Saturday, October 5, 2013


Congressman Steve Cohen appeared on msnbc this morning to promote a cause that I strongly believe in... a check on the power of Congress to draw its own districting lines.  One only needs to look at the results from the 2012 congressional elections to reach a head scratching conclusion:  State legislatures have drawn the lines in a way that predetermines the outcomes of elections.  Republicans hold 55% of the seats in the house of representatives, while gaining only 46% of the vote.  That is not to say the Democratic state legislatures aren't doing the exact same thing.  

At some point, Americans have to come together and decide what is good for democracy should triumph what is good for your own political party.  Gerrymandering is a proxy for the slide of our society into a defacto dictatorship.  Voters in California rose up to strip the powers of redistricting from the legislature, and more states should be following their lead.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A Continuing Resolution to spend

The United States government has shut its doors.  Congress has been unable to reach an agreement to continue spending...  this time, the Republican house has put at stake a one year delay in the Affordable Healthcare Act.  The problem is, Republicans have aimed at the wrong target.  This politically motivated attack trying to undermine an increasingly unpopular law with the only leverage they seem to have left does little to address independents concerns about the growing debt burden.  What they should be leveraging against is spending targets, demanding spending reductions in a continuing resolution.

Passing a continuing resolution as currently formulated really means let the government grow at its own pace, unchecked by congress.  For many fiscally liberal congressmen, this isn't a bad proposition.  Many on the left believe that the government should be taking advantage of low interest rates to borrow and spend more... increasing the deficit and debt, but perhaps providing temporary relief to the American workforce in the form of new jobs and social programs.  To them, the "status quo" of a continuing resolution looks like an easy win.

The reality is that our nation is drowning in a debt that neither us, nor our children, will ever emerge from.  If house republicans really wanted to make a difference, they would do it by insisting that each piece of the budget was passed one part at a time.  Funding the most important programs would come first... things that everybody agrees are important.  Funding for programs of controversy that can't gain majority support are clear targets for reduction in spending.  If a compromise can't be achieved in those agencies, well then maybe for them, a government shutdown is an appropriate step.

The current shutdown is theatrics only.  Both Republicans and Democrats are equally responsible for shirking the key responsibilities of our generation... and that is simply coming together to find a way to live within our means.