Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Foundations of Our Democracy

The fiscal cliff has been averted.  The stock market went crazy with the Dow up over 300 points.  But the look on President Obama's face following the House vote told a different story.  There is a group of Republican House Members who must take a class in United States Government.  These representatives signed pledges to never raise taxes.  Many of those same representatives were elected by voters in their districts because they signed those pledges.  Their constituents should also take a government class.  But we are currently stuck with people in Congress who don't understand that the ability to "compromise" is essential to the success of our system of government.    

Grover Norquist appears on the news networks and keeps these members of Congress in line.  He is most responsible for these pledges.  He has threatened, and succeeded, in defeating any Republican Candidate who defies him.  Many Republicans no longer have the courage to break the "pledge" because they want to keep their jobs and will receive a lot of money to support their candidacy if they play ball with Norquist.  There is huge money behind these "Pledgers" as millionaires save millions by backing this group.  But the efficient operation of our government is the victim as "compromise" becomes impossible.

Courageous Republicans, mostly in the Senate, took on Norquist and the "Pledgers" to get us off the cliff but the biggest challenges remain with the debt ceiling, the sequestration that was delayed and the continuing problem of funding the entitlement programs.  We can handle these challenges if our elected representatives stop signing any pledges and sincerely talk to each other and compromise to get things done and do the will of the people.  What is the "will of the people?"  I think our Founding Fathers framed that answer best when they wrote the Preamble of our Constitution.  But we must fund what our Preamble describes.  If reasonable higher taxes are necessary,  Congress must have the courage to do what is right even if they could lose their job.