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August 29, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

Congress must have little to fear

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I used to wonder why our representatives are so cavalier about the country’s fiscal position, the debt and the deficit. I believe most of them know that a financial tsunami is likely headed our way. I now believe that most of them presume they can safely ride out the tsunami, due to the fact that they are much more financially secure than the rest of us. I am not so sure they are correct, but that is the only rationale I can come up with to explain the continued delays and inaction.

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  1. Future is correct to point out that President Obama and D's have not committed to specific spending cuts. However, it is also true that nothing prevents House R's from coming up with their own plan for spending cuts... and they haven't.

    We should all be angry at all the members of Congress and the President as well. As I just said, these people on both sides seem more concerned about themselves than about us.

    Americans can believe Dick Cheney, who said deficits don't matter or Paul Krugman, who says we can just keep printing and borrowing money, if they want to, but I happen to believe both gentlemen are just plain wrong.

    When the borrowing and printing spigot closes, we will all suffer.

    Michael

  2. Mr. Casler:

    It's human nature. Avoid discussion and dwelling on the bad and focus on the good. It works in politics. And this election is proof. Romney-Ryan sounded the alarms loud and clear and people, at least by a slim margin, didn't want to hear it. They preferred the ostrich head in the sand approach of Obama and the Dems. Things are getting better, but just too slowly. Hang in there and trust me, and we'll make it through. Yeah, right! Just like Europe.

    CarmineD

    PS: Cheney said deficits don't matter, it's the percent of deficits to GDP that matters. The last part always gets truncated.

  3. Carmine,

    I'm hanging in here because I have no choice, but I don't think things are going to be OK. Even with extra revenue, the spending cuts necessary now and so onerous that neither party is willing to go on record as supporting specific spending cuts. Both want the other side to 'go first' and when both sides have that attitude, we have a big problem.

    Michael

  4. I totally agree Michael.

    CarmineD

  5. The president andRepublicans have chosen to make entitlement reform and tax rate increases on those earning over $250k the exclusive points in the fiscal cliff negotiations. They seem to be making no headway at all. At this stage it appears that the intractable positions of both sides will lead to the fiscal cliff and sequestration.

    Possibly when that point is reached the parties will wake up and find a short term fix.

    Personally I have come to expect these reactions from both sides.

  6. Again Michael, your touching on the main problem with Congress. Money from Special Interest, Lobbyist, and Super Pacs. They seems to be as one. Let's call it... BIG MONEY.

    First, the extreme House Republicans did not win election with the support from the neighborhood door to door volunteer. Nor did they win with 5 and 10 dollar donations from working Americans. They won because of support from Big Money. Big Money is responsible for placing the Tea Party partisans in the House. They have no fear of Middle America, or John Bohener, or from other House Members, or from voters who mistakenly placed them in office.

    The reality, don't expect an agreement at the end of the year. House Republicans will not change their position no matter the negative affects to the US economy.

    Come December 31, 2012, don't expect an agreement! After December 31, 2012, we can expect an agreement. Why? Simple answer. The extreme House Republicans will vote to cut taxes, not raise taxes. This is keeping with the Grover Norquist pledge.

    Why would extreme House Republicans change position now? All indications point to a "NO" deal this year.

    So, Michael, you are correct, the people causing the economic problems for the US have nothing to worry about. Big Money put them in office, Big Money will help keep them in office no matter what happens to the US economy.

  7. The political game of playing chicken on the political "kick the can" down the political road has got to end! Writer Michael Casler called them out with, "...the spending cuts necessary now and so onerous that neither party is willing to go on record as supporting specific spending cuts. Both want the other side to 'go first' and when both sides have that attitude, we have a big problem."

    Taxpayers/Voters simply cannot stop paying attention just because the election is over. They all need to communicate to our so called "representive" government what their take the problem is, how it affects them, and how they feel it should be resolved. If these representative aren't listening, then "We, the People" are in serious trouble (I suspect this is more the case).

    The state of affairs in the USA government is such, that, no matter which way a decision is made, someone is going to feel the pain and be harmed. There is no real win-win to be had here. Since the Democratic Party has won the Presidential election, and the President is the leader of the country and its people, then it should be up to the Democrats to make the first move, in my opinion.

