November’s Congressional Election
How do you decide whom to vote for? As in all election seasons, our media is full of political ads. Many of them are so-called “negative” ads; they attack the opponent, often on matters of ethics and morality, rather than describing what the candidate hopes to accomplish if elected. Voters have repeatedly told candidates that we are fed up with negative campaigning, but perhaps the candidates are afraid to publicize their votes because they have been doing the bidding of special interests instead of their constituents. However, some do address the issues of importance to their constituents.
This year, a major issue is that we need to change the leadership of the Congress. The responsibilities of Senate and House Majority Leaders give the holders of those positions more power than any other member of Congress. Although about 50% of the population votes Republican, the Republican Party leadership is under the control of the extreme right wing of the Party, the people called social conservatives and neo-cons. The moderate and progressive Republicans in Congress are in the minority of their party. If you need proof that the Republican leadership has departed from traditional Republican viewpoints, just look at the U.S. national debt history (http://zfacts.com/p/318.html). A balanced budget is bedrock Republican principle. But Republican tax cuts have not provided anywhere close to sufficient economic growth to make up for the tax revenue lost by lowering tax rates, and the budget cuts haven’t worked either. What the Republican tax cuts have accomplished is to put a larger percentage of the country’s wealth in the hands of a smaller percentage of the population. Data from the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center shows that, on average, the richer you are the larger percent increase in income you have experienced under the current Congressional leadership. The neo-cons might argue that it is proper that the elite few gain proportionally more than the rest of the population, but that is not traditional Republicanism. Remember that the “trust buster” President, Teddy Roosevelt, who took on the “robber barons” of his day, was elected as a Republican. Also, it was another Republican President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, who warned the country of the growing power of the military-industrial complex. (Weapons are one of the few products still manufactured in this country.)
It’s pretty obvious now that protection against terrorism was not the reason George W. Bush had our military invade Iraq. It must have been a misguided effort to secure more oil for our oil industry. (“Weapons of mass destruction” could not have been the reason or the attack could have waited until the UN Weapons Inspectors reported back as to whether or not Saddam Hussein was cooperating with the new, more intrusive, UN inspection protocols. The then new IAEA protocol allowed inspectors to examine the entire country, not just locations the government identifies as nuclear facilities.) As a result of the soaring gasoline prices at gas stations, oil refineries have made enormous windfall profits. They did this by increasing gas prices when the spot market for oil went up. But they produced the gasoline from oil they purchased before the price for oil went up. Undoubtedly, the refineries had long-term contracts for oil deliveries at fixed prices and were minimally affected by the spot prices for oil on the commodity trading floors. In earlier times our government considered windfall profits from war-profiteering to be a criminal act. But the idea of taxing windfall profits is anathema to the Republican Congressional Leadership.
The Republican Congressional Leadership is afflicted with a culture of greed. It is the same culture that Enron traders exhibited so clearly in the e-mail conversations that were obtained by subpoena. They laugh at the ordinary citizens whom they are taking advantage of. It is time for a change! And to make that change you have to vote against Republican incumbents, even if you think those persons will vote in your best interests, because if reelected, there is one vote you know they will make. They will be counted as Republicans when the next Congress is organized, and their votes will maintain the current Congressional Leadership. Let’s give President Bush some real Congressional oversight in the last two years of his administration.