I know I am getting burned out on all this constant bickering in the U.S. I watch little or no news on TV now. All the news channels seem to be about inciting a riot among us. My internet news sites which I visit first thing every morning are now for the most part briefly scanned. I am just tired of all this stuff. It may just be time for me to go “Walden” as Thoreau did and drop out for a while. I seem to only be able to see the dark side of life and I just can’t live in that mode very long.
Since the Spring and Summer months are the busiest times away from blogging for me I will likely be limiting my posts to one every other day or so for a while and I will likely stay away from politics, at least for a while. I just need time to get things back in perspective again and get all this fighting off my mind….
I have been thinking about all the partisanship and our legislative process lately. We seem to be in a gridlocked pattern that is almost impossible to break. Washington is completely out of step with the rest of the country. Poll after pole tells us that we the people want them to get off their butts and do something.
Doing nothing in the U.S. Senate feeds the cynicism in the country which enhances the Republican view that government can’t do anything right. The filibuster is the latest major tool used to accomplish that task. All it takes now it for the representatives of about 10% of the U.S. population to shut down all activity in the legislative branch.
Congress used to work 45 weeks a year in the 1970s. They now are only in session for about 32 weeks. Last year set numerous records as being the least productive senate in our history. Only 2.5% of the bills submitted were even acted upon. When I think about this I get upset. There are so many things that need done. But then again maybe doing nothing is what is right for these times. We need to move both of our political parties back to the center. What it will take to do that is anybody’s guess.
“Government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem.” - Ronald Reagan
Sometimes when we look back at history we wonder how did we get to where we are. We often have trouble pinpointing a particular person or date to where it all began. On January 20, 1981 when Ronald Reagan uttered the words above he ushered in a new breed of Republicans. These particular words were the turning point to gridlock and jumping from crisis to crisis that we see today. It is also the specific moment that I turned away from the Republican party to look elsewhere.
No longer was government to do the people’s business but instead they were to just get out-of-the-way and let our corporate elite run the country as they had during the Robber Baron days a century before. Government had no meaning to those who swallowed those words hook line and sinker. The safety net for our citizens lost its meaning to them. This was the turning point where we backed away on our pledge to make sure our citizens would not starve. This was the point where “entitlements” to our poor or aged became a dirty word for some. Government became a hindrance instead of the benefit. The people’s business took a back burner to corporate interests or was actually thrown entirely off the stove.
I believe that any serious student of U.S. history knows that capitalism without regulation was a pre-cursor to the death of the middle class. It was a point where those trying to keep our food and drugs safe were stymied by lower and lower budgets. The agencies responsible for our banking system and financial sector were gutted. Taxes which were from that point on deemed almost evil were difficult to obtain to maintain our countries infrastructure and safety nets. Common sense and compassion took a back burner to greed and corruption. The people’s business suffered greatly.
Another turning point that compounded these same problems was the sudden popularity of the MBA program in this country. That was the point where employees changed from being an asset to be treasured and treated with respect to being a liabilities that needed to be removed or gotten at the lowest possible cost. I remember very distinctly when that happened in the corporation that I was employed. Up till that point most employees were very loyal to the companies that hired them. Chevy guys would never dream of buying a Ford and visa versa. Suddenly employer’s loyalty to workers disappeared. Benefits were taken away. Wages were stifled in order to increase corporate profits. What used to be a three-legged stool of owners/employees/customers was suddenly taken into severe imbalance.
These two events that created the “government is the problem” Republicans and “employees are the problem” business leaders caused a dramatic shift in our economy. When workers lost their living wages they were no longer able to buy the goods and services they had previously. To counter the loss of buying employers cut wages and benefits further. Anyone without an MBA could clearly see this cause/effect but it just didn’t seem to occur to those who now are on most rungs of the corporate ladder.
To end this post on an upbeat, I believe that the day is coming when a balance will be restored. The majority of us will realize that our government needs resources to keep us and our world safe. Employers will realize that without a living wage their workers will never buy an increasing number of the products they desire to make. I am an optimist. I believe this day will come. I just wonder if we will be able to pinpoint that particular point in time as easily as when Republicans became the party of “government is the problem”
I have been feeling gloomy lately; I wonder why? Everything runs in cycles, but our congress it seems, so hopefully my outlook will swing back to something more normal soon.
There are not many in Washington that I look up to anymore but Olympia Snowe was one of them. Those two ladies from Maine always given me hope that there is indeed light at the end of the tunnel. Senator Snowe usually put the country above party when it came to the many partisan votes of recent years. She has become a rare breed in that respect. She was one of the few Republicans who voted against impeachment of President Clinton because she knew it was only being done for political reason.
Senator Snowe is only the latest of many voices of reason that have left office due to frustration of gridlock. Here are some words from the article about that:
Source: Deal or No Deal, Washington Debacle Will Linger Into New Year – ABC News.
Washington is now broken beyond the point where bold individual leadership can even fix it. The forces at play are bigger than the ability of the president, House Speaker John Boehner, or any other person or persons to turn them around without the certain promise of a revolt in the party ranks that would leave them out of effective power.
The cliff metaphor suggests a jump into a void, but at least one that has a bottom. Yet as the nation watches this slow-motion wreck, the depths of dysfunction have yet to be fully explored.