    Blessings and Peace,
    Star

  8. I've always liked Mr. Casler's balanced outlook on American politicians and he may be correct in his conclusion set out in this letter.
    Watching the "debate" from Canada is very saddening. Both parties seem quite set in stone on their respective philosophies, and I expect that pressure to toe the party line will result in zero progress until the very last minute.
    In my opinion jumping off the fiscal cliff is the only scenario which will truly tweak spending lower, but neither party wants to do that.
    Witnessing Congress in action is much like watching some "dream team" get trounced by an underdog because all the "superstars" care about is personal glory.
    There will be an obscene fiscal tsunami if the can is merely kicked down the road on serious spending cuts and much-needed tax increases.

    Donald Desaulniers (FromBellevilleCanada)

  9. Longtimevegan,

    I agree with much of what you wrote, with one big exception. It is all of Congress, not just the Tea Party and even the President and most certainly both political parties that are controlled by the money and lobbying.

    I continue to point out that when 'we' single out the Tea Party, the R's, the D's, the President as 'the culprit' we do exactly what both parties want us to do and we do exactly what ensures that we get more of what we are getting. They are playing us off against one another.... with great success... for them!

    You're angry. I'm angry. Most Americans are angry! We need to stop picking a boogie man and realize that we need to be angry at ALL of them.

    Michael

  10. Donald,

    The R's say they are waiting for a plan from President Obama. President Obama has made his 'general plan' known. It is for revenue increases of 1.6 trillion and $ 400 billion in spending cuts.

    Obviously, such a plan is woefully inadequate to even begin to address a 16 trillion dollar debt and deficits exceeding 1 trillion dollars per year.

    R's could propose their own plan but don't want to do so for the same reason President Obama proposes his own 'lame' plan.

    Any "REAL" plan would be highly unpopular and the party that proposed it would be vilified by the other party and would be pilloried by the public.

    That's just the way it is since we so foolishly allowed ourselves to be put in this terrible position.

    Michael

  11. Bradley,

    Read my response to the guy in Canada, Donald. That's how I see this. We may go off the cliff, we may get a kick the can down the road last minute deal. What I am sadly confident we WON'T get is a 'REAL' and painful and unpopular deal that has enough tax revenue and spending cuts to really make a start at reversing course.

    Michael

  12. Star,

    I agree that the President should lead, and he has. He has a plan but there is a problem. His plan is woefully inadequate to address the problems. Why? It's the same reason that the R's so badly WANT President Obama to lead. WHICHEVER party is viewed by the public as finally proposing a REAL plan with enough new revenue and spending cuts to make a real difference is going to be pilloried by the opposite party and also be highly unpopular with many Americans. Every member in Congress knows this as does President Obama.

    They are going to play the string out for as long as it goes, and when the music stops, one of the parties is going to find there is no chair to sit in. Temporarily, that party is going to be left holding the bad.

    However, as things here get worse and worse, the party that seems to have 'won' will be treated with the same disdain as the party who could not find a chair when the music stopped.

    We are nearing the last stanza of the song. I hope we are all prepared for when the music stops.

    Michael

  13. It's almost as if this country of ours belongs to just the democrats and republicans at times.It is so clear that some in both parties (not all of them) could careless about what happens to the people in our country.As long as the party survives and they win the next election.

    Working together to solve the nations woes should have priorty over anything else that may stand in the way for moving our country ahead.

    When a congreeeman such as Mitch McConnell stats to other members of his party that we need to make sure that Pres.Obama is a one term President. That is the clearest indication that it's party first and country second.This kind of thinking needs to change.

  14. Sam,

    You are right except that it's both parties, not just one. If it really was just one party that was looking out for their own interests and the other party looking out for the countries interests, one party would blow the doors off the other party at election time.

    Clearly, that isn't happening, which means that self interest dominates both parties.... and that my friend, IS the reason we are where we are.

    Michael

  15. Michael,
    I believe I stated both parties in my post.Not just one.Rep.Mitch McConnell has the clearest and most talked about comment made (making sure OBama a one term Pres.) in reference to party first country second.This statement should cost Mitch McConnell the midterm election.

  16. Sam,

    I did note that in what I read in the letter and I have felt for a very long time that John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Eric Cantor should all be thrown out of office. Whenever I hear any of them speak and appear on TV, it almost makes me physically ill. None of these people have the countries interests as their first priority and to watch them claim they do and say the only reason things are such as mess is 'those other people' is reprehensible.

