A Historic Opportunity

If you tune into the news networks – with emphasis on Fox News – you are eventually going to hear a talking head say that businesses and families need to control their spending and so that means government does too. What they seem to imply with those sentiments is that the United States government shouldn’t take on debt or at the very least shouldn’t take on the amount of debt that it has to date.

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Nuance vs. Conviction

An op-ed in the L.A. Times, Obama’s Clarity Gap, sheds light on what I believe is a growing sentiment among Obama supporters: We still support him but what is he willing to fight for? In the debt debate the President appeared to be willing to fight for increased tax revenue as part of a balanced approach but ultimately the deal that was completed is entirely one-sided. Maybe it’s not fair to use this one example because Republicans in Congress appear to have left Obama with little choice since many felt default either wouldn’t happen, or wasn’t a big deal. But this is not the first time Obama has punted. He punted last December by extending the Bush tax cuts. So what is President Obama willing to fight for? I don’t dismiss the great achievements of his first term, health care reform, repeal of don’t ask don’t tell, Osama bin Laden, but I feel increasingly frustrated because I don’t know where President Obama is willing to make stand.

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Bad Ideas Die Hard

As the economy increasingly begins to resemble the scene pictured below from Live Free or Die Hard (2007) we still have persistent calls for incredibly stupid ideas on how to fix the economy. Republicans in congress led the charge with stupid ideas and many Democrats appear to be complicit in the madness.

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Who Lost The Debt Debate?

A poll on cnn.com today asks: Which party won the debt debate? The more important question is: Who lost the debt debate? The answer would be simple, us! The average citizen. The fact that the country can be held hostage to the narrow ideology of a small group means we all lose. If this is what our politics is going to look like moving forward I don’t know how our democracy is going to fair. While it’s true that democracy does not always mean majority rule, I think it’s safe to say that a small group of narrowed-minded people that want to punish others for what they perceive as “leeching off the system” is not very democratic at all. It has increasingly become obvious to me that we have one party in this country that governs based on the best in people and we have another party that governs based on the worst in people. One party assumes everybody is looking to take advantage of the system. The other party does not. I don’t think I need to mention which one is which.

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Budget Debate Nonsense

The current government budget debate is an argument over pennies instead of an adult conversation over dollars. This highlights a fundamental issue that it’s near impossible for people holding temp jobs (elected officials) to solve the really big, long term problems our country faces. There is no real talk about cuts to the big entitlement programs or tax increases to help solve our budget deficit because to do so is seen as political suicide. So instead politicians go after the low hanging fruit in the hopes that the “dumb” American public will be happy that something was done. Then those politicians can run a campaign in the next election saying they cut spending and didn’t raise your taxes. The budget items being discussed don’t amount to much in the way of savings. Cutting funding to public radio (or other low hanging fruit) equates to a family debating whether they should buy a name brand product over a store brand product when instead they really should be discussing whether they need a fancy car or that expensive tropical vacation. I think the real problem is that nobody is paying attention. The average person in this country doesn’t pay very much attention to government, politicians or much of anything that they don’t perceive to have a direct and immediate impact on their lives. Politicians know this and that’s why they go after the low hanging fruit because they know that most people only hear quick sound bites and then move on. So if they can say they cut spending and didn’t raise taxes, to the average citizen that sounds like a good deal and will then reward that politician with another term. There needs to be an awakening in this country. More people need to start paying closer attention to what is actually going on in this country and in the world.

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