As it is, reality is a little bit messier than plans for reality tend to be; so as it happened I was walking through town after my meeting with Tom, and I saw the Senator's entourage crossing the streets. I decided to play tag-a-long, and joined up with the group.
Senator Warner seemed to be genuinely enjoying his visit and getting away from the bustle in DC. He did a lot of meets and greets, did some shopping, presented a certificate to Cross Brothers grocery store in honor of their 100th anniversary, and made his way back to Ashland Coffee and Tea.
|Cross Brothers Grocery. 100 years and counting. That's 1912 folks!|
The Senator took a little time at the coffee shop to chat with folks and take a couple of questions. I don't pride myself on being a journalist, but I did take some notes; so to the best of my recollection, this is some of what was said:
He confided that he had never had a job before where he felt like he did more each week, but by the end of the week there was less tangible evidence for that work. "Do more and get less done" was how he put it.
His main concern was to address the deficit, which he said is tied to restoring confidence to Americans. At this point I don't recall if reducing the deficit is supposed to restore confidence, or that it will take restoring confidence to reduce the deficit. But in either case, they go hand in hand, and one feeds the other in a symbiotic kind of way. (My words, not his).
Interestingly, he said that over the past couple of years, Fortune 1000 companies have done quite well, and they are sitting on 2 Trillion dollars in their balance sheets. In order for things to re-invigorate, they need to re-invest that money.
Each day the deficit is not reduced, it costs Americans 4.5 billion dollars.
Federal spending is currently 25% of GDP, while taxes are only 15%. In order for the economy to be self sustaining, both numbers should be at 20%. (Or in any case, equal. In the past, 20% has been a stable number). As he put it, if you are spending a quarter, but only making 15 cents, you can't sustain that for very long.
Rosanne Shalf, local author of Ashland, Ashland: The Story of a Turn of the Century Railroad Town, inquired what had become of the Gang of Six.
|Ashland, Ashland, by Rosanne Groat Shalf|