Sunday, April 18, 2010
Who's at fault for our current political and economic state? Is it the out-of-control partisanship in Congress? Is it the Senate filibuster, which now requires a supermajority for anything to get done in the Senate? Is it President Obama for enacting huge stimulus and health care spending (remember he ran and got elected on those platforms).
Over a year ago, a majority of Americans supported the stimulus spending. Now, a majority say we are spending too much. We seem to want help for unemployed workers but at the same time we denigrate them as people who live off government handouts.
How about the current financial re-regulation proposals? We were incensed that bailed out financial companies got bailed out and CEO's got huge bonuses. Now it seems we don't want financial re-regulation - or at least the conservatives don't.
We are upset about National Debt and budget deficits, but we can't seem to explain what exactly we want to cut to reduce deficits. Don't cut medicare, or social security, and certainly not the defense budget. Balance the budget by cutting medical lawsuits or cutting government "waste". And, cut taxes at the same time. Really, that's crazy talk and we know it.
Now many want to cut the stimulus or stop it. But at the same time we want spending on infrastructure - roads, bridges etc. Cut the stimulus, but extend unemployment benefits. Make up your minds.
What do we want? Do we want a smaller government or not? If we do, we need to cut spending. I've yet to have a conservative politician tell me what should be cut. They will tell you they support spending cuts and smaller government, but ask them where they propose to cut spending and you hear crickets chirping. The fact is, you don't win elections by promising to cut medicare or social security.
Our deficits are huge. Anyone with even half a brain knows that at some point taxes will need to be raised to balance the budget and pay down debt.
I'm not sure the current state of our government is the fault of politicians. We get to vote politicians out every 2-6 years if we don't like what they are doing.
To see who is at fault for the current political and economic climate - look in the mirror.
A few weeks ago, New York Times columnist wrote an interesting opinion piece "The Rage Is Not About Health Care". For almost 3 weeks I've been mulling over commenting on the article.
Upon passage of the Health Care Reform bill, conservative heads everywhere started exploding. John Boehner's face almost turned red, if that's possible, from anger. Tea Partier's spat hateful comments at Congressmen Lewis and Frank. References to President Obama being Hitler, Stalin, Lenin etc. continued. Bricks were thrown through office windows, a gas line cut on the house of a congressman's brother and death threats were phoned in to congressional offices. As Rich pointed out, it was a "small scale mimicry of Kristallnacht".
What exactly did Democrats do to incite this anger? They campaigned on passing health care reform legislation. They continually folded to conservative demands and modified the HCR bill until it was a mirror image of Mitt Romney's health care reform bill in Massachusetts. Hell, the individual mandate was a conservative idea!
As Rich points out, the anger over this issue is similar to that over the Civil Rights Act of 1964. I agree. But like Rich says, the rage is not about HCR. The rage started shortly after President Obama was elected. In fact, there was plenty of rage against candidate Obama at Palin rallies well before he was elected.
Here is a key sentence in Rich's column.
The conjunction of a black president and a female speaker of the House - topped off by a wise Latina on the Supreme Court and a powerful gay Congressional committee chairman - would sow fears of disenfranchisment among a dwindling and threatened minority in the country no matter what policies were in play.Rich points out that these are the people Tea Partier's want to "take our country back" from.
Is this racism, sexism, bigotry? I don't know. But the white anglosaxon protestant needs to realize that the demographics of the US is changing. Most young people are no longer racist or intolerant. The mostly white and republican Tea Party members need to understand that they are rapidly becoming a minority group, at least by race.
Rich also pointed out something I didn't know.
The Republicans haven't had a single African-American in the Senate or the House since 2003 and have only had three in total since 1935 (my emphasis)No, the rage is not about health care, or taxes, or spending. It's about the fear of becoming a minority. It's about race.