Minority Hostage



I always like to start off with numbers.

Percentage of voters who opted for President Obama in November – 53 percent

Percentage of voters who identify themselves as Tea Party in January – 8 percent.

And yet, we are on the verge of a government shutdown because conservatives in the House are afraid of that 8 percent. Tea Party people are bullying those representatives by threatening them with a challenger in the upcoming primaries if the reps don’t vote how they like on the looming budget/Obamacare issue.

So the country’s economy and credit rating hangs in the balance because of a very slim sliver of the electorate. Hardly seems right. But don’t blame the Tea Party backers, they’ve figured out the primary process and it has worked, at least when it comes to picking candidates — not in the general election, i.e. Aiken, Mourdoch, etc.

The people who are to blame are the moderate voters. They can make a difference but they are often apathetic in the primaries. Why? Because many of them know they’ll vote Blue or Red in the general election regardless of the candidate. It’s that default setting which the Tea Party has preyed upon. Because they’re fired up and are willing to turn out for the primaries, Tea Partyers have the power.

The specter of a shutdown and credit default is, for the most part, theater. Cruz is going full-tilt boogie for the shutdown knowing damn good and well it won’t happen, or if it does it won’t be for long. He knows too that it if it has negative effects, it won’t come back on him. He gets to be the loud ideologue with no repercussions.

Yes, Obamacare is unpopular. Most people don’t want it. But most people, both moderates and zealots, voted for the President in 2012 knowing that he would never repeal his signature achievement. In other words, they want Congress to work together and stop with the non-productive grandstanding more than they want to get rid of government healthcare.

I’d like to think eventually that voters will get sick of the gridlock and push out some of the incumbents who are making it difficult for Washington to do its business. Sadly, that won’t happen. No president’s party has done well in a sixth-year, mid-term election in the past 100 years. No doubt Republicans will hold the House in 2014 and they have a good shot at winning the Senate.

So no change. We’ll get yet another two years of gridlock and inaction thanks to an obnoxious, obstinate minority who has no moral high ground.

To be fair though, it’s not like politicians have ever really cared what the general public thinks, at least not until November.


Wealthy Recession



One of the most interesting things about American culture is the fear that the poor is out to bring us down. Welfare, entitlements, etc. We’re paying for their lifestyle and that’s destroying our country, apparently.

Here’s the thing though, they’re not quite the pariah that some people make them out to be.

Maybe instead we should be focusing on the people who have more control over our economy and access to jobs. No, not the government. I mean the corporate overlords.

We tend to concentrate on social welfare when times are bad. If I have to work for peanuts, I don’t see why they shouldn’t have to work too. They should know how to find a job.

When times are good though, we don’t care

I’m not worried about the welfare queens and the free loaders. I’m more worried about the Enrons, Worldcoms, Bear Stearns and AIGs out there. Welfare “reform” to me, is just a distraction from the true troublemakers in a fragile economy.

Corporate America and small business owners blame the impoverished for their own ills. I fail to see how that’s even possible. Welfare is only a tenth of U.S. budget. (I wonder though, how much in government contracts go to private industry. I’m betting it’s more than what we spend on food stamps.)

The poor is not our problem.

The rich and their exploitation of resources wreak more havoc on the economy and the working class than a mooch ever will. They point to the welfare babies (and now health care)as their excuse for fighting higher taxes.

Essentially, what they’re doing is attempting to dodge their responsibility as Americans, which is to contribute their fair share to the government of this country. Whatever the opinion of government people have, the bottom line is it needs revenue to operate. If you disagree with how it functions, change it. Vote.

What we can’t vote on is how business does business.

One thing we and the government could do is set aside the issue of welfare and start looking at giving corporate regulations more teeth. It wasn’t the borrowers that led to the housing crisis and the subsequent financial quagmire. It was the lenders.

It was the bankers who wanted to make money off the mortgage-backed securities who bankrupted the economy. When they were given bail out money, what did they do? They used it as golden parachutes rather than helping customers with homes underwater.

My feeling on the poor is this: I would rather have a system that is abused by leeches than to have no system at all. I don’t mind paying my taxes even when I know there are people using food stamps and driving Cadillacs.

What I can’t stand is when the rich drive around in Bentleys bought with blood money and profits made through layoffs.

I have no problem with business, I have to say. America is a capitalist system and I support that. Businesses should be allowed to seek profit for their services
and goods. They are the employers and clearly our system works both for them and employees.

But it isn’t the welfare nation that put us in a recession. It isn’t their decisions that sour the economy. They don’t control the purse strings.

Who does though?