No Room for Compromise

Congress argues Living Wage vs. Death Tax, but it ain’t about what’s good for the country that matters, it’s about what gets politicians re-elected. 

August 4, 2006 — I received an invitation from Senator John McCain today to give my opinions on major issues of the times through his Straight Talk America program.  As an outspoken political activist that tends to lean more to the left, I have no idea how I got on his mailing list, but I was happy just the same to respond.  I was even quite happy to contribute the requested $15 to defray distribution and tabu- lation costs.  I made my contribution, not as a PAC member, but simply as a concerned, supportive citizen who is impressed with this Senator’s emphasis on reforming the way business is done in Washington.

As I was filling out the questionnaire this evening, I got to thinking about the shameful way our lawmakers squander legislative opportunities, especially during an election year, arguing over partisan issues on which neither side will budge just to appease their constituents.  The proposal for a Constitutional amendment to define marriage as being only between two persons of the opposite sex is an obvious example.  Advocates always knew there was insufficient support for this with decent on both sides of the aisle.  Dead-on-arrival bills like this are given floor and media attention at the expense of more critical problems such as immigration reform.

In what would seem to be a rare case of compromise on Capitol Hill, the House of Representatives voted last week to give some of the lowest-paid American workers in this country their first raise in nearly a decade, a decade in which politicians voted themselves pay increases ten times.  But the bill they passed also included a big tax cut for some of the country’s wealthiest, cutting estate taxes, derided by Republicans as a “death tax,” and extending several other tax cuts popular among wealthy campaign contributors.  The estimated cost to the government for these tax cuts, According to a Chicago Sun-Times news article, will be about $310 billion over 10 years.

There was a bitter debate leading up to an early-hour vote Saturday, the 29th of July, according to the Chicago Sun-Times article.  The bill, which would raise the current $5.15-per-hour minimum wage in three 70-cent steps until reaching $7.25 in 2009, finally passed 230-180.  But I personally doubt the bill will ever become law.  House Democrats, as well as Republicans, know the minimum wage provision of the bill will never pass the Senate where the idea of wage increases face stiff opposition.  Both sides, in my opinion, just wanted to look good to their constituents before leaving Washington to begin a five-week summer break that will give members time to campaign for re-election.

So, it’s business as usual…

Let me again raise to my readers’ attention, the only solution that seems to make good sense: Congressional term limits.  For more information on this grass-roots initiative, visit Americans for Limited Government.

To post a comment, click on the tiny COMMENTS word below.

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Published in: on August 4, 2006 at 2:01 am  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Kent,
    Someting I read said
    Right wing, left wing -if the wings of an eagle keep on fighting each other the bird cannot fly. I tell people when they ask me where I am politically that I am none of the above. As far as I can tell ther is no difference. If they continut to just fight one another, call one another names, and keep legislation from passing just to beat the other side or to get re-elected, we will stay in the mess we are in. I saw something that said that we thought the dip sticks were in our cars but actually all the dip sticks were in Washington.

  2. Where did we go wrong when we elected these individuals as our congressmen/women? The idea of minimum wage going up is actually a very fair thought. I recall my first job I ever had in the summer of 1976. I was making the then minmum wage of $2.15 an hour. With everything going up, you would think that a modest increase of the minimum wage would not be to far out. Yet, we still have people struggling month to month to make ends meet!
    We can only hope that the attitudes and values might change. Until then, let us keep on keeping on!

  3. Responding to the last two “No Room for Compromise” comments, I think both have a lot to say about how American’s perceive politicians these days. As I recall, in a recent “who-do-trust-most” survey that was published in a national magazine such as Newsweek or Times, I don’t recall which, Americans rated politicians either just ahead or just behind used car salesmen. But, I don’t think that Washington’s inability to function has as much to do with the people we elect as it does with the system that has evolved since the Founders originally conceived it. They’re only human after all, and are we not all filled with ourselves? Washington, himself, did not believe that presidents should serve more than two terms, and this was long before the 22d Amendment. For what it’s worth, I don’t think legislators should either.


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