Spring has sprung and a young man’s fancy or whatever. Everyone is working on their yards and airing out their basements and eaves. We all would love to be out playing golf. Soccer games seem to happen at the most inopportune times. Things could be worse. And of course everyone has their dreaded “To Do” list. Please don’t tell me you really like it but we know it is just something you have to do to keep ahead of the weeds. If you don’t it builds up from year to year and sooner or later you are overwhelmed. Hmmm.
Well gang, the boys and girls in DC are back from one of their 14 or so recesses that occur throughout the year. They will tell you that have to get home to take care of business in the state. You know, press the flesh. In some quarters that has taken on a whole new meaning lately. Bear with me for a moment but if they take their marching orders from special interests why do they have to go back to the old sod so often?
If my math is correct we have about five months until elections. 150 days. About 3600 hours. By my way of thinking that should be taken up by the people’s business. I know they are short on attention, gumption and critical thinking so I have taken the liberty to make up a list for our revered pols. I hope you will let me know if I hit the right buttons.I am sure you could add your own. To make it real simple I have prioritized them to make it a no brainer. Consider who we are working with.
Let me confuse the issue even more by saying I don’t care what they decide. Just do something. The infuriating part about the Keystone Pipeline is that Barry won’t say yeah or nay. I have a severe bout of nausea when Big John or Life of the Party Harry won’t bring things to the floor for the vote. Orrin Hatch said there just wasn’t an appetite for tax reform right now. Are you friggin’ kidding me?
Immigration…this is at the top of the list for me simply because we have been hashing this over for at least the last ten to twenty years. We have proposed, studied, analyzed to death. You do one of two things. Either you throw everyone out or you make a sane and cogent way for them to stay here. The bipartisan bill makes sense but if it doesn’t, line up the busses. Just do it.
Entitlement Reform…We have to raise the retirement age to 67 and maybe higher. There is a proposal to do that over 30 years but AARP is railing against it. You have to raise the maximum salary to pay in from the current $117,000 to $200,000. You have to means test Social Security as well as Medicare. Guess I just lost a lot of my readership. The whole thing is on death watch. If you don’t want it then euthanize it and put it out of its misery.
Infrastructure…You have to be blind to not know this is critical. Roads, bridges, airports, utilities of all sorts from water to power to sewer need rehab or total rebuilding. The first piece via the Highway Fund is to raise the gas tax. It hasn’t been raised since 1992. The fund runs out of money this summer. I think we should make them all hold their sessions on the worst bridge in the country and then pray for rain.
Tax Reform…Simpson Bowles laid out a blueprint for action almost four years ago. No one even looked at it or considered it. Nada. Zilch. It would throw out carried interest, corporate welfare and bring some sanity to our tax code. The brass have been looking at this for years and say it is too big to tackle…at this time. When the hell is the right time?
Just these four items. These aren’t nice to do things. They are four programs that are essential to our operating as a sound and thinking entity. Sure it is going to hurt in spots. Yes, you are going to ruffle feathers. But TTG it’s an election year. Precisely. You should know where they stand at this very moment. Not pandering and sidestepping but what side of the fence are they lined up on.
We speak of human capital. Think of the hours of committee meetings and BS that take place on the Hill 24/7. Think of the duplication of effort. That is why I keep this list small, simple and to the point. Can you in any way fathom how much negative energy has gone into all these deliberations if they can even be called that?
Let’s call it our “Final Four” instead of a “TO DO” list. That should make it more appealing. The reason I chose “Final” is because this should be the test you are graded on. No letter grades. Pass or fail. I hope we have someone who reads my musings who can get some news wonk wound up on it. I would love to see a growing tide of disenchantment from the Fourth Estate. Liberal or Conservative? Who cares? Let’s show these clowns we can get something done. Maybe they will get the message.
Ted The Great
There are approximately 11 million illegal immigrants in the US. 75-80% are from Mexico and Latin America. The most are in California, Texas and Florida with the total of those three states alone coming to 5.5 million.
There are 21 standing committees in the House and 19 in the Senate. All told there are over 200 committees and subcommittees. These are fiefdoms that can lock up a lot of good ideas “in committee”. If they get through, the Speaker of the House or the Majority Leader in the Senate has the sole discretion to send it to the floor or not. Creativity is a dirty word. They will tell you it is part of the deliberative process.
Simpson Bowles issued their report in November 2010. Paul Krugman, Paul Ryan and Grover Norquist are opponents. With that range of negative opinions it has to be good.
The federal gas tax is 18.4 cents per gallon. It was last changed in 1992. The price of a gallon of gas at that time was $1.13.