Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What Does "We The People" Mean To You?

Tom Wendorf,
Milton Township Democrats

The Constitution begins, “We the people of the United States. . .” I’ve been thinking a lot about “we the people” lately. Like many others, I feel that our political system is broken. I believe that to examine the cause we need to go back to the beginning.

What does “we the people” mean to you?

Our politicians treat us like we are nothing more than the sum of our entitlements. Take me, for example. I’m an English-speaking white male (which, politicians think, means I’ll vote to keep out the non-white immigrants), middle class (I’m over-taxed, so I won’t vote for new or higher taxes), retired (Social Security & Medicare benefits sacrosanct), homeowner (mortgage-deduction sacrosanct).
Because politicians believe that I will only vote my economic self-interest and their primary interest is re-election, they act like they can’t touch these items. I believe they are selling “we the people” short.

To fix our debt problem and move the country forward, “we the people” must start by defining priorities and the values that drive those priorities. For me, the discussion will be driven by my belief in shared sacrifice, equal opportunity, and service to the common good. We are a country of immigrants. We must create an immigration policy that grows the nation, not one that prevents immigration and punishes immigrants. Increase my taxes, as long as those better off than I share the sacrifice through repealing the Bush tax cuts, eliminating loop holes and simplifying the tax code. Make the needed changes to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. These programs serve the common good. I’ll give up my mortgage deduction, if business gives up their deductions.

I believe we cannot move forward unless every government program is available to change. I believe that every citizen, given the facts, would feel the same. We spend more than we take in. We must elect politicians that understand that “We the People” get it. We are willing to share the sacrifices and work together for the common good to create equal opportunity for all. It’s time to stop defending favorite programs and start talking to each other and our elected officials in both parties about solving the problems we face. Let the discussion begin.

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