This evening I was browsing through some things I'd written at my old website, and had one of those “déjà vu all over again” moments. I found the letter I'd written to the Concord Coalition six years ago; a blast from the past I had all but forgotten. It was my response to one of their fund-raising letters. They’d asked me for twenty-five bucks (or more), and I responded by asking them for answers to two simple questions.
Guess what: I’m still waiting for their response. Guess what else: I'm not holding my breath.
Do you think posting it here will light a fire under them? A lot has happened since 1999. Armed with 20-20 hindsight, they could presumably script a profound, airtight response.
Anyway, here’s the letter I wrote six years ago...
To: Senator Warren B. Rudman, Concord Coalition
From: Steve Conover, Sr.
Date: January 25, 1999
Thank you for the personal letter you sent me requesting a renewal gift of $25.00 or more to the Concord Coalition. I received your letter today, have read it carefully, and have two questions I'd like to pose before I decide whether to send a renewal gift.
Past Concord Coalition literature has expressed a desire for "open, honest debate." In that spirit, I attempted more than once in late 1998 to get honest answers to a few questions about Concord's basic position - questions that would help me clarify in my own mind some reservations I have regarding Concord's philosophy.
At first, I thought I could get open, honest answers from Concord's Communications Director, Mr. Craig Cheslog - who else, if not the Communications Director? However, I was disappointed that Mr. Cheslog ignored my questions, and ignored my followup request for a response, in November and December of 1998.
Consequently, I will respectfully pose these questions to you, Senator Rudman. If these two questions have logical answers which support Concord's basic philosophy, I will modify my opinions accordingly.
Concord's position seems to be that "growing debt is undesirable, because it represents a growing burden on our children." That leads to the first of my two questions:
1. If the USA's Gross Domestic Product grew at a slightly faster rate than the federal debt grew, year in and year out, would the USA's fiscal health be getting worse because of the increasing debt, or would it be getting better because of the improving debt-to-GDP ratio?
Next, I presume you are aware of the precipitous decline in defense spending during the Clinton administration. This condition alarms me greatly, because a strong defense deters war, while a deteriorating defense invites misadventure by foreign rivals. Moreover, a Balanced Budget Amendment, which Concord advocates, would forbid borrowing except in cases of national emergency. That wording puzzles me, and leads to my second question:
2. Why should it be permissible for the government to borrow money to win a war - yet impermissible to borrow money beforehand, to prevent that war from starting?
Thank you, Senator Rudman, for a small slice of your valuable time. I would also welcome your opinion of my website, if you have some time to take a look.
Steve Conover, Sr.