Saturday, March 2, 2013
We Definitely Have a Communication Problem
When Congress left town and allowed the sequester cuts to take place, they took with them any remaining doubt that the two political parties would ever be able to reach an agreement. In three weeks, we will have the continuing resolution battle and then in May; we will have another war over raising the debt ceiling. There will be no new revenues coming from the GOP, even if the Democrats concede on entitlements. The president could give in to the GOP's demands, but he will lose his party and would be ineffective for the rest of his term. He is not about to do that.
There is a little known Washington secret that both parties got what they wanted Friday after the sequester was signed into law, but it's going to be at the expense of the American people. The Republican's spin that it's only 2% of the overall budget is a farce because they know the impact of these cuts will slow our staggering economy. They also know that government contracts are based on outlining years, so if they don't get the necessary funds, they can’t plan for future expansion. And that's not to say that the defense budget is not bloated. Every credible economist will tell you cutting spending in this manner (austerity) will hamper our growth and keep unemployment high. The president misdiagnosed the current Republican party because he was not aware that 158 house members don't care if they take a hatchet to defense spending because to them, a cut is a cut no matter where it comes from. Anyway, the GOP came away a winner because there were no tax increases, and they got the cuts they wanted. Some Democrats got the defense cuts they wanted, so the social cuts weren’t as bad.
They would have been much better off combining all three battles into a more meaningful long term one. We shouldn’t be imposing austerity while our economy is struggling to grow. We need to get rid of the tax loop holes and use that money to fund education, infrastructure and innovation. Look at the growing stock market, we haven’t made a dent on the wealthy, and those sequester cuts will only hurt those who can least afford it. The Democrats need to come to grips with the fact that 50.7% of the Federal budget($1.73 trillion) comes from Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid and interest on the debt. With the baby boomers retiring at an alarming rate of 10,000 a day, Social Security and Medicare will grow by 40% by the year 2023. The Social Security Disability Trust Fund will be gone in three years. Walking away from entitlement reform is irresponsible.
The lack of communication doesn’t stop at Washington's doorstep because all you have to do is pick up our local newspaper and read a letter to the editor. For example, the letter written by Kim Smith stirred up the emotions of those who she was trying to reach. For one, the momentum for universal background checks is on the side of those who want to do something about the gun violence in the United States. The Second Amendment has been decided, so extending the reach of background checks does not infringe on any gun rights and imposing stiffer penalties for straw purchases doesn't either. The banning of high-capacity ammo clips might be a little harder, even though there's popular support to ban them because it involves the manufacturer’s bottom line. The Democrats know this so that’s why they separated the background checks from the high-capacity clips and the so -called assault weapons. It makes the gun lobbyist like the NRA spend more money on politicians giving Mike Bloomberg and others a more even playing field.
You see Kim; you can't make a point with those who continue to make weak arguments because when you do;you are playing on their turf. This issue is not about automobile accidents, the definition of assault, responsible gun owners, the defense of one's home, the next American Revolution or the proverbial tyrannical government. This is about combating gun violence, which is become prevalent in our society. Do we allow the NRA to continue making gun policy for us? I know we can’t allow the fringe element of our society to make policy, so I suggest we confirm someone to head the ATF, and get enough support to pass universal background checks for now. Then we can work on getting legislators elected who are not bought and paid for by the NRA.