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July 28, 2014

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Sun Editorial:

American dream 2.0

If the country is to move ahead, politics will need to change in 2013

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To start 2012, we wrote this on Jan. 1:

“We certainly hope the new year will bring better news — significantly better. Recently, there have been signs that economically things are improving, but there is still a long way to go. The question is if the nation will see any significant progress over the course of this year.

“It will be difficult to make much progress because this is an election year and much of the nation’s leadership will be enmeshed in election-year politics. Work in Washington, which has been painful to watch, could grind to a halt, particularly if the parties think they stand to benefit by pushing things off until after the November elections, when they might win control of both Congress and the White House.

“But waiting for the elections would be a major mistake, as would continuing politics the way they played in 2011. The country is in need of change.”

Here we are at the end of the year, and the election is over. Yet things haven’t changed much. Although the country has continued to show signs of economic improvement, politics is still gridlocked and, in many respects, only seems to be worse.

Witness the “fiscal cliff” negotiations coming down to the last minute. This is a matter that could have been handled a year ago — even weeks ago.

But here we are, facing another avoidable crisis because of the dysfunction in politics.

Part of the problem is that there is no room to negotiate. Everything seemingly has become a matter of non-negotiable principle, whether it’s taxes on the rich or spending programs. Thus, there’s little to discuss.

Look no further than the House of Representatives, which has taken an all-or-nothing approach that some political analysts have compared to Britain’s Parliament. The result is an artificial crisis and lawmakers walking away from finding solutions for important issues.

Given the way Speaker John Boehner, who leads the fractious Republicans in Congress, has handled negotiations with President Barack Obama, there’s little hope that will change any time soon.

In our first editorial of the year, we wrote this:

“We’re not naive enough to think that in a campaign year things will dramatically change. But we do hope that in this coming year the nation’s leaders and those running for office will pause long enough to consider how the election-year politics are — or aren’t — playing out for the average American.”

Most politicians claim to represent the average American or the middle class, and in 2013, we’d love to see them act like it. If they did, they would realize that Americans aren’t tied to a rigid ideology; they just want to see things work.

They want their children and grandchildren to have a better future than they did. They want them to live in safety, get a good education and have a chance at the American dream. They want to see the economy boom and everyone prosper, not just the richest of the rich and the big corporations.

The bottom line is that the political fighting has done nothing to push the nation forward. In 2013, the question is whether Washington will see a change that champions the cause of the middle class, which is really the cause of America.

We can only hope so.

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  1. Well said, I couldn't agree more.

  2. Future exemplifies the problem written in the editorial so well.

  3. Future argues that the the negotiations on the "fiscal cliff" (actually, a political ploy...) were hampered when "Obama and Reid ran out the clock by staying in Hawaii until just before New Years Eve." An interesting viewpoint.

    1. I've found nothing to indicate that Harry Reid went to Hawaii. I'd appreciate a reference.

    2. Obama did actually join his family on vacation in Hawaii, leaving Washington on December 21

    3. The House recessed for its own Christmas break on December 20 - while the President was still working.

    4. The Senate left town on December 2.

    5. As I write (1122 am, Dec 30) the House STILL is not back in session, although both the Senate and the President were back in the office on Dec 27.

    It's clear where the down time is. Neither the Senate nor the President can work effectively while the House is off on vacation, although this year they've been trying.

  4. Reference my point #4: scratch "Dec 2", should be "Dec 21."

  5. Military spending was renewed in it's entirety and continues to constitute half our the federal government's spending. The wealthy still choose all our politicians and our elections are still won based on who has the most powerful campaign donors. The only fiscal divide that matters is the one between the wealthy and the poor and that one only continues to get wider while politicians and the media refuse to even acknowledge it exists and could be fixed. So, nothing has changed.

  6. So, the U. S. House of Representatives seems to be the major stumbling block. The House Republicans seem adamant that they will not support a tax increase for the wealthiest 2% or even the wealthiest 0.2% as in the so-called Plan B. Meanwhile 98% of us are left to wonder "How about us".

    It seems we have elected too many Congressmen who are more interested in being right than in doing anything right.

  7. Not mentioned is the collapse of the world order thanks to evil countries like Syria, Iran and North Korea. One already has nuclear capability, another is closer, likely spring and/or early summer 2013 if Israeli and US Intel are correct, and another plans to use/using chemical warfare on innocents. Where's the USA and other countries? Where's the leadership? Non-existent. It's a repeat of the 30's and 40's all over again. That got us WW11 for waiting and waffling. What will this bring?

    CarmineD

  8. Things won't change in politics until they're forced to; this from the members of Congress, The Senate, former Presidential Cabinet members and other noted citizens who last year made repeated appearances on MSNBC urging us to use the internet to gather the overwhelming public opinion they deem necessary to force campaign funding reform. Witnessing their efforts and recognizing the will of my neighbors I envisioned such would become a done deal and I suggest that it would have had not 99% of our media failed to pick up their message and carry it to citizens. As such we must once again strip news media ownership from those whose control poses flagrant conflict of interest. The ownership makeup of our nations media is as big a disgrace as is our campaign funding method.

  9. If America is to more forward, bias and prejudice must be eliminated. At the very least, actions is needed to remove those people in position of authority who display in words and actions in treating people differently in an adverse manner, who do not look like, or act like the people in the majority in America.

    Not only will politics changes, America will change.

  10. Carmine...you routinely align yourself with the "reduce taxes, cut spending" crowd yet here you are asking what we are going to do about Syria, Iran and North Korea. The Chinese have already made it abundantly clear that North Korea is off-limits. The Israelis would like our imprimatur to start a war with Iran and let's not pretend that it will be only limited strikes using advanced technology as we well know how that will turn out. Syria, if we intervene, has all the potential to expand conflict in the Middle East drawing us more deeply into the quagmire. But let's say that we should. How do you propose to pay for this expansion? No tricks now, Carmine. No obfuscation. No mealy mouth projections. Who will pay for the trillion dollar plus addition to our debt for these little adventures?

  11. ...To be clear, voting is the action needed to remove those who are not working in the best interest of all Americans.