Voters Should Do More Than Just Vote

If the last two years have taught me anything, it’s that the voting public in the U.S. should do more than just vote. I hate to be the buzz-kill at the party, but that simply isn’t enough. Going to work, coming home, raising kids, setting good examples, etc., are not acts of heroism. It’s the minimum responsible adults should do. Learn the facts and make yourself heard or you haven’t done enough.

As we approach the end of 2012, we will be forced to watch and hear ad nauseum while Washington, once again, becomes the Mecca of theatrical nonsense. Unfortunately, having done our heroic deed by voting,  most of us will return to being preoccupied and tacit as our overpaid, underworked, and now lame-ducked leaders continue this make-believe.

Solutions Are Easy

Politicians are the quintessential Eddie Haskels of our 21st century lives. While most politicians smile and compliment you on your trees being the right height, or how lovely your pearls are, most real politicians are like the one seen in Mitt Romney’s now infamous “47 percent” comment. They just aren’t so stupid as to get caught saying it on tape.

Even I have come up with sustainable, workable, affordable solutions to many of the biggest political dodge-balls of today. For instance:

  1. Paying down the debt. The One Penny Solution has been well-documented on this site. It would be simple, easily and inexpensively implemented.
  2. Funding Social Security and Medicare. Remove the cap on wages subject to Social Security and Medicare Withholding. It makes absolutely no sense to stop withholding for these two necessary programs. If it makes sense to withhold SS/MED on a person making $20,000, how does it make sense to stop withholding at $110,000? If anything there should be a floor, not a ceiling.
  3. While we’re at it on Medicare, have the rates paid to doctors for procedures salary-based on hours not procedures like the Mayo Clinic does it. Fee-based idiocy that pays more to a doctor for a knee replacement than open-heart surgery is stupid and wasteful.
  4. This 112th Congress worked fewer days than any other Congress in history. If they aren’t going to work at solving our problems why are they getting paid such exorbitant salaries? Let’s pay THEM based on performance like everybody else. Why are they exempt from having standards of performance?

Take Some Time To Learn the Truth Not Just What You Want to Hear

Entertainment companies have bought all of the U.S. major and minor networks and have turned “news” into professional wrestling. If you find yourself getting all of your information only from sources that agree with your ideology, then you need to broaden your knowledge base. No, President Obama is not the Messiah, no, liberals aren’t all lazy or want free stuff, and Rush and Hannity are carnival barkers just trying to keep you  hating so that you’ll tune in and they can get their big paychecks for selling you the latest snake oil.

And I just can’t resist: Republicans wanting fewer regulations is like crooks wanting fewer cops. I mean please.

Here are some things you really ought to learn about.

Debt limit

Raising it does not authorize new spending. It’s merely a parliamentary procedure that allows the U.S. to pay bills it’s already incurred. Since the US nearly always runs an annual deficit, (the last time the U.S. was debt-free was 1832; the last Republican administration to reduce the debt and/or deficit was Calvin Coolidge in 1923-1929…right before the Great Depression) it has to confront congressionally-approved borrowing limits. Congressional Republicans are just using parlor tricks to strike fear into low-information voters by acting in the worst interest of the country by using the debt limit as an excuse for confrontational politics(yes, more theatrics).

The debt-limit debate is a sham. Everyone who understands it knows that. The US has been a borrower for nearly two centuries. It has never defaulted. But lately the Republicans have used this congressionally-introduced creative propaganda to intensify political hostility. We are about to reach our debt limit again and witness another debt-authorization fight. It’s wasted time and energy when we have REAL problems that need solving.

Fiscal cliff

Another imaginary tale. We do not need to have expiration dates on laws, tax policy, or spending mechanisms.  Congress uses them to combine into a common threat to us by purposefully choosing termination dates that follow closely on the heels of elections.  They take advantage of the short memory span of the distracted American electorate.  Shame on us for having such short memories.

Now, we will witness both the debt-limit and fiscal-cliff debates; both pretenses are in play. But what befuddles me is why aren’t Americans furious about this game that is being played at their expense?  American voters don’t want this useless crap, and they know the uncertainty caused by it is harmful to them.

We could punish Congressional representatives, senators, and the White House every time they engage in these tomfoolery.  But we don’t. And “the news” doesn’t help. If fact they promote, prolong, and encourage it for their own selfish and profit-oriented purposes.

American voters, CEOs, Wall Street investors, and the working public could make that punishment a regular, intense, and rancorous affair. But we don’t.  Our political leaders could be told, “I am sick and tired of you maneuvering the political process in order to create a non-existent predicament that hurts me.  If this garbage does not stop, you will not persuade me to be loyal to you because I am a Republican. You will not persuade me to be loyal to you because I am a Democrat. And I will vote you out.” But we don’t.

As responsible adults and voters, we can make ourselves heard when we want to be heard. If not now, when?


Forget the (R) and the (D) in front of the names and you have not done enough by simply voting.



Harvey Gold

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