Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Prequel to the SOTU

     We are stuck. We can't move forward when half of the national legislature is cheering for the failure of the President, and refuses to budge  on virtually anything. In order to move forward, raise the minimum wage, get meaningful immigration reform, and achieve a whole host of other things, we have to clean house, literally. Voters have to vote for a Democratic majority in both the House and the Senate, or else we are doomed to be in the doldrums for the next two years.
   If the Democrats can get a majority in both houses, and move forward with some of the President's agenda, they can be measured by the degree of their success in 2016, and if they haven't succeeded we can throw the bums out, and elect new leadership. But divided government right now isn't working . As one commentator said, " You can't shake hands with someone who has a  closed fist.
     Divided government only works when there is the possibility of compromise, on both sides. When that doesn't work, then it is time to adjust the system, and adopt a more parliamentarian type of government where one party gets to set the agenda., and is then held accountable for it, as in European parliamentary democracies. There is always the No confidence vote if the agenda of the party in control doesn't work.
     But in the US, despite the Dow Jones average doubling from 8.000 to 15,000 from when Obama took office, no one is willing to give him credit for it, and his legislative initiatives are being held hostage by the Koch brothers and their murky alliances and sphere of influence which has poisoned our body politic with tons of money and shadow think tank input which encourages continued gridlock.
     The agenda of the monied oligarchy is to keep their power and ability to dominate the national agenda and maintain a social fabric which is to their liking.
Citizens United lets them do that, by completely corrupting the political process to the point that money is the only
 criteria for congressional eligibility. Bar none. Frankly, that is more than disturbing. It is lamentable beyond comprehension, because all we are left with is the illusion of democracy and a government dominated, owned, lock stock and barrel by the  monied interests that keep a solid grip on the commonweal, and erode the opportunity for the common citizen to advance his economic circumstances.
     The debate over increasing the minimum wage is a case in point. There are those who just philosophically disagree with the concept of a minimum wage. That political fight was fought and decided decades ago. And if we have a minimum wage , and we have had.one  for over 50 years, it should be just that... a minimum (translated living ) wage. It needs to be adjusted from time to time to have relevance. It needs to be fixed, as do so many other things for which government bears a responsibility.  Paralysis in the face of problems is no virtue. Compromise in the face of adversity is no vice. We need to rearrange the political chessboard if we are to succeed at all.