Our nation has been facing major problems for over four years now and Congress has done next to nothing to address any of them. We continue to experience unacceptable levels of joblessness, the cost of health care and health insurance continues to rise, and we have done nothing to address the threat of climate change, or to shore up financing for Medicare and the Social Security system.
If you (like me) are tired of gridlock and inaction and want to see the federal government actually do something to address our problems, my advice is to embrace partisanship. In November, I will be voting a straight party ticket for the first time in my life.
Republicans have been unified in their opposition to nearly every proposal put forth by President Obama and the Democrats. And the Democrats need to be just as unified in stopping the Republican agenda. Give the voters a clear choice between the competing agendas of the two major parties and a compelling reason to move beyond individual candidates. This will make it easier for voters who want a Congress worthy of our approval to ignore the attack ads, the polls, the exchange of sound bites that pass for debates, and the media’s insistence on reporting elections as if they were sporting events.
Focus instead on the legislation each party has introduced and supported. Decide which party you believe will address the problems and issues of most concern to you in a manner that you believe will be most effective. Then vote a straight party ticket.
You should support Republican candidates if you believe:
* The best way to create jobs is to give more tax breaks to wealthy “job creators” (because they just don’t have enough money to invest as things stand) and to deregulate Wall Street, banks, and large corporations (because they have proven so responsible and trustworthy in the past).
* The Affordable Care Act should be repealed. Private, for-profit insurance companies should control health care and decide what doctors you can see and what treatments you will receive.
* Climate change is a hoax, or is not caused by human activity, and we can go on burning fossil fuels indefinitely without suffering any consequences.
* Money earned from buying and selling stock should be taxed at a much lower rate than money earned from working.
* The best way to “save” Medicare is to privatize it. Instead of comprehensive health care, give senior citizens (who have paid into the system throughout their careers) vouchers to use toward the purchase of health insurance from private, for-profit companies.
* The best way to save Social Security is (you guessed it) to privatize it. Instead of a guaranteed income in retirement, let senior citizens take the money that has been deducted from their pay throughout their careers and try their luck at the casino known as Wall Street.
You should support Democratic candidates if you believe:
* The government should reduce unemployment by providing the funding necessary to put people to work repairing our infrastructure and developing clean, renewable sources of energy.
* Global warming is caused, at least in part, by human activities and we should be working to develop alternatives to fossil fuels.
* The Affordable Care Act should be retained because it will make health insurance more widely available and put some limits on what private, for-profit health insurance companies can do.
* The Bush tax cuts for those earning over $250,000 per year should be allowed to expire, while the cuts for those earning less than that amount should be retained.
You should join the Democratic Party and work within the party to see it become even more pro-active, if you (like me) would like to see our government:
* Become the employer of last resort, putting unemployed workers back to work in programs similar to the jobs programs of The New Deal.
* Put most of those workers to work developing clean, renewable sources of energy.
* Add a public option to The Affordable Care Act to truly reduce the cost of health insurance.
* Tax income from wealth (stocks, dividends, interest) at the same rate as income earned by working.
* Save Social Security by removing the upper limit on income from which the tax is collected.
We can’t afford to wait any longer to elect a Congress that will address the problems we face as a nation. Bipartisanship and compromise are dead. If we want a more effective Congress, we must embrace partisanship.