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Friday, January 25, 2013

Politics, as usual.

In the interest of self preservation I embarked on a spiritual journey through recent political history.  Today there are so many vicious accusations, so much heated debate, so many dire, catastrophic predictions, that there seemed little choice.  Surely, things are not that bad.

Since things have changed so much so quickly it didn't make since to travel too far in time.  The 1970's is so distant, and different that it only made sense to start after that.  Reagan's presidency made an ideal place to begin.  There are so many people lionizing the man as the paragon of the modern republican it might offer a little insight into today's political dilemma.

Reagan was a very good president, not because he was a republican, but because he was a brutal pragmatist.  He saw unemeployment rocket to 10% and the deficit roared out of control, so he passed a tax bill that raised revenue, mostly on the backs of the middle class.  At the time of signing it was the largest peacetime tax increase in history.  And, the country recovered, and people were happy and that was his real job.

George Bush, Sr., say what you want about the man, but he was not going to let a little campaign promise get in the way of making the economy stronger, and the country better.  But, he wasn't going to forget his promises to huge companies that spent so much to get him elected.  But, who can blame a guy for that.

Along comes Bill Clinton.  A southern centrist Democrat.  He managed to balance the budget, and was widely believed to be tough on corporate taxes, but (among other things) he did lower the capital gains tax rate from 28% to 20%, he did this because he felt it would aid the country.  That was his main responsibility.

Of course, no body would ever try to accuse the second George Bush as being tough on corporate America.  He thought that was the best course of action in his role as captain of the economy.

A dangerous pattern begins to emerge.  Politicians seem more concerned with people of wealth, large, cash rich corporations, anybody who can throw a little money their way.

I was very sad, my opinion seemed to mean nothing, and my vote was wasted.

All of that changed one warm, fall day last year.  On my doorstep appeared a delightful young man, a member of the local city council.  He had been elected to the school board at 18, and the city council at 23.  He was running for state senate, and smiling brightly asked what I felt was important.  He said the concerns of the common man, the middle class, were his concerns.

I was delighted, thrilled, adrenaline coursed through my veins, and I got a little dizzy.  Here was a politician who wanted to help me.  Thank you, gods of election.

I couldn't decide what to ask for, so I thought quickly about my job, and how the company I was working for was so good to my whole family, in fact the families of every employee.

"I would like to see the NAFTA accord include China, it would help my employers (a locally owned, privately held, small business) so much."

He said that he understood, and felt small business was the catalyst of the whole economy.  "I will do everything in my power to help small business, and my constituents, if elected.”  He promised.

He was elected, and today I checked the progress on adding China to NAFTA.  There was none!

Another political heartbreak.  Bastards.