Of the multiple items that can be found unsolicited in the email one item is least expected of all. A letter from a Congressman. Then again, in New York State the politicians up for re-election know they are in trouble.
Representative Maurice Hinchey is a prime example. He is up for re-electioin. He has held his seat for some time now (in office since 1993). He is my Representative in Congress. He is a Democrat.
The critical thing about Rep. Hinchey contacting me (to get on his new e-newsletter) is that it is not in response to any of the letters, articles, or issues I have presented. The email was made to solicit me into receiving a newsletter promoting all the benefits that Rep. Hinchey has done for New York. But that seems odd.
Rep. Hinchey could not find the time to respond to constituents on the Health Care Reform, of which I sent several letters to him (via email and postal mail). In nearly a year there still has not been a single response, not even a form letter (which is the response made by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand – which answered none of the questions posed) or an automated response (which was the best that Senator Schumer could come up with). He could not respond to request for an interview. He could not respond to any of the articles that I have written on his re-election and his voting record.
But as the mid-term elections approach Rep. Maurice Hinchey can find the time and resources to contact me, unsolicited via email accounts I used to ask questions of him, and ask me to join his bandwagon. Thus the conclusion seems to be, constituents are annoying until they need to vote politicians back into office. That may not be accurate, but it does appear to be the stance Rep. Hinchey has taken.
It’s one thing to not care about replying to constituents. Senator Schumer is upfront about apparently ignoring constituents unless a camera is around or it can provide him with positive press. Senator Gillibrand, being the junior Senator for NY, fakes it well with 6 month old form letters that her office still has no comment about 3 months after being caught. Neither case is positive, but they are upfront and direct. They seemingly don’t care what constituents think, just whatever empowers the Democrat Party, and voters just need to get in line behind them on it.
Rep. Maurice Hinchey on the other hand is far more duplicitous. He doesn’t present an ounce of concern on issues that constituents are up in arms over. He ignores letters delivered to his office as much as he ignores the emails. Yet, when he needs our votes to get re-elected and remain in Congress to advance the Democrat Party agenda he comes running to constituents. Used car salesmen have a better approach.
Has Rep. Hinchey helped the people of New York? He voted for the Health Care Reform, against the popular opinion, which has already failed on the promise to save money, which will raise new taxes on more than just the “rich”, that has already caused companies to plan to drop coverage and fire employees. That does not sound like a benefit.
He voted for the Obama Stimulus. That plan included help for teachers, and was so effective that Rep. Hinchey had to support an additional $23 billion in funding to extend the jobs of teachers in New York another year – one year after the Stimulus provided $100 billion for those same jobs. A majority of those unemployed have been so for more than a year. The unemployment rate is only lower (than 10%) because of the questionable temporary hiring of Census workers and people that have run out of the 99 weeks of unemployment benefits (thus no longer counted as unemployed even though they have no job).
Perhaps the biggest example of the help Rep. Hinchey has provided New York is that he promoted the 49.68 kilowatt solar energy system to be installed in Binghamton, New York on March 30th. It used $320,933 in Stimulus funds, creating (or saving) 3 jobs, with a net result of
“There are between 45,000 and 47,000 estimated people in Binghamton. The savings is equivalent to about $0.20 per person per year, in the best case scenario.”
It gets worse.
“According to Recovery.org, there is $20.6 million in spending that is defined, allocated and/or set for Broome County, including the above. That’s half of the number stated by Rep. Hinchey, but it does not include several bids and programs with no current allocations of funds. That money will create 235 jobs. Which equates to $87,660 spent per job created. Further we assume that each job pays $30,000 (above the median). Which results in a loss of $57,660 per job created. This would affect the unemployment rate of Binghamton by .005% (even though the jobs will not all be in Binghamton and using the best case scenario of population).”
And then there was the benefit of Cash for Caulkers that Rep. Hinchey supported
“Looking at it in yet another manner. Is the potential gain of $26 a month worth spending $5000 all at once? It will take 192 months (16 years) to recover the investment of $5000 or 8 years to recover half that amount – if the rebate equates to cash in hand after taxes. In an economic downturn that is expected to last several more years, at best, is that really where money needs to be spent?”
So for all these benefits, Rep. Maurice Hinchey expects to be re-elected? After ignoring constituents concerns for a year, and only contacting them when he needs to be voted back in office?
The Binghamton Office of Representative Maurice Hinchey was contacted for comment prior to publication of this commentary. They referred the D.C. office. Mike Morosi, of Rep. Hinchey’s staff was unavailable at the time, though a message was left for response. At the time of this publication, no response from Rep. Maurice Hinchey has been received.