I didn’t think it was possible to find someone who has a darker attitude towards those in Washington than I do but Rick Klein who wrote the above article certainly seems to beat me at that game. I have been accused by some of putting all the blame for the current dysfunction on the Republicans but I realize that it takes two to play the idiotic games they play in that city. But I must insist that much , but certainly not all, of the blame belongs with the GOP and that is because of their adamant fixation on one word, “never”. The other fundamental part of the problem is the lack of great leaders.
Source: The “fiscal cliff” isn’t a cliff at all – CBS News.
Here is an interesting article that explains why the “fiscal cliff” is so falsely named. If you are still not clear about this I would encourage you to click on the source above.
By the way, the article mentions that if nothing is done the “average” additional expenses will be $3,200 per family. But that is primarily because of the significant expense to the top 1% drastically weighting the “average”. It has been stated that for a family with an income of $70,000 the increase would be less than $800 (1.1%) and that is if nothing is done to add some tax breaks back in January by congressional action.
So, don’t get all worked up if those guys in Washington continue to be gridlocked. It is not the end of the world!!
Source: Boehner’s GOP Problems Complicate Deficit Negotiations – ABC News.
House Speaker John Boehner is about to begin another attempt at a grand bargain deficit reduction deal with President Obama, a high wire act in which he will be buffeted by demands from the White House as well as from House Republicans
It looks like total gridlock may again happen coming out the gate of the new year. Mr. Boehner in some of his words seemed to say that he was open to compromise but soon took those words back after some in his party chastised him. The sign of a real leader is someone who leads, sometimes even in opposition to some in his party. He does not bend, especially to the least common denominator of his party.
I was up until almost 3:00am last night watching the returns and speeches. Being one to pretty much get up when the sun comes up I didn’t get a lot of sleep. I hope to make that up with a longer than usual afternoon nap. So forgive me for any typos on these very unusual write and immediately posted words. Here is what I brought away from the past twenty-four hours. More…
Source: On renewal of Violence Against Women Act, Senate Democrats have upper hand – CSMonitor.com.
After passing the Senate unanimously in years past, the Violence Against Women Act, with revisions, faces strong partisan opposition. Still, Republicans don’t want to be tagged as waging a ‘war on women.’
As the quote says this bill has been unanimously approved in past years, so what happened this time? The thing to notice is what I underlined and that is “with revisions”. The Democrat leadership wants us to believe that it is just the Republicans being against everything. But reading further into the article you see that the Democratic leadership has added amendments around homosexuals and illegal immigrants to this version of the bill which they know the Republicans will rail against. Why would they do that if it threatened the good and agreeable parts that both sides of the aisle have agreed on in the past?
Of course the answer to that is the Democrat leaders are trying to convince the public that the opponents of the bill are anti-woman. To me this is a blaring example of the leadership gone bad this time in the Democratic party but all to often it is the Republican party. What both sides can agree on gets twisted around and is lost due to trying to make your opponents look bad. I am becoming more and more convinced that the answer to this gridlock is not necessarily eliminating one of the parties but to eliminate the leadership in both. Getting rid of the leaders would send a clear message to future ones that we want you guys and gals to play well together. If you don’t lead in that direction then you too are out the door.
This strategy could be accomplished without a wholesale change of representative. Pulling just eight members out would probably do the trick (four in the Senate and four in the House). But, the problem is how do we even do that? How do we convince the States who elected these leaders to sacrifice them for the greater good. A person who could manage to work this strategy to completion might be the hero of the day we drastically need. Right now those guys, which of course includes one gal, in the leadership are doing things simply to spite their opposition. How sad is that???
Source: GOP shifts away from payroll tax cut – The Boston Globe.
The title words are part of the post above. It basically give the true meaning of why the Republicans are now against the payroll tax cut that would put an additional $240 billion into the economy. I had a glimmer of hope that we were starting to put this foolishness behind us but I guess that is not the case.
“It’s not going to add any jobs” according to a Utah Senator. I guess that yahoo only believes that tax cuts to millionaires are the ones to create jobs. Give it to the ordinary guy and it, for some reason won’t. If you ask me I would say that the people getting payroll tax cuts are much more likely to turn around and use the extra money to buy things that they need; the millionaires would just put it in the cash reserves of their favorite money fund.
I’m sure the real reason Republicans are now against payroll tax cuts is because a Democratic president is for them. They say it will raise the deficit but won’t giving millionaires big tax cuts do the exactly the same thing? Here are some words in the above article that kind of makes sense to me.
Many economists see the payroll tax cuts as a kind of chicken soup remedy for the ailing economy – one that can’t hurt and might help. It could mildly boost the economy by putting extra money into the pockets of employees, with a greater benefit going to low- and middle-income workers.
Yeah, lets give people some chicken soup. It might not totally cure their money problems but it would make them feel good. I’m not one to believe that the government can spend their way out of problems hurting the economy but a little chicken soup can’t hurt.
Come on my Republican friends don’t just be against it because he’s for it.The first thing you should be asking is it good for the country not whether it is good for my political agenda. If you can’t latch on to that idea then we are, and will continue to be, in BIG trouble!!
But what do I know..