Blogs » Politcs Plus » Do Something

Subscribe


Image

It's disappointing to see the pundits nonchalantly asking the legislators to agree with their view that nothing significant will get passed before the election. It's as if they think that the world is waiting for the United States to act. It seems as though we're content to think that we cannot do anything about the strain the European market might put on our economy. There's no doubt that our hands are tied, but it's self-inflicted.

The Transportation bill passed the Senate with over 70 votes because the sponsors of the legislation, Barbara Boxer and James Inhofe (R-Okla.), worked out their differences, and those two are 180° on their positions 99% of the time. The bill rests in the House of Representatives because of the Republicans' insistence on including a mandate for federal approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline cannot get out of committee. It's not a big jobs bill (2 million middle-class Americans back to work right away, according to the Senate majority leader Harry Reid" but it sure would help the psyche of this country. If Congress doesn’t’ approve of the $109 billion, that money will go to something else instead of what has always been bipartisan; needed infrastructure repair…Short term deficits are like lending your brother-in- law $50.00; you don’t enter the debt on the family budget and if he doesn’t pay you back; its lessons learned (interest).

I don't think it makes any sense to sit around and just put out brush fires; reacting instead of acting. Last night I heard a pundit say that 700 water mains in our nation need to be repaired by those dreaded public workers every day. I seem to recall that several years ago; Victoria had a 60-inch water main that needed replacing; I don't think it ever was. Pull up a chair and think about it, you don't have to agree on everything. We can agree that the government can borrow money for very little interest; we know that the bridges, roads, and transportation systems have been neglected for longtime. We all should agree that we need to put people back to work. It used to be that we could just increase the gasoline tax but in today's environment, we know where that argument will take us. We can keep kicking that can down the road, but it doesn't negate the fact that bridges, and roads will need to be repaired and repairing them at today's prices is a lot better than paying fo them in the later years, when the cost will likely be much higher.

How does repairing our infrastructure hedge our bets in case the Europeans cannot get their finances in order? The other day, Italy thought they found a way to solve their financial woes and it stabled the market for about four hours. Wall Street did its due diligence and quickly came to the conclusion that Italy couldn't sustain borrowing money at 6% and leading money to Spain at 3%, so the market started dropping. Whatever happens in Europe will depend on Germany but in the meantime Europe will not consume our exports, our businesses will start to lay off people, but we could stop the hemorrhaging by adding new jobs in the construction field. I'm assuming that the Euro Zone will get their act together pretty soon but even if they don't, our infrastructure still needs repair and upgrading.

The January 2013 sequester plan will bring both parties to the table because neither party wants automatic cuts in entitlements and defense spending. That will be the proper time to discuss the budget,deficits, and debt.

I can't really say for certain what will happen if Mitt Romney is elected president; I've read his proposals but a lot will depend on the makeup of Congress. If he has coattails, the more likely, the Ryan budget will pass as is. If President Obama gets reelected with, or without coattails, the Republican Party will have to be more conciliatory, or they will lose the midterm 2014 elections and the 2016 presidential election. The Supreme Court will likely overturn the individual mandate, but the insurance companies are already telling the GOP that the popular provisions, such as keeping your child on your policy until they turn 26, and not being turned down for a pre-existing condition, can be worked out. I'm sure the insurance companies don't want Obama's plan of using more of their money for the benefit of their customers. I think President Obama's main objective in the second term will be implementing constructive policies to turn this economy around but once that happens, his attention will be on a comprehensive immigration reform package,or Dream Act and improving the Affordable Care Act, if it's still intact.

It will take Congress a couple of days to make the bipartisan fixes that Social Security needs to make it solvent for the next 75 years and that's a bipartisan consensus but that too will have to wait until next year.