Sorry for the length, but I didn't have time to write a short blog.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Best Interest

With the release of the Romney video  and reading a discussion by a Romney supporter about how much more he admires Romney now, caused me to stop and wonder exactly how it is that people will do something that is against their own best interest. I know this supporter and my guess he is probably a tea party supporter as well.  What amazes me is he very likely knows someone who is a part of the 47 percent who pay no taxes.  It is true that we have a number of folks who don't pay taxes, although it is actually 46 percent.  What the problem is not that 46 percent don't pay taxes, but that Romney characterizes them as victims who don't take responsibility for themselves and are always looking for a handout. It is clear that he doesn't think he will represent them as president. The  majority of these people are poor and simply do not qualify to pay income tax.  The rest consist of people with tax breaks, small businesses, and retirees. 

This, of course, only includes Federal taxes.  It does not include things that the 46 percent do pay taxes like payroll tax, state tax, sales tax, property tax, etc.  I am sure that most of the poor would much rather be making enough money to pay tax rather than living with what they must.   Many have  suffered job loss or devastating illness or lack the training to do more.  It was for them that the safety net was created.  Yes there are some who are lazy and take advantage of the system, but my guess  is that this is a very small group.  I don't think there really are millions of people who want no responsibility for their lives.

This brings me to the idea of people who follow someone who is against their best interest. They vote Republican because they are, well, Republican.  They vote Democrat because they are, well, Democrat.  Such logic makes no sense to me.  It makes no sense to me that anyone would vote for someone who clearly has no interest in what they find important simply because they dislike the other candidate.

I've heard the argument that we should be better recovered because after all Obama's party controlled the White House, the House and the Senate for two years.  This argument of course ignores the filibuster rule in the Senate and the majority of 60 which is still a curious rule to me.  But I will let that pass for now. Yet using that same logic, in 2010 we gave the house back to the control of the Republicans and several of those seats were filled by the Tea Party candidates. So my question is: Since the Republicans have controlled the House for two years now, what have they done? Other than voting 33 times to repeal a law, Obama Care, which they cannot repeal in the Senate nor override the President's veto, what have they passed that would help people get back to work?  What have they passed that would reduce the deficit?  What have they done to loosen up the trillion plus dollars that Wall Street, big corporations and bankers are sitting on so that top down economics might actually work? (I would point out that there is zero proof that trickle down has ever worked.) I am not talking about something that actually became law; just something they passed in the house and sent to the senate.

I'll wait....
Still waiting....

Oh yeah, the Ryan Budget.  Let's see that's the budget that raises defense spending,  cuts medicare fast tracking it to premium vouchers, cuts/reduces education, medicaid, food stamps, research, science like space technology, transportation (infrastructure), natural resources and the environment. It was bad enough that ten house Republicans actually voted "no" on it in 2012 and had no chance of passing the Senate or being signed.  Another useful vote.

So what else?
I can wait...

The Republican controlled house has struggled to pass any significant legislation.  They held the debt ceiling hostage causing a downgrade in the US credit rating. They walked away from Simpson-Bowles. I know they want to blame Obama for that - and in all honesty Obama should have probably used the bully-pulpit a bit more - but the committee never passed the plan and so it never crossed Obama's desk.  They signed a no new tax pledge, not really a law though.  The have never allowed a vote on the jobs package.

The congress, both house and senate, has in fact produced fewer laws and appropriations bills than any other congress since records have been kept. Those records started with the 80th congress of Harry Truman.  The 112th congress, in 2011, sent just 62 bills to be signed to the President.  They are the least productive congress in history having a productivity rate that is half that of the next least productive congress.  Even the divided congress of Bill Clinton vs. the Republican Congress of Newt Gingrich passed 333 laws.  It is the most unpopular congress  since polling began.  What is more, it is the most divided congress since Reconstruction.  I can understand voting to repeal health care once or twice since they promised to hold a vote in 2010...but 33 times? How do you feel about a Senator who's stated primary goal was not jobs, budget, or economy but to make Obama a one term president?  Somehow, I just don't think his priorities are the same as mine.

And what of the Democrat controlled senate? Since 2009 they have failed to pass a budget.  In 2010, they had one up in committee which was never brought to the floor, but since then they have not even bothered.  They have refused to even bring up Obama's budgets creating the odd occurrence of the House bringing them to the floor so they can say that not even Democrats would vote for Obama's budget.  Yep..a political ploy, Obama really has sent budgets to congress.

Together Democrats and Republicans failed to act on infrastructure or even pass a five year plan which had been the norm.  And then there was the FAA funding failure.  The cost until they sorted it all out was $350 million dollars in uncollected airline taxes alone.  This is followed by the failure of the Senate to approve appointees.  The Federal Reserve needed a few members. The Senate Committee on Banking, led by Republican Richard Shelby blocked the appointment of MIT economist Peter Diamond.  While awaiting approval, Diamond would win the Nobel Prize for Economics.  Diamond removed his name from the nomination list.  Shelby it seems wanted pay back for the Democrats blocking Bush's appointments in 2007.  In fact the Democrats played this game in 2007 approving about 75 percent of Bush's appointees.  In the same time period and as a ploy to get even Republicans have blocked about 57 percent of Obama's appointees.

This is a game we can no longer afford. Who says that political parties in congress have not attempted to place roadblocks to the recovery every step of the way. I have one thing to say...get to know your congressman and what he or she has done and then use your vote and your voice to remind this person who is in charge.

So my questions remains...why would you vote for anyone who has done so little to represent you?  The taxes on the wealthy vs. the tax cuts for everyone  barely scratches how dysfunctional congress has become since what has become known as the Tea Party takeover.  The Tea Party originally bragged, when it started, on several news shows I watch that it was a grass roots movement including conservative Republicans and Democrats.  They seem to have dropped the Conservative Democrats from the party or perhaps they just converted them.  The conservative movement though has had two years...what have they done?

By the Way if you haven't watched the Romney video, you should.  It's not just the 47 percent remark; it is clear that he thinks very little of anyone who was not at the $50,000 a plate dinner.

(stats from and and