U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Grantville, told a group of Callaway High School students Tuesday they should be paying attention to the “fiscal cliff” and other economic news.
“It’s not going to affect me,” he said of the expected increase in tax rates. “I’m 62 years old. It will affect you.”
Westmoreland said if the current tax cuts are allowed to expire, low-income residents’ tax rates will go up from 10 to 15 percent. Middle-income residents will see an increase from 28 to 33 percent and high-income residents’ rates will go from 36 to 39.5 percent.
“The lowest wage earners get hurt more than anyone,” he said. “Get a good job, you’re going to need the money.”
Westmoreland spoke candidly with the gathering of students, a collection of advanced government and Junior ROTC high schoolers, and devoted most of his time to answering their questions.He said the country still needs a political party system to allow people to run for office, but a third-party system is beginning to take hold.
“Right now we have the best system in the world. The problem is, people only vote for a party,” he said. “Believe it or not, there are some Democrats with good ideas. Republicans sometimes have bad ideas.”
The congressman said its important to separate business and friendship when he’s in Washington, D.C.
“(Fellow Georgia Congressman) John Lewis is the nicest person in Congress,” he said. “Do we ever vote the same? Probably not. You can have a personal relationship and not always agree on everything.”
He also told the students “don’t change who you are to get people to like you.”
“The real you will eventually come out, and that will cause problems when someone thought you were someone else,” he said.