My Advice To Whomever Has Control of Congress
I have proclaimed in this blog a few times that I consider myself a non-partisan, but that does not mean that I don't vote. I must implore anybody with a civic and social conscience to go vote today.
I am cynical enough to believe that, among the group of politicians now running things on both sides of the aisle, even a change in party control will not lead to genuine governance. Here is my wish list:
1) To Democrats. Please don't spend two years engaging in payback. It would be easy to spend taxpayer dollars investigating the administration and other members of Congress to the exclusion of the serious problems of the day. I believe that this tactic could result in a switch back in 2008. However many seats the Dems gain, it will be because of voter fatigue with the current regime. Unless you rise above, cynicism will take root, suppress turnout in 2008, and you will be right back in the minority. The strategy of just being the anti-Bush party is tired. Get back to the principles that made the party great: social justice, equality of opportunity, and looking out for the poor and working classes.
2) To Republicans. At the time I write this, the polls have not closed, so we do not know if control is changing. It is apparent that the GOP is going to lose a substantial number of seats. Take a lesson. Good conservative values like fiscal responsibility and minimal regulation have been abandoned lately in favor of fiscal piggishness, backscratching, and the curtailing of civil rights.
3) To Both Parties. How about actually meeting? In January, I heard the Republican leadership admit that not much would get done in this election year. So, if action during an election year is off the table, and we have an election cycle every two years, that does not leave much time to get substantive work done. This Congress has the lowest number of days in session since the pre-industrial era.
4) Please Abandon the Class Warfare Strategies. Sorry lefties, the GOP has shown twice now (during the Reagan years and now) that lower top tax rates result in a significant increase in government revenues. The lower taxes have resulted in renewed business investment. The unemployment rate is still well below what was considered to be the natural rate just a few years ago. I could spend a lot of posts on this topic. However, in both of those cases, the GOP has failed to keep a lid on spending. Spending is the problem, not tax cuts.
5) To Both Parties. Please figure out a way to decrease the power of Iowa and New Hampshire. Why do those two states get to pick our presidents?
6) Don't abandon the electoral college. I know that it stings when the candidate with the popular vote is defeated in the college. It has happened four times in our republic's history, and we have still managed to survive and thrive. Getting rid of the college would mean that candidates will only embark on a major city tour, and ignore rural and small-state concerns.
7) To Both Parties. Bring some common sense to the immigration debate. This discussion has totally ignored the evidence of immigration's impact on the economy. The right has reverted to xenophobic platforms, trying to make the working class afraid of all the "brown people" coming to re-conquer the U.S. The left has done nothing but make charges of racism.
8) Show Me. Medicare will be insolvent within 15 years. Social Security is still on its way to insolvency. The bureaucracy at all levels is still woefully unprepared for more terrorist attacks. One out of every three children is born into poverty. Vast numbers of workers are unprepared for the challenges of globalization, not to mention many of our children. You want it. You got it. Rise up and lead. Show us that you can tackle these problems instead of making of mockery of political discourse by trotting out base issues such as gay marriage, Terry Schiavo, and age and class warfare. We are watching.