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DAVID ROSMAN: Republican gridlock is all about image, not helping American people

Wednesday, December 1, 2010 | 12:56 p.m. CST

Do not blame me. I tried to keep this from happening but failed. Maybe we should blame Rush, Sarah and Karl for their superior propaganda work. Maybe we should blame Barack, Harry and Nancy for their lack of the same. But, do not blame me.

Washington is all atwitter (the emotion, not the networking site) concerning the 2010 lame-duck session and the expectations for the 112th Congress. The country is on the road to gridlock, making New York’s Long Island Expressway look like a ride in the country.

Here are the key issues: tax cuts, unemployment benefits and the “new” Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.

Should the United States and Russia have nuclear arsenals that can destroy the entire planet 500 times over? 100 times? How about 10 times? No? So why are our conservative senators delaying a vote on this treaty that will reduce the number of nuclear warheads and allow for better verification? It is not for the salvation of man.

The conservative leaders of the Senate, the branch of Congress that gives consent and approval of treaties (Article 2, Section 2, clause 2), are claiming there has not been enough discussion. With more than 30 committee hearings and more than 900 questions asked? Not enough? Try the Internet. You will find more information concerning new START than Carter has little liver pills. So, what is the problem?

The Republicans do not want to give the Obama administration a “win.” That’s it. It has nothing to do with national or world security. It has nothing to do with the human race. It has to do with image.

If you are interested in the numbers and summary of the new START, see the proponent’s position at the Union of Concerned Scientists' website and opponent’s position in The Economist ... wait a minute. Even this ultra-conservative publication is repeating, in nicer terms, what Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., and his gaggle of followers: idiots!

How about unemployment benefits? Do conservatives have the semblance of a heart? The gang of 143 conservative House Republicans think that providing additional benefits for the 9.6 percent of unemployed Americans “provides nothing other than a free ride.” What’s wrong with this statement? The Wall Street Journal estimates this will affect 2,000,000 Americans come January 1.

The conservative millionaires in Congress seem to think that the unemployed are sitting on their butts, guzzling beer and watching reruns of “Leave It To Beaver.” The Gang of 143 wants to block the bill that would improve the economy, allow citizens to keep a roof over their heads, and buy groceries and clothes for their families.

Why? Because the conservatives do not want to give the Obama administration a “win.” That’s it. Nothing to do with the economy or national debt. It has to do with image.

Finally, the expiring Bush tax cuts. Yes, we all benefited from these cuts, so what’s the problem? The Republicans are fighting for the top-tier earners to keep their tax cuts.

Christiane Amanpour talked with Warren Buffett, Bill and Melinda Gates and Ted Turner on ABC’s “This Week” about the responsibilities for those of great wealth. Buffett said the rich can certainly afford the 2 to 3 percent tax increase and, “There is no (real) sacrifice among the rich,” including not helping those who are in need.

In order to keep the cuts for 98 percent of Americans, the Republican leadership is demanding the retention of the cuts for the upper two percent, those making $250,000 and above. If the Democrats refuse, then all of the Bush era tax cuts will expire and our taxes will go up.

Why? Because the conservatives do not want to give the Obama administration a “win.” That’s it. Nothing to do with the business or helping neighbors. It has to do with image.

Image does not put food on our tables. Image does not keep a roof over our heads. Image does not help find jobs. Image only causes confusion of the real issues. Melinda Gates said that with wealth comes responsibility. Where is the conservatives’ sense of responsibility? Try to find it, I dare you.

David Rosman is an award-winning editor, writer, professional speaker and college instructor in communications, ethics, business and politics. You can read more of David’s commentaries at InkandVoice.com and New York Journal of Books.

 


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Comments

Christopher Foote December 1, 2010 | 4:44 p.m.

