A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

The Wuss Factor

Last week, the latest unemployment numbers were released and no one is happy about them. The White House blames the Republican-dominated Congress for not meeting them halfway on job creation policies. Congress pointed its soiled fingers at President Obama for offering ideas that kill jobs. Actually both sides got it right; they are both wrong.

Oh, I could elaborate on the eloquent philosophy of Stephen Stills, who once sang, “Nobody’s right when everybody’s wrong,” because the current situation in that great sandbox which we refer to as “inside the beltway” is a classic example of this idea. Instead, I may draw on the thoughts of a veteran political operative, former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell. Our ex-state leader has never minced words at any time in his long varied career from district attorney to mayor to governor and sports analyst to party leader. In his current book and subsequent book tour, Rendell has called out both sides for being wusses.

Rendell has explained that both sides are fearful of losing jobs: their own! The Republicans, he says, don’t have the courage to stand up to their base about the issue of reducing the deficit by way of raising revenue (i.e., taxes).  On the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, Rendell states that the Democrats likewise are unwilling to stand up to the senior voters about cutting Social Security and Medicare. 
Ed, from your mouth to God’s ears, and subsequently to God’s fingertips where a bolt of lightning leveled somewhere between the White House and Capitol Hill might prove to both sides that there are bigger issues at stake than just their job security.

The economy is the biggest issue being held hostage at the hands of extremists on both sides. Republicans refuse to listen to ideas about raising taxes on their wealthy friends, believing that spending cuts and only spending cuts will reduce the deficit. If it were only that easy! Even worse is their overall “no compromise” attitude, which may play well to their constituents but brings government to a standstill. Of course, there is a lot to be said for a show of strength, but there is also a strong argument for wisdom. A wise legislator would know what issues to favor and what arguments to make at the right time for the greater good, and which issues to put on the shelf for the time being. I don’t see any displays of wisdom coming from the halls of the GOP-led Congress.

Obama has been taking a lot of flak for his economic policies that aren’t working. I hesitate to use the word failure, because I refuse to believe that we can get out of this economic mess as quickly as we got into it. It took us eight years to bring the economy to these depths. Why does everyone believe that it will take less than four years to climb out? This does not make sense.

The President’s policies may appear to be failing, but have they actually been given a chance to succeed? His signature Obamacare is being torn apart by his enemies, and the damned thing hasn’t even been fully implemented yet. Of course, the President appears to come up short on his “hope and change” programs, but it certainly didn’t help his case when we the people saddled him with a contrary legislative branch.

Rendell is correct about entitlements, if for no other reason than in the spirit of — and here’s that dreaded “c” word again — compromise. Obama and the Democrats need to have a heart-to-heart talk with this country’s senior citizens about their monthly Social Security checks, and their Medicare benefits. Maybe another White House Garden beer summit is in order, although I would send the teatotaler Biden somewhere else if and when it does happen.

Some seniors I know take full advantage of these two “socialist” programs even as they rant and rail against both as being intrusive to their lives. They will shout to the high heavens in agreement with Fox News on these issues, but will they put their benefits where Fox’s mouth is? Granted, they feel entitled to their payments since it was deducted from their paychecks for all those years.
Hey seniors, I have been contributing to Social Security since I was 14. (I worked at a bakery for two weeks before I was sidelined with a hip injury.) I am now 52 and Social Security may no longer be viable by the time I hit 65 (or is it 67?). Whatever! You’ll shout along with your Tea Party comrades that we shouldn’t let the deficit grow for the sake of our children and grandchildren, yet you won’t allow any trimming to the two government programs that add the greatest amount to the deficit. Seniors, WTF?

Of course, I shouldn’t say the government is entirely to blame for our mess. The private sector (i.e., Wall Street) has to shoulder some of the blame for the recession. The same can be said for the economists who get everyone’s expectations high (maybe too high) every month with economic forecasts that turn out to be rosier than originally thought. Then the statistics are released, economists express their disappointment, and everyone’s emotional and financial fortunes follow suit.

Hey, economists, you can’t have Christmas come every month! Perhaps your forecasts should be tempered with some doses of reality and pragmatism. Don’t get everyone’s hopes up so high that nothing short of 100% employment would satisfy the people. 

So, everyone put your fingers down and learn to use the idea of compromise. It’s been shown to work before to get problems solved. We should probably also learn to accept the idea of shared sacrifice for the greater good. That concept pulled our nation out of the Great Depression and got us through World War II. It‘s these concepts that made this nation great not so long ago. If we can’t use these ideas to pull us together, then this country of wusses deserves the governance that we get.

(Thank you for reading.)


Anonymous Janey said...

I too started working at 14 years old -- I washed dishes at a Perkins Pancake House from 5 pm to 5 pm on Friday and Saturday nights. After almost 40 years of contributing to Social Security and Medicare, I damn well expect that they will available to me when I retire. But I believe that at some point, we will need to pick a date and say that any children born after that date will not be included in these seemingly financially unsustainable programs.

June 6, 2012 at 6:04 AM  

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