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October 2004
Return Fiscal Discipline…Erskine has the right idea!

     Terrorism, the war in Iraq, outsourcing of jobs, $442 billion in deficit, prescription drug costs, national security, struggling airlines, failing corporate pensions and nuclear threats developing around the globe are all critical issues upon which to judge candidates for national office. And the list does not even include additional concerns about family values, abortion, stem cell research, preservation of traditional marriage, gun control, corporate greed, global warming and environmental protection.

     Our world seems to become more and more complex each year. Every election seems to be more important than ever before. This year’s election is no different. It provides North Carolinians with a chance to adjust the course of our national direction. Regardless of whether you are a Republican, Democrat or Independent, there is one candidate whose platform and past performance is based on a simple idea – fiscal discipline – and who actually has the ability to get things done in a bipartisan fashion.

     I want to urge your consideration of Erskine Bowles as our next U.S. Senator. Having watched him perform as Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, Deputy Chief of Staff and Chief of Staff at the White House, I can personally attest to his ability to successfully maneuver in the political arena, especially his accomplishments in representing business interests at the SBA and in the White House.

     Even more profound than his impact on the SBA, however, was Erskine Bowles’ role in balancing the federal budget. Elevated to the President’s Chief of Staff in 1996, Erskine Bowles had his unwavering focus on negotiating the first balanced federal budget in nearly 30 years. Negotiating with Republican Senator Trent Lott and Speaker Newt Gingrich over many weeks, their bipartisan efforts hammered out a balanced budget bill that was signed into law on August 5, 1997. As a result, the federal government began to reduce deficits; borrow less and interest rates began to fall. Unfortunately, the balancing of the federal budget was short-lived as the effects of the Bush tax cuts and new spending initiatives were implemented.

     Even former Senator Jesse Helms, R-NC, said in a recent interview published in Business North Carolina magazine: “I would not have voted for the tax cut, based on what I know…There is no doubt that the people at the top who need a tax break the least will get the most benefit…Too often presidents do things that don’t end up helping the people they should be helping, and their staffs won’t tell them their actions stink on ice.”

     With the number of Americans over age 65 increasing five to eight times faster than the working-age population and the concomitant burgeoning of our federal obligations of social security and Medicare, we must be even more vigilant to balance our federal budget and restrain deficit spending except for national emergencies. Erskine Bowles will be a responsible steward and valuable advocate for protecting our national interests, meeting our federal obligations, checking wasteful spending and reducing taxes whenever possible.

     Our federal deficit has grown to over $442 billion this year. That does not even count federal spending on the war in Iraq. We cannot afford a federal government that continues to borrow from Social Security to finance its spending requirements built into our annual budgets. We must put appropriate limits on spending and get our budget back under control.

     Having watched him perform, I am confident that Erskine Bowles knows how to serve North Carolina fairly, forthrightly and be fiscally disciplined to keep spending in check, bring budgets in balance and boost the economy at the same time. He knows how to focus on critical objectives and work for progress. He is never too busy to respond to concerns and often follows up directly with a phone call or handwritten note. His community involvement and personal attention to detail is an essential attribute for successfully serving in the U. S. Senate. He will work for Republicans, Democrats and Independents. He will make an excellent Senator for North Carolina.
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