To add further credence to Mr. Rosman's point vis a vis Republican partisanship, the Republicans have stated they won't extend unemployment benefits unless the costs are offset with spending cuts due to debt concerns (wink, wink) but they would be open to a compromise if the unemployment benefits were tied to an extension of all the Bush tax cuts. No spending cuts needed with that deal! Note the unemployment benefits will cost $60-65 billion, whereas extending the tax cuts for those making over $250,000 will cost $700 billion over the next 10 years (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/08/0...). It is unfortunate that a major political party in American politics could put forth such a brazenly incoherent argument and garner support from not only their media operatives but also a sizable minority of the American populace. Maybe their argument makes more sense if you're on Oxycontin.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz December 1, 2010 | 11:30 p.m.

David, at what point do you think the feds should cut off unemployment benefits? If not two years, three? Five? Life? I was reading a story earlier today, possibly on the Missourian but not sure, about a carpenter from Florida I believe who had been unemployed for two years. The article didn't cover his personal story, but I find it hard to believe that he couldn't find even handyman/piecemeal work during those two years. If that makes me heartless, so be it.

As for the Warren Buffets and Melinda Gates of the world, the Treasury Department is very happy to accept their additional voluntary contributions, no tax increase required.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith December 2, 2010 | 12:26 a.m.

"The people who hold public office today are no better, no worse than the people that send them to public office, and you cannot expect them to be. They are representative of you." - Ronald Reagan (1973)

[Something to think about. Note that Reagan does not specify one political party or the other. Is Reagan's observation also a damning comment on the present state of our society? My answer is that it is.]

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop December 2, 2010 | 12:27 p.m.

Liberals still don't get it. It's been explained to them, but they can't grasp the concept. $700 billion going into the government coffers is $700 billion coming out of our pockets. That will cost jobs and reduce revenue to the government even more. The Dems are counting on spending money they don't already have. Conservatives are not only trying to pull you back from the trough, they're trying to thin you down even more. And what thins the government down helps create more jobs, more wealth for private citizens, which amazingly increases revenue to the government. Now whether or not the GOP has the discipline to reduce the deficit and pay down the debt remains to be seen. They lost their way last time and started acting like big spending liberals. But they know they are on probation now and their constituents are watching them closely. However, the sweeping victory of 680 seats at all levels of government on November 2nd says the public wants to try it the GOP way.

What we do know is that the Democrats would not only spend that $700 billion instead of reducing the deficit, they would create even more debt on top of that.

I'll take my chances with the GOP and keeping my money in my pocket instead of the government's. You liberals always ask how we're going to pay for a tax cut. But you never ask how we're going to pay for increased spending. Of course you don't have to say how. Increasing taxes is always your answer.

I'm all for increasing the unemployment benefits since a large part of the reason why people can't find jobs is high taxes and government spending. But we need to cut $60 billion in fat out of the government to pay for it. I'd start with funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (think of unemployment as being for starving artists), the Smithsonian, PBS, and other nonsensical programs that we can do away with.

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop December 2, 2010 | 12:31 p.m.

John, credible research continually shows that conservatives give a larger percentage of their wealth to charity than do liberals. The research also shows that per person, conservatives give more of their personal time to volunteer work than do liberals.

As you've stated, there is nothing at all preventing liberals from sitting down and writing an additional check to the government. How about you liberals voluntarily paying an additional 10 percent of your income to the government. That should cover the tax increase you think is so necessary.

(Report Comment)
Gregg Bush December 4, 2010 | 5:03 p.m.

Smart Republicans, Stupid Democrats: If Democrats are the big spenders, why do Republican states get the money?
http://www.slate.com/id/2276583/

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire December 10, 2010 | 1:25 p.m.

Hey, I know someone who is all about image. He wrote this:

"Thanks for the kind words. Yes, we may disagree, but we do respect the other's opinion. Unlike some the respondents to this column. Paul and Pundit are well known to me, though I never responded to their miscarriages of editorial privileged. I fear they are the very people I use as examples in my ethics class - those who do not use critical thinking or listening nor research their positions. Unlike George, Karl and me."

And now I must ask if it would be possible for you to say something a little more pretentious, pompous, and self serving next you write a comment. I'm really looking forward to it.

(Report Comment)

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