    Michael

  17. Sam,

    BTW, I would not support McConnell for re-election if he was my Senator, but it would not be because he said his priority was making President Obama a one term President. After all, if we are honest, we all know that replacing a President not of your party with one that is of your party at the first opportunity is one of the highest priority for each of our two parties.

    I would not vote for McConnell because he was 'stupid' enough to go on TV and say it publicly and then compounded the 'stupidity' by repeating it over and over again.

    I do not suffer fools gladly and we certainly have many in Congress, he being one of the many.

    Michael

  18. Future,

    President Obama's plan reportedly calls for 600 billion dollars in 'additional' spending, another 50 billion in 'stimulus' spending next year alone, plus keeping the payroll tax cut in place and raising the high income earner tax rate and the capital gains tax rate.

    The biggest problem with all this is that once all these taxes are raised and you factor in all the additional spending being called for, we will still be running huge deficits and we won't be able to start paying down the debt.

    If the President thinks all this spending is absolutely necessary, then he should be honest enough to say we also have to end the Bush tax cuts for those making under 250,000 dollars and make all Americans with an income pay some income taxes.

    We can't just keep spending more and only raise taxes on some Americans. That math just doesn't work.

    Michael

  19. Chuck,

    Be assured that I think what Reid did to Romney was despicable, but we already knew about the character of Harry Reid. Unfortunately, the R's nominated a far right, kind of strange candidate named Sharron Angle instead of Sue Lowden, who could have beaten Reid easily, I think. Elections have consequences.

    Whatever motivated McConnell to say what he said publicly and then repeat it many times, it was still stupid.

    Michael

  20. Michael,
    I can say that I agree with you on how stupid It was for Mitch McConnell to repeat that saying about making sure Pres.Obama is a one term President,very stupid. There is an old saying "nobody knows what goes on behind closed doors". This will cost him,he did more damage to the republican party than any other republican.

  21. Here is a short video clip that expresses the problem with inequality. It doesn't matter which side it is, each can perceive and inequality of one sort or another.

    http://www.upworthy.com/2-monkeys-were-p...

  22. Let's somehow put this into a globalization reality perspective.

    The circus we call a Congress doesn't seem to realize that the middle class and poor now and in the future must have more equality to prepare to be able to survive in 2050, if they are still alive.

    Sir James Wolfensohn, head of the World Bank 1995-2005, speaks on the projected shifts in world economic power, population, the shifts in middle class by 2050, and the effect on the US and Europe.

    This is the real fiscal cliff.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOwZwkhFe...

  23. Michael,

    Let's go back to the original premise that our elected representatives would be citizen legislators with a life outside and beyond the duties of being members of Congress. That is essentially what we have with our State legislature.

    In the past, it was not that uncommon for a representative to serve one or two terms, then leave office only to come back in a different house for a term or two. In fact there was the case of a President who later was elected to the Senate.

    Today, as you have often pointed out, our elected officials make a career out of staying in office. This flies in the face of what was originally envisioned.

    You have often said you would be in favor of term limits to prevent this. I have a philosophical problem with this, but I can see that it might be the only way to curtail personal ambitions.

    There is one problem with term limits on members of the House, though, that doesn't really apply to limits on the Senate or the President. The entire House would be replaced every two years. This could lead to the even worse scenario that only the lobbyists would know how the system work and could wield even more influence than they do now.

  24. Michael, I see this as an act of political chicken, or perhaps extortion.

    I would prefer the chickens go over the cliff, and the rest of us do what we can to help each other in whatever results.

    There has to be an end to this kind of political behavior.

    Perhaps the new Congress will try to do some real compromise in the interest of the People, rather than the lobbyists and political contributors.

  25. Michael wrote,

    "You're angry. I'm angry. Most Americans are angry! We need to stop picking a boogie man and realize that we need to be angry at ALL of them."

    The American People have two options.
    (1)Vote in, or Vote out politicians.
    (2)Control the Amount of Money to candidates and elected officials.

    Follow the money, and we will know an elected official interest and motivation.

  26. Make your anger be seen on the money!

    http://stampstampede.org/shop/stamp-mone...