Monday, December 28, 2009

Congress Confesses Its Partisan Divide

No One Should Be Surprised to Learn that the partisan divide holding up Congress for the past couple of decades has a deliberate component to it.

Members of Congress on Both Sides of the Aisle—Democrats as well as Republicans—have decided to choose party loyalty over the work required of their oaths of office.

As Reported in Yesterday’s Edition of The New York Times, Democratic Representative Steny Hoyer, the House majority leader, conceded “that he had irresponsibly opposed increases in federal borrowing authority during the Bush years in order to impugn Republicans while Democrats were fighting to regain the majority.”

“Once  You Get in These Battles Where You Break into Camps, every vote is about the next election,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who occasionally works with Democrats on difficult issues. “As soon as the last election is over, those who lost are thinking, ‘What can I do to get back in power?’ and those who won are thinking, ‘What can I do to stay in power?’”

Do Our Senators and Representatives Owe Allegiance to their individual political parties?  Or do they owe allegiance to the greater public service?

Everyone in a Schoolyard Feud knows the risks. Once sides are drawn and retaliation begins, the end recedes farther and farther over the horizon. Even as Republicans demanded  up-or-down confirmation votes of Democrats under President George W. Bush, now the Democrats are frustrated by their failure to get such votes out of Senate Republicans today. The Nation currently struggles in two wars and the greatest economic morass since the Great Depression. And what the Republicans and Democrats in both houses of Congress worry most about is....getting re-elected.

Whoever Steps Forward to Heal the Congressional Divide will display a quality of leadership which we Americans have not seen in a very long time. It is not easy to see how it may come about. It will not be an easy healing.

One Thing the American Voters Can Agree on, regardless of party affiliation or political orientation, is that the oaths taken to support and defend the Constitution are not honored, so long as party allegiance takes precedence over public service within the halls of Congress.

The Current State of the Union makes abundantly clear the need for both sides of the aisle to get busy mending fences. And to begin doing the work that they swore to do.


Here Is the Oath of Office for
Members of the House of Representatives:

“I, [Representative’s name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”
(This oath and a listing of acting Representatives who have taken it may be found at:


Here Is the Oath of Office for
United States Senators:
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”
(This oath, as well as some historical information concerning the oath, may be found at:

Read the article from The New York Times:
by Carl Hulse
published: December 27, 2009 


Saturday, December 12, 2009

“Borrowing the Jobs of Tomorrow” Is America's Best Investment Today

Where Is the Obama New “New Deal”?

The New “New Deal” That Americans Voted for Has Failed to Materialize. Despite the mandate given to Barack Obama on November 4, 2008, we have so far seen nothing that looks like the New Deal—the multitude of projects that President Franklin Roosevelt initiated during the Great Depression, to put thousands of jobless Americans back to work.

What Has Gone Wrong? What part of this mandate did President Obama miss, when he was swept into office in part out of the driving fear that we were sinking into the economic abyss.

No Matter How Much Some Americans have challenged the value of FDR and the New Deal, deep down where we Americans share so many core values, we know that the New Deal saved countless American lives. When it's our jobs at stake, we know that only the government can move quickly enough and large-enough to put the brakes on.

But the Impending Disaster that Many Americans Fear Today
are reality for millions of American families right now. As we speak. As we debate. As we dither and discuss and hide behind conflicting ideologies.

America Needs the Jobs of Tomorrow. And America needs those jobs right now.

Seventy Years after FDR gave us the beautiful and durable WPA and CCC buildings,the buildings still stand. All across America today, these wonderful facilities are enjoyed by millions of Americans each year. They bring pleasure to all who use them–and their durable construction has spared the American taxpayer millions of dollars we would have paid over the years since the Great Depression, had FDR not acted so wisely and prudently on America’s behalf.

What FDR Did with those New Deal programs was to borrow work from the future. America borrowed the jobs of tomorrow to put Americans back to work. The money would surely arrive later–but the jobs were needed back in the day.

These Are the Kind of Jobs America Needs Right Now.

We Need to“Borrow” the Jobs of the Future, to put American construction-workers back to work right now.

Is it Possible That Some People Don’t Understand This? It’s the same thing we do when we borrow for college education, knowing that this kind of “deficit spending” will yield big dividends in the future.

On the Other Hand, America lives at some current risk that President Obama, yielding to relentless caterwauling about the deficit, may rein in this future investment. Doing so risks sinking the economy quickly back into recession or worse–at a time when the resources of the typical American family are already sorely stretched.

Deficit Spending Cannot Continue Indefinitely without giving rise to inflation. But borrowing work from the future–with such  public-funded projects as FDR’s projects that stand the test and ravages of time)–actually stimulates the economy in a real and constructive way.

