Blogs » Politcs Plus » It's all about politcal posturing



I'm now convinced that the last election is about the next election. I know there is some political posturing that goes on, so a lot of political rhetoric should be dismissed.. That doesn't keep me from being concerned that every month that our unemployed are out of the workforce; it will be that much more difficult to retrain them. I'm concerned that we're not taking economic steps to stay competitive in the global economy. What are we going do about education? All I heard Sunday was what this election was or was not about. Most agree that it was about the 9.6% unemployment without a downward trend.

Yesterday, newly elected house leader Eric Cantor told Chris Wallace they will not compromise on a temporary extension of the Bush tax cuts. They want the whole enchilada including the tax cut for the top 2%. I heard a new talking point echoed by representatives Paul Ryan, Eric Cantor, and Mike Pence when they all said “we don't have a revenue problem.” They seem to think that by cutting 22% of the budget and making cuts in entitlements, extending the Bush tax cuts and repealing parts of the new health care law will make everything hunky dory. Their plan exempts any cuts in defense spending. They know that they don't have the votes to repeal the health care law but they will try to limit the money and personnel available to the Internal Revenue Service, so the agency cannot enforce key provisions of the law. They also intend to throw a little red meat to the extremes in their party, by trying to limit access to government- subsidized private health plans that include coverage for abortion. Their priorities do not mention funding for education, infrastructure or alternative fuels. I wish the president and the democrats would take the advice of liberal New York Times columnist Frank Rich when he said"Obama has a huge opening here - should he take it. He could call the Republicans' bluff by forcing them to fill in their own blanks. He could start by offering them what they want, the full Bush tax cuts, in exchange for a single caveat: G.O.P. leaders would be required to stand before a big Glenn Beck-style chalkboard - on C-Span, or, for that matter, Fox News - and list, with dollar amounts, exactly which budget cuts would pay for them. Once they hit the first trillion - or even $100 billion - step back and let the "adult conversation" begin! "

Frank Rich has a great point because Congressman Tim Ryan the GOP's new budget director, wants to cut over 2000 FBI agents and make drastic cuts in aid to children. They should show America where they stand. How many FBI agents could we keep to fight domestic and foreign terrorism and how many children will not starve, if we let the tax cut to the top 2% expire? How much of that $700 billion(tax cut to the top 2%) could be spent on education, incentives for research and development and expiring unemployment compensation?...That is classic supply side economics; we will grow our way to new revenues ;to support those programs we will privatize.

The Nation magazine's Christopher Hayes had an interesting argument with MSNBC's Joe Scarborough this morning about Health Care, the democrats, and Nancy Pelosi... Joe Scarborough said the democrats don't want to cut entitlements and republicans don't want to raise taxes. Christopher Hayes pointed out the democrats did cut $500 billion from Medicare by effectively eliminating a subsidized program called Medicare Advantage... Joe laughed and said “the democrats cut from one entitlement pay for it to pay for another entitlement." Christopher Hayes correctly told him that the health care law was not an entitlement since over 20 million will not be on the plan and the nonpartisan CBO said it would we reduce the deficit over a 10 year period. Then Joe went to say that the democrats did not learn a lesson by retaining Nancy Pelosi... Christopher Hayes correctly pointed out that she did lead the democrats to victory in 2006 and her fund raising ability is second only to president Obama, plus she defeated the republicans that are in office today in 2008... They expected the democrats to put in a moderate like blue dog democrat Heath Shuler but that's not their decision. It's plain to see that the republicans don't want her in office because she will not be a doormat. I think that the republicans have moved so far to the right that they think the middle is where they were in 2008. Democrats don't think that's where Middle America is. I still believe passing Health Care was the right thing to do, at the right time, but it is going to need fixes as time goes by. If it took the losses of a lot of house seats, so did passing civil rights and Social Security. If unemployment is still at ~9.6 % in 2012, everyone will be thrown out of office.

My last blog was not about literally compromising in a bipartisan way. A poster suggested that I change my avatar and remove the cartoons. I'm not suggesting that politicians or individuals give up their principles. For instance both parties want the Bush tax cuts for those making $250,000 to remain, so the compromise has to be on the amount above $250,000. Today, Congress only meets about three days a week, so we will never have the congeniality we once had. There was a time when a politician said “my friends across the aisle" and actually meant it. It's easy to demonize your opponent; if you don't personally know them or their families. I don't expect to see any significant legislation being passed because the tea party will threaten those that want to move toward the middle and the liberals will challenge their remaining moderates. The only place where they might be a compromise is campaign reform. The tea party and the left are against the huge corporate undisclosed donations; according to their campaign rhetoric. They may be getting unexpected help because shareholders are starting to demand to know how much, and to whom, the corporations’ donated to.

I don't believe it's time to make drastic cuts because we have a stagnant economy but we should not increase the deficit. I think revenue neutral policies such as cutting ineffective programs and replacing them with investments in education and research and develop is the way to go. This is an opportune time to take steps to make Social Security solvent for future years and to do something about a bankrupt Medicare program. Once the economy gets to 4% GDP growth and we see a unemployment downward trend; then we can start to further reduce government in a responsible manner, knowing full well it will take a couple of years or more. The next administration could continue the policy because it will be a priority and the pattern will be in place. It's like a weight control program; cold turkey doesn't usually work.