So, is Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, or Barack Obama responsible for the economic difficulties we have in the US today? In my opinion - none of them. The citizens of the United States are responsible for our woes. Why? Because we have a free election and we spend our time arguing, not about what is really important in the nation, but which party has the best plan. We have allowed ourselves to separate into two groups like social groups in high school. But, this isn't high school.
By only aligning ourselves with a party system we are missing the big picture and not making the hard choices we should be making. Politics have become a big money industry. Politicians seem to mostly be interested in power and increasing their power. They are used to living the high life. So how do these people show they are in touch with the average Joe? They go to town hall meetings. They shake hands with citizens. They hire people to make pretty speeches. At the end of the day they go to a high end hotel or back to their high dollar home.
The current, 2011, salary for a rank-and-file member of the House and Senate is $174,000 per year. The Speaker of the House receives $223,500 per year. The Majority Leader gets paid $193,400 as does the Majority Party Leader. The vice-president is paid $230,700 while the president himself makes $400,00 per year plus another $50,000 for an expense allowance. His family gets free room and board during his tenure as well. When Obama leaves office he will continue being paid almost $200,000 for life.
During earlier years senators and representatives were paid on a daily basis, and only if they were in session. So, perhaps during the late 1700's through the 1800's politicians were passionate and concerned with the well-being of the country. Today we don't see the same passion. We have television and news mediums that promote politicians based on their ratings and charisma. Charisma will not save this country.
Common sense tells us that continually electing politicians because of a party affiliation is fool-hearty. The democrats want to tax the rich. There are not enough rich to tax that will save this economy. They want to tax big business. Big business is already struggling, doing layoffs (part of the reason for our current high unemployment), and filing for bankruptcy. This isn't an answer to our economic woes either. Republicans want to give big business tax breaks claiming it will increase their income and allow them to hire more people. They want to cut union strength to give more power to individuals, but this would also mean that the big companies would have to do the right thing by their employees. But how will this cut the national debt in time even if more people are working and paying taxes?
Everyone complains about the welfare system and how so many people take advantage of our hard earned tax dollars, but no one wants to let anyone take steps to do a much needed revamp. We all complain about the loss of social security and how it needs to be saved, yet no one wants to have it touched in order to fix it. So what is the answer to our woes?
The answer is to quit listening to party politics and start using the free education we were given and making a sound judgement based on taking an honest interest in what people are trying to run for office. Quit financing high dollar campaigns. The man with the money doesn't have to win. The man with a solid plan and a passion for this country should have a fighting chance to honestly represent us. It shouldn't matter if he wears an Armani suit or has a manicure. It's time for us to make a real change in this country. Only the American people can do it. We just need to care enough.
(Side note: Perhaps Paul Ryan has a good plan. He's been demeaned by Democrats and denounced by his fellow Republicans. At least he puts himself out there and isn't deterred by ridicule. Maybe he should step out of the party and garner independent support.)