Category Archives: 2012 Elections

Bipartisan Consensus

The election is done. The votes are tallied. The results are in.

Democrats did slightly better than expected in the national offices.

However, the bottom line is this…
Voters decided to retain the same central government that they have right now. It’s doubtful that was their intention, but it is the result.

The $16.2 trillion dollar question is this:
If you elect the same people to the same high places, will you get a different result?

Wellll… will you, or will there be hopeless ideological gridlock like before?

Here is food for thought…

Bipartisanship: An Example

Disasters make for strange bedfellows.

The interaction between President Obama and Governor Chris Christie is the first truly bipartisan cooperation leading to a positive result this writer has seen between a Democrat and a Republican in 4 years.

Who’d a thunk THAT? In their joint news conference there appeared to be genuine affection between the two political rivals. The last time there was bipartisan action like that at the federal level was in response to another crisis – the utter collapse of the financial system in late 2008.

Americans have been firmly locked in ideological combat ever since. Neither side has given an inch. Neither side looked poised to give an inch now, until Sandy.

What Bipartisanship Accomplishes

New Jersey was devastated by Sandy.

2.7 million customers were without of power; many without water.  Most schools were closed. Businesses closed. The entire Jersey Shore is devastated. We’ve seen the pictures. The state ground to a halt.

Governor Christie talked with political foe Barack Obama 5 times on the phone starting the Saturday before landfall. He took the President on a visual inspection of the damage.

Fast, positive actions followed their words.

At Governor Christie’s request, President Obama arranged this:

  • Cut red tape to speed up relief efforts
  • Coordinated efforts to bring 11,000 out-of-state utility workers  to New Jersey
  • Arranged a military airlift to take their utility trucks  to New Jersey with them, too
  • Arranged $200 million in federal disaster relief funds
  • FEMA sped up their response in coordinating relief efforts
  • FEMA streamlined citizens registration for federal disaster relief
  • Waived low-income housing tax credit rules
  • FEMA set up disaster relief shelters

Among other things.

It is an amazing, speedy and cooperative effort between a Democrat and a popular Republican governor. Christie’s twice daily updates on his state’s recovery efforts is peppered along side items arranged by the federal government.

Democrats and Republicans can work cooperatively together.

Conclusions

It’s easy for political rivals to react to a disaster. Recovery efforts always have been and always will be a bipartisan effort. Also, elections always spur politicians to faster action in a crisis as election day fast approaches.

Sandy relief efforts starkly remind us how little cooperation there has been in the last 4 years.

The dire fiscal circumstances facing this country requires a far greater herculean effort to solve. It is a far greater crisis than a hurricane, even as extraordinary as Sandy.

So… the $16.2 trillion question remains:
If you elect the same people to the same high places, will you get a different result?

The early assessment from the financial sector is in. The DOW lost -312 points yesterday, 2.7% of its total value. It is the largest single day drop so far this year. It is drifting slowly down again today. They believe gridlock will remain.

A report appeared in Bloomberg yesterday suggesting that Obama may levy a carbon tax to cut the U.S. deficit.

It is a terrible idea. It will raise the cost of energy to every consumer and speed the nation ever faster toward recession. It would be economic suicide. That will never fly, even among Democrats, and only rankle Republican feathers more.

Other than raising taxes on the rich, President Obama has made no real proposals to fix the fiscal cliff.

Sadly, unless politicians treat the fiscal crisis like a national emergency, then Sandy will be followed with 4 more years of economic ruin.

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