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National Grange President Calls on Congress to Halt Deficit Increases
 

By Jennifer Dugent, National Grange Press Release

  NOVEMBER 17, 2009 --

National Grange President Ed Luttrell of Sandy, Oregon, in his keynote address to the 143 rd National Grange Convention, called on the U.S. Congress to "halt the increases of the federal deficit and to begin the process to shrink the deficit over the coming years." Addressing an audience of approximately 500 delegates and visitors in the Amway Grand Plaza's Ambassador Ballroom, Luttrell pointed out that the deficit for the year just completed is three times more than the level of the previous annual record and that 28 of every 100 dollars spent in the United States last year was spent by the federal government. "The size of our current and projected national debt as a proportion of our national income defies historical comparisons, even compared to those debts we incurred when our nation fought for four long years to defeat world fascism..." Luttrell stated.

Luttrell claimed that Cap and Trade legislation will add dramatically to U.S. energy costs and that the proposed health care reform bill is estimated to add two trillion dollars to the deficit. "The question each American needs to ask is ‘how much can we afford?' " he continued. Targeting health care reform, Luttrell said that U.S. citizenship does not ensure a wide variety of entitlements and that giving someone something free means taking it from someone else who earned it. He challenged the concept of taxing the wealthy and future generations to pay for new public programs. "When a person becomes more successful, should we require them to pay a higher percentage of their income to support government? Should we punish those who achieve too much success? Should we punish those not yet born or not yet participating in the workforce and who cannot vote for themselves, with a future of higher taxes to pay down the debt we incur for our personal benefit today? How will we define too much government benefit?" he asked.

In his speech, Luttrell characterized today's political environment as one in which "winning for our side," is all that counts and not one in which sober contemplation and debate create consensus. "It appears that many people are becoming less civil and less tolerant of differences, especially political differences," he stated. He talked about communications and media that are not necessarily balanced or accurate. He spoke of the media demonizing America's large companies, often for political purposes, and pointed out how those companies employ thousands and create income for such things as college education and retirement. He accused the same media of often ignoring the ethical breaches of our elected officials and not holding them to a higher standard.

Amidst this polarized political world, Luttrell offered up the Grange as a non-partisan, neutral place where people can discuss issues in a non-adversarial mode. He portrayed the Grange as one of the "few places in American communities that can bring together as diverse a variety of views while striving to keep friendships and personal relationships after the discussion." He pointed out that the Grange does not affiliate with any political party and does not endorse individual candidates for political office. He went on to say that the Grange is not afraid of getting into the big issues and often, due to its non-partisanship, bucks the prevailing trend. He even referenced former Grange member Robert Frost's "The Road Less Traveled." "We often walk a lonely path with our non-partisan principal, a path we have walked for 142 years, but we bring people with different perspectives and beliefs together to build our communities, our states and our nation" Luttrell concluded.

The National Grange is the nation's oldest general farm and rural public interest organization. Originally founded in 1867, today the Grange represents nearly 200,000 grassroots Grange members affiliated with 2,700 local, county and state Grange chapters located in 40 states. Grange members provide service to agriculture and rural communities on a wide variety of issues, including economic development, education, family endeavors, and legislation designed to assure a strong and viable rural America.

 

 
 
 

 
     
     
       
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