Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Government Needs To Put The Nation's Interests Before Party

By Dale Bowling

President Obama said in his State of the Union address that America expected government  to put "the nation's interests before party". And so this speech addressed things Americans mostly agree about. Yes, we need jobs. Yes, we need tax reform. Yes, we need to do something about how rising health care costs are driving Medicare increases. These are all in the Nation's best interest.

There is little not to like in this speech. It's filled with truisms that none but the most partisan could
deny. Let's explore some of these things that there is a real consensus about in America today.

America thinks background checks for firearm purchases should be implemented. 92% of Americans agree about that. 92%! When was the last time 92% of Americans agreed about anything? It doesn't matter whether you poll intercity communities that are plagued with gun violence or rural sportsmen or suburban gun owners, Democrats or Republicans; the results are the same. The vast majority of Americans want universal background checks.

Who do you suppose is going fight 92% of Americans on this?

Everybody on both sides of the divide think the Sequester is a terrible idea that will hurt the economy. It was devised to prevent Government Shutdown, but cuts to military spending, entitlements and everything else will hurt the economy in the here and now. Lots of studies (most recently the CBO's ten year economic projections) show the Sequester would be responsible for lost jobs and slower growth.

Since the Sequester is so toxic that Congressional Republicans are trying to blame the White House for it now, you'd think this would be an easy state of affairs to fix. Congress gets rid of the Sequester and replaces it with a balanced combination of some revenue increases and modest adjustments to spending (which the majority of Americans polled finds reasonable and fair) and its members go home heroes. End of story.

Why is that not going to happen?

Americans have said over and over again that the elderly and the poor shouldn't be asked to make all the sacrifices needed to bring the Deficit under control. President Obama campaigned on that and won by a very respectable margin. So it should be easy enough to close the tax loopholes like carried interest which allows billionaire Hedge Fund managers to avoid the majority of their patriotic duty tax obligation or end the corporate welfare that companies like Exxon Mobil (which do pretty well without our help) get from you and me.

Isn't that sensible? Is it class warfare to say that everyone should pay his or her fair share? Why is
there a fight on this?

We know that America has almost 70,000 structurally deficient bridges. You probably drive across
some of them. Why are we not fixing them, again?

Scientists universally agree that Climate Change is man-made, an enormous problem and is only going to get worse if we don't do something now. And despite the millions of dollars spent by Big Carbon to confuse the issue, the majority of Americans agree on this too. America knows we're going to have to make sacrifices to make this right and we're going to have to take the lead in stopping climate change if we're going to be successful on a global scale. The results of not acting will be devastating for America and the Planet.

Why does the President have to threaten the Congress to get it done?

We agree as a Nation that all Americans should have the same rights. That women should be paid the
same as men for the same work. That gays should have the same right to marry as straight people. Or that Native American women and gay women have the same right not to be beaten and raped as other women. Why haven't laws confirming and enforcing those rights passed? Who's fighting against them?

Who could not agree that if you work forty hours a week in America you shouldn't have to live in poverty? How is this even controversial?

I am reminded of three quotations here. The first President Obama mentioned at the beginning of the
last night's speech.  Over fifty years ago President John F. Kennedy said that while it was his job to
report on it, improving the State of the Union was the responsibility of everyone.

The second quotation is from Ed Rendell who said at the Democratic Party of DuPage County's Gala
last Sunday that America needed "demand courage" from its leaders in order to make America great.
To that end, I have included the contact information for your representatives in Congress. Many were
there on Sunday, but may like to be reminded in any case.

The third is often attributed to Voltaire, the philosophe and chief polemicist of the French
Enlightenment.  He is supposed to have said, "Common sense isn't so common."

Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth- Illinois  8th Congressional District

Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth
United States House of Representatives
104 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Ph: 202-225-3711

Congressman Bill Foster - Illinois 11th Congressional District

Congressman Bill Foster
United States House of Representatives
1224 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Ph: 202-225-3515


Congressman Mike Quigley - Illinois 5th Congressional District

Congressman Mike Quigley
1124 Longworth House Office Building
Washington DC, 20510

Phone:  202.225.4061




Congressman Peter Roskam- Illinois 6th Congressional District

Peter Roskam
United States House of Representatives
227 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-1306

Ph: 202-225-4561



Twitter: @PeterRoskam

Illinois Senator Dick Durbin

Sen. Dick Durbin
United States Senate
711 Hart Senate Bldg.
Washington, DC 20510
Ph: (202) 224-2152




Illinois Senator Mark Kirk

Senator Mark Kirk
524 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC, 20510

Phone: 202-224-2854




No comments:

Post a Comment