E-Newsletter No. 23________November 2015
Opportunity for All, Favoritism to None
Last week the US House of Representatives and US Senate passed legislation to (again) suspend the country’s debt ceiling, choosing to kick the can down the road, this time until March 2017. In effect, our elected representatives have decided that fiscal responsibility can wait until after the presidential election next November.
As the country’s two major political parties begin hosting their presidential candidate debates, the fundamental differences between the two parties are coming into focus. During the initial Democratic debate on October 13th, Senator Bernie Sanders highlighted a couple of very important issues about the country’s political situation, and he is absolutely right –
“There is a profound frustration with Establishment Politics”
“The government is involved in our emails… is involved in our websites…. Yes, we have to defend ourselves against terrorism, but there are many ways to do this without impinging on our constitutional rights and our privacy rights.”
Our Editorial Board agrees with Senator Sanders that the level of frustration with Establishment Politics is growing, and this is borne out by a number of statistics. Congress’ approval rating has continued to be stuck in the low teens for the past several years. More than half of the country’s citizens disapprove of President Obama’s job performance. More than half of the country’s citizens disapprove of the Supreme Court’s performance. But the most alarming statistic is the growing level of voter apathy. As Senator Sanders noted during the debate, 63% of eligible voters did not go to the polls during the 2014 mid-term elections. The level of voter participation continues to drop each election cycle. So the questions remain – If not us, who? If not now, when?
Our Editorial Board also shares Senator Sanders’ concern about the infringement on our citizens’ constitutional rights by an ever-expanding federal government. However, Senator Sanders stated that his primary concern is not necessarily the large federal government, but the country’s billionaire class and large corporations (which happen to be the source of many of our citizens’ better paying jobs). We agree with Senator Sanders that we need to continue to address the issue of influence peddling, and we need to guard against any favoritism that the federal government doles out to any corporation, or to any labor union, or to any other special interest group (any “sub-segment” of the population). However, our Editorial Board is much more concerned about the protection of our citizens’ rights, and the possibility of our country being damaged by our massive, ever-expanding federal government and our country’s growing debt problem.
Unfortunately, neither Senator Sanders (nor any of the other Democratic candidates) made any mention of the need for the federal government to exercise fiscal responsibility. It should be noted that this “oversight” might have been by design, because none of the debate moderators ever raised any questions about the cumulative US debt, and none of the candidates put forward any solutions on how we can begin repaying the country’s $18.4 trillion debt. Interestingly, the only time the word “debt” was uttered during the debate was during discussions about how the federal government should implement a new social program to help a sub-segment of the population pay off their student loan debt. Instead of discussing the need for smaller, better-managed government, Senator Sanders proposed several new social programs, such as “free” college tuition, an expansion of Social Security benefits, and an even larger federal government.
So what does our country need to do, to reverse the growth in federal government spending? We have added two new Conversation Pieces to our F2PPR.org website –
US Debt Clock – – October 1st – $57,150 per citizen / November 1st – $57,203