Saturday, March 17, 2012

An Open Letter to Claire McCaskill

by Pa Rock
Missourian Abroad

Dear Senator McCaskill,

I realize that the life of a United States Senator must be very fast-paced and hectic.  With that in mind, and with a deep appreciation of the work that you do for Missouri and the nation, I am making one final attempt to bring a matter to your attention that I believe is weakening our nation and depriving its citizens of a way to save money while expressing their patriotism.

First, as background, I am a Missourian living abroad where I work with the U.S. military.  I have five wonderful grandchildren, two of whom live in Missouri.  Since the oldest was born twelve years ago, I have been making dutiful purchases of $100 Series EE Savings Bonds through my Missouri bank each month for each grandchild.  It was a system that worked very well, and I have built up a nice stack of savings bonds that will help put my grandchildren through college  - possibly even Missouri colleges.

Unfortunately for me, and I suspect thousands of others as well, the Treasury Department quit selling the Series EE Savings Bonds through banks on January 1st of this year, and announced at that time that they would begin selling the bonds over the Internet.  I have signed up for an account with the Treasury Department and now have an account number and a password, but multiple visits to the Treasury website have been totally frustrating.  There appears to be no way to actually buy the bonds.

I have recently spoken to an officer in my bank back in Missouri and asked her if she knew how to navigate the bewildering system.  The bank officer responded that one of the tellers at her bank had also been on the Internet trying to buy savings bonds for her grandchildren and had also given up.

Senator McCaskill, that is outrageous.  You and I are both old enough to remember when purchasing savings bonds was one of the most patriotic acts that a citizen could perform.  Every dollar that the government takes in through the sale of these bonds is one less dollar that we have to borrow from China.  What would Harry Truman think of a government bureaucracy that keeps citizens from supporting their government?

Here are two simple things that your office can do which will either validate or impugn my premise that it is now virtually impossible for ordinary citizens to purchase Series EE Savings Bonds:  1.  Ask a member of your staff to try to navigate the system and see if they can purchase a bond.  And, 2.  Shoot a note over to Secretary Geithner and ask to see the figures for savings bonds sales for the first three months of this year versus the first three months of last year.  I predict that the drop in sales this year as compared to last year will be startling.

That might even make a good campaign issue.

I will not bother you any further on this subject.  I am now in the process of setting up savings accounts with my bank for each grandchild, something that I find very sad because the old system worked so well.

Senator, I know that you and your staff are unbelievably busy.  Your direct tweet to me, the only valid communication that I have had from your office, stated that you receive 8,000-10,000 emails and letters a week "just from Missourians."  Please remember that I, too, am a Missourian, and I am also an American who cares deeply about my country.  Whether I am buying savings bonds or not, the system needs to be fixed so that others may have that savings option - and our government may maintain that revenue stream.

Thank you for all you do.

Rocky G. Macy
Missourian Abroad

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