the Billy Bus for an appearance at the rally in St. Marys. Friday was the aforementioned Venango County Chamber Candidate Forum. In the evening on Friday I attended the 50th Anniversary of the Brady Township Fire Company in Luthersburg, Clearfield County.

Saturday, Henry Guthrie and I spent the day in Warren County attending the opening of the Obama / Democratic Headquarters in Warren and later in the day we attended the Warren County Democratic Committee Steak Dinner. Below are some pictures from the events in Warren County.

Warren County Obama HQ Opening Pictures:

Warren County Democratic Committee Steak Dinner:

Schedule for the Upcoming Week:

Sunday -- Mike Hanna Event in Moshannon PA -- 3 PM

Tuesday -- Visit to Clarion County Democratic HQ -- Meeting with Clarion / Venango County Supporters -- 7 PM

Wednesday -- Moshannon Valley EDC Candidate Breakfast Forum -- 8 PM Philipsburg Country Club, Centre County Realtors Lunch -- State College -- Noon / Elk County Democratic Meeting -- 7 PM

Thursday -- DuBois Chamber of Commerce Legislative Day -- DuBois Country Club -- 5 PM

Friday -- Venango County Chamber of Commerce Breakfast Candidate Forum -- Franklin PA -- 7:30 AM, Brady Township in Clearfield County VFD 50th Anniversary Dinner -- 6 PM

Saturday -- Festival in Johnsonburg -- Elk County / Elk Expo -- Kersey / Sykesville Gun Raffle -- 5:30 PM

Sunday -- Union Twp Fire Co. 50th Annv. Celebration / Truck Show -- Rockton PA

IMPORTANT - Keith Bierly is still signing up people to participate in the "We're Backin McCracken Golf Outing" on Monday September 22nd beginning at 8 AM at the Belles Springs Golf Course - Clinton County. Please contact Keith at

REMINDER -- Keep talking with people about the 5,000 Friends to Flip the Fifth project. We can win the 5th District Congressional District for the first time in 32 years but we need to be organizing our forces heading into the final weeks. While it's my name that will be on the ballot on November 4th, this victory will be for all the hard working people of the 5th Congressional District.

Mark B. McCracken
Your Candidate for Congress

No comments: