Each party almost dies and then is reborn; some thoughts on issues

November 15, 2014

Blogger’s Note: What follows is a slightly revised version of a recent post, deleting a somewhat meaningless intro:

Every time one of our two major political parties suffers a major loss at the polls, the political obituaries are written — that is that one of them is dead or dying.

But they always come back to life.

I think one problem is that neither party represents the just plain middle of the road working people. One party prefers rich people and people who make money out of nothing and on the backs of others and the other party bends over backwards to help people who contribute nothing but does so in the name of helping the less fortunate. So the broad base of the electorate must thrash back and forth looking for someone to represent them.

Currently the Democrats are in shock over losing so big in the mid terms. And the Republicans, who won big time, taking control of the senate and adding to their majority in the house, are in disarray, with the ongoing internal struggle between the party mainstream and the so-called Tea Party.

If we had a parliamentary system the Tea Party might become a power in its own right,  but in our constitutional federal structure we seem to only be able to accommodate two major parties, with an occasional independent lawmaker who still must figure out whether to caucus with the Democrats or Republicans.

I think the Democrats lost because so many people are frustrated and maybe not all for the same reasons. But what else can you do if you are not satisfied with the government you have or the way things seem to be going? You vote someone or some party out and the other in. In addition, maybe some of the incumbents forgot that all politics is local, especially in mid terms. You have to take care of the home folks, and let them know it.

I have little complaint. The economy, I don’t know. My personal economy is fine. That is to say any problems I have are mostly of my own doing and I am resigned to live with that. I am fortunate to have full-time employment and have had for years. Since I am not in the upper tax bracket, taxes are an annoyance I suppose, but not a major problem. I personally think the income tax could be done away with and should be because too much time and effort and expense is put into collecting it and auditing it and so on. And it is highly unfair, in that so many people pay and so many others do not, due to questionable loopholes and downright cheating. But something would have to replace the income tax — national sales tax, value added taxes, as examples.

Foreign policy: I simply think the United States is a superpower and should act like one and that we don’t dare lose that status because then we would lose control over our lives, and there are those who would want to even scores. But we cannot afford to get bogged down in wars and we cannot expect everyone in the world to live like us. We can set the example and let the rest of the world figure out what they want to do. There are times when we have to act in our own interests and we must use everything at our disposal or be prepared to.

Social issues: we are in a time of profound change in social ways and mores. Much of it is good. And really government should not have to be overly involved in the personal lives of citizens. Birth control and sex lives are personal issues and unless there is some compelling public interest they should stay personal.

And I will say this about homosexuality: I accept that it is a fact of life — some people are apparently born that way, and to the extent it does not interfere with the lives of others not so inclined it is a part of personal freedom. But that does not mean we have to promote it in our schools. Children should not be taught to embrace or revile it. They need to be aware of it. It would be nice if politicians ignored it and quit using it as something to distract voters from other issues.

Obamacare: Another thing the Republicans, the tea baggers in particular, use as a smokescreen to cover up their own weaknesses. I mean it is simply a program to provide health care to the American people. Whether it is good one or not, time will tell. And yes, it can be changed if need be. It could even be rescinded in total, in theory anyway. But that would seem to do nothing more than add confusion to something that is already deeply confusing. There is really no such thing as free health care. I mean someone has to pay for it. It is in everyone’s interests to have all of us healthy. And to the extent we can, we should all pay our share. How we go about doing that is a question. But a vote was taken and a bill was passed and we have what is referred to as Obamacare, but is technically called the Affordable Care Act. Those politicians who are so smug and so critical of Obamacare and call is socialism didn’t mind you and I paying for their health plans did they? For my own part, Obamacare has not affected me directly, as far as I know, and I suspect that might be the same with a lot of people. To some, however, it may well have opened up an opportunity to have some kind of a health plan.

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I wrote that preceding paragraph several days ago. About Obamacare not affecting me: I don’t know. I recently made changes to my own health coverage involving the fact that I am on Medicare and that my company insurance premium would jump too high because of my age. So like so many other people, I now have Medicare (for which I do pay a certain amount — it’s not free you know) and a privately-purchased (not from my company) supplement. I noticed that after I changed my insurance information my doctor sent me a bill for my past visit a lot quicker than normally. I have no idea whatsoever whether this had anything to do with Obamacare, but I did get the impression from comments from the office staff that they are not big fans of Obamacare. But I am not on Obamacare. But I think doctors are worried it is just another way of squeezing their own income.

And I have written this before, but we have a dearth of statesmen. We have pretty boys and girls and many blowhards.

Hopefully someone will emerge for the 2016 presidential election who will catch our imagination and who will actually have some substance. I for one would prefer proven experience.

I think we ought to go back to older, more mature leaders. On-the-job training is not a good thing for someone to be leader of the free world. Meantime Obamacare opponents are challenging the Affordable Care Act Law over the wording about federal subsidies. It would take another and more carefully thought out post to explain this one, but I’ll just say that really some people just oppose any scheme that would help who they see as “other people” and not themselves. But in reality Obamacare probably helps more people than it might hurt. And like I said, it can be amended.

 

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