Small is Beautiful

This fuss over the Sequester (I refuse to use the Fiscal Cliff term) surrounding the government’s inability to compromise and get something done regarding a previous inability to come to a compromise over our budget and the deficit is getting tiresome. JP, you (and many on the left) constantly make the case that there is no reason to place entitlement trimming on the table. The base of the right refuses to put tax restoration for the rich on the table. I’m tired of the posturing; I’m tired of the saber rattling.

What I want is a government that works. I have an idea how that can happen. Congress can pass the bills that they can agree to. Let’s not fuss about a Grand Bargain, let’s not face off yet about the fiscal cliff. Let’s see, what CAN our government agree on?

· Maintaining low taxes on the middle class

· Infrastructure improvements that create jobs

· Means testing for Social Security and Medicare

· Tax reform on deductions for high income health insurance

· Whatever items the proposals from the left and right have in common.

I’ll bet that passing small bills, each of which should please most of the public, and raise the public’s rate of approval of that sad once-deliberative body. This is the realm of the aggressive moderate.

I know; those things won’t solve our problem; those are the bargaining chips for solving the bigger problems. I say, no they aren’t. When our elected representatives say things like, “I’ll only approve of X if Y happens,” they miss the point. These ginormous bills, which are so complex that nobody, even the Senators and Representative, much less the pundits can’t understand the unwieldy sections, hidden messages, amendments and earmarks. This kind of thing is a prime example of what is wrong with governing in our time. Fight about what you can’t agree on, but get the other stuff done.

One thing this will do is force the public debate to focus on certain topics, expose the fanatics. Then a sensible debate should ensue. Crazy will be attributed to crazy people, with fewer options to spin the truth or change the subject.

This is pipe dream, I guess. Yesterday the Senate couldn’t even pass a treaty whose contents we already follow about the civil rights of people with disabilities. Foes skillfully changed the subject to some fear of the United Nations, as if American leadership in civil rights was a bad thing. Perhaps a bill endorsing apple pie and motherhood won’t pass either.


About Jim

I've been leading outdoor environmental education in the YMCA since the 1970s. I love teaching nature, history, current events, being a dad, fixing stuff, groups, and general thinking.
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