Friday, October 22, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
TEA PARTY ANGER
All voters should be angry. But not at the main tea party targets: big government spending (not really big enough); increased taxation (but the stimulus bill cut taxes for 95% of Americans); over-regulation (weak regulatory oversight has been more of a problem). Here are the major targets of justifiable anger:
Money and Politics - Without public financing, there has been no solution to the problem of the vast sums needed to run for office. Members of Congress must spend an inordinate amount of time raising funds and are in varying degrees beholden to those who provide the money.
Wall Street - The banks, investment houses, and mortgage brokers. With their sub prime and unsupportable mortgages and gossamer credit instruments, they, along with greedy housing speculators, brought us the real estate bubble and near collapse of our financial system.
Jobs and the Economy - The economy's free fall in 2007-2008 meant the loss of millions of jobs. The government stopped the losses, fostered many more jobs, but has not yet ended the job shortfall. The blame for failure to do more can be both White House timidity and Republican intransigence, but the existing anger is at the Democrats.
Dysfunctional Congress – Republican filibuster threat prevents much legislation that would be a benefit for our country. Over 400 bills passed by the House await Senate action.
Stimulus Bill - Did good work, saved jobs, created jobs, but not big enough and should have been better targeted, e.g. more government infrastructure projects and direct Federal employment, White House should have directed legislative process and should not have promised so much from action that was not large enough.
Health Care Reform – Good legislation but not good enough and with little cost reduction. Again, fault the White House for lack of direction, anemic public option effort, etc.
Finance Reform - Also not strong enough. White House should have been more pro-active in pushing for stronger measures.
TARP - Started by Bush administration, successful in stabilizing capital markets (and profitable for government), but flawed in permitting outlandish executive bonus payments and letting AIG pay the banks 100 cents on the dollar.
Supreme Court - Notably, the Citizen's United case permitting corporations to do unlimited campaign advertising. Unleashing of huge corporate funds will distort and subvert elections.
Failure of Congress to force disclosure of all sources of political contributions and advertising - because of Republican opposition.
Income inequality and shrinkage of middle class.
Failure of political leaders to speak out - when their candidates make outlandish statements such as denying man's role in climate change, claiming Sharia law in effect in Dearborn, Michigan, and no separation of church and state.
(Disappointments, if not anger: Failure to get cap and trade or other major green legislation; failure to close Guantanamo; failure to end DA/DT or Defense of Marriage law; failure to move on immigration reform; failure to act against those responsible for torture; etc. )
There are probably other legitimate targets for voter anger (concern and political action a better course; certainly not wild anger with Hitler signs), but these provide ample reason to vent and vote.