By Building Tomorrow’s Projects Today, the government buys two things for the American people:

First, Cheaper Labor currently available means that these jobs cost less now than they would in a post-recovery future.

Second, Spending for These Future Projects Today means that our children and grandchildren won’t have to spend for them tomorrow.

What May Look Risky–spending now, when we don’t yet have the money–is actually  just good business sense. It's one of the best investments the nation can make right now, at a time of cheap labor and high unemployment such as today.

It's the Fiscally Prudent Decision: to invest in tomorrow’s work projects today. And further, the American people voted for this kind of job creation.

Back in the Great Depression, it took FDR, a scion of wealth, a person raised to understand the methods of investment, to come up with the CCC and WPA deals.

Those Beautiful Buildings That America Loves:

Proof That Borrowing Jobs from Tomorrow is a fiscally conservative investment that stands the test of time.


Friday, December 4, 2009

The Great “44¢ Public Option” Race

[A copy of a letter recently sent to one of America's newest Senators]

December 4, 2009

The Honorable Senator Al Franken
320 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

RE: The “44¢ Public Option”

Dear Senator Franken:

I Am Sending You this Letter to ask you to judge a race that the American people are currently running right now. The race has three contestants–represented by UPS, FedEX, and the USPS. The event tests which of the three can deliver the mail in the most-efficient manner, at the best price, to the consumer.

Each of the For-Profit Delivery Services represents a different, randomly selected for-profit, health-insurance company. You may choose representative names from your own personal list: Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Humana, The Traveler’s, United Healthcare, etc.

Meanwhile, the Not-for-Profit Delivery Service of the USPS represents either the proposed “public option” in the health-insurance reform bills currently working their way through Congress, or else a single-payer system. Again, your choice.

Three Copies of this Letter have been mailed to you via the three competing entities without giving you a chance to read this letter or to know of this contest in advance, to prevent influence from preconceived opinions you may have in the health-insurance reform debate.

By the Time You Read the three editions of this letter, you will know first-hand who has won the challenge. Will it be FedEX or UPS, whose deliveries will cost $7.20 and $10.33, respectively? Or will it be the government-run “public option” of the USPS, the United States Postal Service, costing 44¢?

Judging Should Be Based on Two Characteristics:

(1) Timeliness of Delivery: Which copy of the letter arrived in the timeliest manner? That is, which letter or letters arrived in time for you to read them and use the information to make your informed decision in a timely manner?

□ (A) FedEX (Date Received: _____ ) No. of Days for Delivery: _____
□ (B) UPS     (Date Received: _____ ) No. of Days for Delivery: _____
□ C) USPS    (Date Received: _____) No. of Days for Delivery: _____

(2) Cost-Effectiveness of Delivery: In relation to the timeliness of the delivery, which copy or copies of the letter cost less to deliver in relation to the amount of time that it took to reach you? (Delivery Cost divided by Number of Days to Delivery equals the cost-effectiveness coefficient, with the lowest number representing the most cost-effective outcome):

□ (A) FedEX: Delivery Cost ÷ No. of Days Required for Delivery = _____
□ (B) UPS:     Delivery Cost ÷ No. of Days Required for Delivery = _____
□ C) USPS:    Delivery Cost ÷ No. of Days Required for Delivery = _____

This Challenge Will Demonstrate two different objective truths about the present state of capitalism in America:

(1) Regardless of delivery “option,” the letters should reach you within one or two days of each other. Delivery cost will have been paid in advance. The USPS sometimes receives Government support, which still brings the unit cost (the 44¢ stamps needed to mail insurance-premium payments and credit-card payments and greeting cards, etc.) substantially lower than what it would cost, per capita, to send these items by private delivery.

(2) Here in the United States of America, in the present day, both the high-priced “private option” and the low-priced “public option” compete head-to-head. The low-priced option provides low-cost service to those who need it. The different high-cost “private option” services survive competition–and on a profitable basis.
Despite the High Prices of the Private Services, FedEX and UPS, in contrast with the low USPS prices, all three services fill vital roles in delivering services that American citizens need.

American Citizens Deserve the Same
Quality of Choice in Healthcare Services.

We Don’t Know Why So Many People want to pay $10.33 or $7.20 to deliver a letter that the USPS delivers for 44¢. The important thing is: they do.

The “Private Option” of UPS and FedEX competes just fine with the low-cost “public option” of the postal service. For 233 years, the great American system of free-market capitalism has worked just fine.

It’s Time to Give the American People a “public option” for healthcare services, and give all Americans the free-market choices that we deserve.