Tag Archives: change legislation

The Sad State of American Politics

There is a famous Bugs Bunny cartoon that opens with Elmer Fudd walking with his shotgun. He turns to the camera to inform us that he is hunting rabbits. Soon he finds Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, who get into an argument about whether Elmer should shoot rabbits or ducks because there is some confusion over whether it is Duck Season or Wabbit Season. There is a famous exchange where Daffy and Bugs are yelling at each other – “Duck Season!” “Rabbit Season!” “Duck Season!” “Rabbit Season!”

Sadly, this is the state of our political debate. There is no middle ground. There is only Black and White. There is Night and Day. Either you are a patriot or a commie pinko, terrorist-loving traitor. There is no compromise.

Not in a cartoon, but in real life, we saw everyone take similar positions after 14 Americans were slaughtered in San Bernardino, CA. On one side, we have Americans screaming that Obama and the Democrats have been soft on terrorism, and if Obama were truly serious about keeping American’s safe, he would have prevented this tragedy. On the other side, we have Americans shouting at the top of their lungs that this event was 100% predictable in a country where it is easier to purchase an assault rifle than it is to buy liquor in most counties.

The arguments on both sides are so routine and predictable they should be written down on the American Tombstone. “Here lies a Once-Great Nation, but everyone stopped listening to each other.”

Within the last decade we have hardened our positions. The Speaker of the House recently resigned his post – and his seat, which he’d held for 28 years – because one flank of his own party forced him out. The so-called “Freedom Caucus” took the stance that compromise on anything was wrong. There was no give. There was only “our way or the highway.”

While Boehner was less than ideal as a congressman or as Speaker, he has been replaced by Paul Ryan, who is even more extreme. We are going from worse to worser. (Yep, I said worser. And I hope and pray we don’t get to worstest.)

This whole political thing is un-American. America was built on compromise.

I don’t hate Paul Ryan. I think that his ideas would move America in the wrong direction and make it even harder for middle-class Americans to get ahead. Turning Medicare into a voucher program will leave thousands of elderly Americans out in the cold.

On the other side, I like Hillary Clinton, but I don’t think she is a saint. I recognize that not everything she says is brilliant, nor worthy of writing on stone tablets. But she’s smart, experienced and capable. We have to stop making some politicians into saints and others into devils. We really don’t need to elect a saint (think how many of them were fanatics); we need to elect a smart, decent human being who’s a good leader, a good listener, and a good judge of what’s right and wrong, what’s possible and impossible, and what is the best way “to promote the general welfare” of the United States and all its citizens.

Let me focus on the idea of compromise. This is the foundation of democracy. James Madison didn’t think that we needed a Bill of Rights. George Mason left the Constitutional convention because a Bill of Rights wasn’t included. Madison noted that without a Bill of Rights that the Constitution might not pass the states. So, instead of finger-pointing and calling his political opponents anti-American, King George-loving, mulletheads, he sat down and wrote the Bill of Rights based on what George Mason had laid out. By writing the Bill of Rights, James Madison made what may be the biggest political compromise in the history of our nation.
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5 big statements of the week

I found this on Morningstar.com. I thought that it was worth commenting on.

I’d like to take a few moments and go over these five big statements of the week.

  • Let’s start with this report from Moody’s.com. This report attempts to analyze the unprecedented steps that were taken both by the Federal Reserve, Congress and the Bush/Obama administrations in order to stabilize the economy. They use a modeling technique in order to stimulate the economy. They estimate that 8.5 million jobs have been saved. They also estimate that the Gross Domestic Product would be approximately 11.5% lower without the intervention. Wow! Basically, they’re saying that government intervention worked to avoid the Great Depression 2.0. Now, I know that this will not be the last word on this. I find this paper very fascinating. For those who are interested in the economy, please read the whole paper.
  • Just as in the United States, Europe has performed their stress tests on their financial institutions and found that the vast majority of their financial institutions are fiscally sound. From a political standpoint, what else could they have found? Just for a moment, imagine that the European Union announced that the majority of their banks were unable to stand a significant stress. The panic that would ensue would cause distress and the banks will collapse. The purpose of the stress test is to calm the fears of investors.
  • There should be no surprise to anybody that the housing market remains depressed. In my opinion, the housing market has overbuilt and will take several years to alleviate that oversupply. In the meantime, there will not be much building. As I mentioned earlier, the economy has to find another fuel to drive economic engine. The housing sector just can’t do it anymore. This is why I have been pushing green energy.
  • The Democrats are unable to push through comprehensive climate change legislation. There’s almost no Republican support. The conservative Democrats have too much to lose by supporting such legislation. In my opinion, Democrats need to split up this legislation into small pieces. Small portions can pass.
  • British Petroleum has put Tony Hayward up on the shelf. They haven’t really fired him. With the amount of money he is getting, it’s hard to say that he’s really been demoted. He has just been removed from public view. To be honest, Tony Hayward is not the problem. The problem is a sense of entitlement that many of these executives have. The chairman of BP had the nerve to say that they look out for the “little people.” Really? Instead of feeling lucky or deep sense of humility for running a multibillion dollar corporation and taking home a multimillion dollar salary, they seem put out and upset that one of their wells has contaminated the Gulf of Mexico. It is not the person, but the culture that is the problem.