Crazy letters divide donkeys and elephantsPublished 9:05am Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Column: My Point of View, by Al Arends
Do you really think there will ever be any possibility of Democrats and Republicans working together when certain people write a letter like what appeared in the Albert Lea Tribune recently? It was titled “Republicans are the central issue” and it quoted Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman as saying, “The madness of the GOP is the central issue of our time.”
How can we ever bring about compromise and the ability of people working together when articles and feelings of people are like those things and I am putting the blame on Republicans and Democrats?
Currently, about 37 percent of the country are registered Democrats and 33 percent are Republicans. This varies from year to year and decade to decade. That means there are currently 30 percent in the middle. With that kind of split, it means no one, and I believe no one, gets their way, and that means there will have to be compromise, which is a two way street. Both parties have to give if anything is going to be accomplished. Both sides.
Democrats wonder why Republicans are so against Obamacare (the Affordable Healthcare Act). We have to go back to the first two years of the Obama administration. During that time, Obama did not speak to any Republican congressmen about their concerns. The Democrats put together a committee and designed the Obama Healthcare Act and rammed it through without any Republican input. Now even some of the designers, such as leading Democrat Max Buckos, say it’s a train wreck. I believe that there are some good things in that bill, but as a whole, it is a disaster.
I believe that the Republicans in the House are wrong to try to defeat it in its entirety. They should be taking the good parts and changing the bad parts, but neither party is trying that strategy. The Democrats were at fault not seeking Republican input in a major entitlement program that affects everyone in this country.
We Republicans have to look for a candidate in the next election who is a proven leader. I don’t believe it should be a senator because both parties have not had good success by selecting candidates who make laws rather than the experience to implement and lead like Reagan or Bill Clinton who has had executive experience, is a leader and can work across the aisles. Executive experience means they have had experience in the public or private sector and have worked with all kinds of people, even Democrats and Republicans.
No party is going to get its way entirely. We have a medical program for seniors (called Medicare) that collapses in nine years. The Social Security system is scheduled to run out of money in 23 years. Why are young people having to contribute to these plans that run out of little or no hope of realizing much benefit from? There are solutions if we are brave enough to address the problems.
The interest payments on our debt ($17 trillion) is currently about $250 billion or about 40 percent of total government income. The revenue-less-interest payments may fund Social Security and Medicare, but leave little for the farm program, food stamps, defense, education, foreign aid and many other programs. Why aren’t Democrats and Republicans working on these problems together?
There are two basic differences between the parties. Republicans believe we need a strong private economy with personal responsibility. Democrats believe most of the problems can be solved by bigger government and by redistribution of wealth.
To demonstrate this, the Minnesota Legislature passed a tax bill that increases taxes by $2 billion. A professor in economics said that will take about $4 billion out of the private sector. Can we continually take the hay away from the horse that is pulling the wagon? There is a point where it starves the horse and the horse can no longer pull the wagon. I, like many, think there is too much greed in this country by CEOs, athletes and entertainers. But I am sure that there are many small businesses that make more than $250,000 that will not be able to increase salaries or add workers if we keep levying more taxes on them.
In conclusion, I do know that Republicans will not work with Democrats if we have more letters from writers who are delusional. That works both ways. If we have Republicans who demonize Democrats, we will see the same results in reverse. We do have our philosophical differences, but we have to learn to co-exist in this great country to get something done to solve our problems.
Albert Lea resident Al Arends is a member of the Freeborn County Republican Party. My Point of View is a column written by local Republicans and Democrats.