Virginia Congressman gets praise for being moderate

Time magazine has a positive profile of a Virginia Congressman — Rep. Scott Rigell (R – VA-2) — who is actually thinking in terms of what the nation’s economy needs, rather than what kind of party politics to play.

With so many things that affect the housing market in the hands of a Congress that spends more time squabbling for political points than actually doing anything, seeing that there are moderates (and, even better, from Virginia!) and people willing to work for consensus… well, there’s some hope after all.

So what is Rigell’s terrifyingly reasonable idea?

He looked at two figures — the nation’s revenue as a percent of gross domestic product, and our spending (also as a percent of GDP).

Over the past 50 years, they’ve averaged 17.9% revenue, 20.5% spending, and starting with Ronald Reagan we’ve been spending a lot while taking in less. (The exception being during the Internet boom of the late ’90s.)

Today we’re taking in 15.1% and spending 24%. Not good. (Revenue should rise as the economy improves, as spending decreases when short-term stimulus and unemployment money is out of the picture, but the basics of too little/too much won’t change.)

Speaking with people of all economic stripes, Rigell came to the simple conclusion: A 20% revenue and 20% spending middle ground. In other words, we have to both raise taxes (yes, you can’t pay for things without money) and cut spending (no, you can’t pay for everything everyone wants).

> 20/20 did seem to be the basis for a reasonable discussion of a long-term deficit deal. The trouble, of course, is that there is a yawning void of reasonable discussers in the House of Representatives.

Will Rigell be able to make a difference? He’s already got two people with him in what he calls the “Fix Congress Now Caucus”: Reps. Jim Cooper (D – Tenn.) and Reid Ribble (R – Wisc.). That’s not a lot, when you’ve got 532 other people to convince, but it’s a start.

These are the kinds of things Virginia’s RPAC Trustees will be thinking about as they begin researching and talking to candidates before making endorsement recommendations in Virginia’s U.S. Senate race and all 11 Congressional races starting in early August. Because doing nothing isn’t much of an option.

Read the full Time article here.

About Andrew Kantor

Andrew is VAR's editor and information manager, and -- lessee now -- a former reporter for the Roanoke Times, former technology columnist for USA Today, and a former magazine editor for a bunch of places. He hails from New York with stops in Connecticut, New Jersey, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Roanoke.
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