The following letter was published by the Atlanta-Journal Constitution on August 5, 2011. The published letter was edited by the newspaper, but below is the full letter as sent to the AJC.
On Tuesday Congressional leaders and President Obama reached a deal to avoid defaulting to our nation’s creditors; what Americans had been told all summer to be an impending economic disaster. While these leaders champion themselves as heroes for passing such legislation, they fail to realize that average American families have been in the midst of our own debt crisis for years. Unlike that for our elected officials, there will be no ticker-tape parade for the countless middle-class and growing number working poor who manage to scrape by and avoid default daily.
While Boehner, Obama, and others were taking to the airwaves to debate their plans, my wife and I were sitting around the kitchen table discussing ours. The four years we have been married both of us have been in school. We have worked through college and financed what we were unable to pay. Like many, we managed to stay afloat by working hard. When our 2005 Chevy, made overseas, broke due to poor manufacturing we were left over-under. We had little savings and could get no financing. Fortunately, our families rallied around us and we were able to get by.
An incompetent and anemic Washington has failed to create jobs and spur the economy. Our leaders are so inept that they celebrate what has become a common occurrence in this country—rallying together to avoid impending economic disasters. Instead of working to lift us out of this mess, they work to score points in a losing game. The real heroes are those Americans who have been scraping by to pay off their debts, avoid foreclosure, those who are over-under on their cars and homes waiting for relief. They are neither celebrated nor appreciated for doing what is expected of them. Why is it that we have come to expect so much less of our leaders than we expect of ourselves?
Zachary H. Smith