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Who make up Washington’s political establishment?

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작성자 선우학원 작성일13-10-20 16:52 댓글0건

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Who make up Washington’s political establishment?

 

Dr. Harold Sunoo

 

    In “America’s Gilded Capital.” Written by Mark Leibovich and published by Blue Rider Press, the author states that what is wrong with American politics and how it might be fixed.

            Washington has always had a permanent establishment of politicians, lobbyists and journalists.  But this class has exploded in size in recent decades, and has become more introspective and self-serving.

            The lobbying industry has spent $3.47 billion lobbying the federal government in 2009.  In 1974 only 3% of retiring policy makers became lobbyists.  Now, 50% of Senators and 42% of congressmen do.

            Peter Orszag, President Obama’s first director of the Office of Management and Budget, became an executive in Citigroup.  Meanwhile, the city’s politicos grew richer while the rest of the country was mired in recession.  Washington now has a higher income per person than Silicon Valley.

            Mr. Leibovich observes Washington’s failings brilliantly.  The city’s failings are thoroughly bipartisan.  He is not the first person who pointed out the Corruption of Washington politics.

          President Eisenhower stated the trade-offs between guns and butter.  “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed,” he warned in 1953, early in his Presidency.  “The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this; a modern Brick school in more than 30 cities.  It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 populations.  It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals.  It is some 50 miles of concrete highway.  We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.”

          Today the government is spending on the military budget, which is equivalent to the half of the world military budget combined.  The U. S. has about 180 B61 gravity nuclear bombs based in Europe.  President Obama has put $537 million in his 2014 budget proposal to upgrade these bombs.  He advocated the long-term goal of a world without nuclear arms and promised to reduce America’s reliance on them.  But to upgrade nuclear capability, he is sending a wrong signal while he in trying to draw Russia into a new round of nuclear reduction talks.

          President Obama needs to change the subject to have a successful second term.  He said that his highest priority is to rebuild a middle class that has been battered by globalization, technological change, and the concentration of wealth at the highest levels.

          “Washington has taken its eye off the ball.” He said, and I am here to say this needs to stop.”

          The fundamentally American idea that hard work leads to success, he said, has been undermined by an inattention to education and decades of government policies that favored only the rich.  While income of the top 1% nearly quadrupled last 25 years, there has been almost no change in the middle class income.

          President Obama suggested that the government should invest in rebuilding roads and power grids and school buildings, a reduction in college costs, and better incentive for retirement savings, but these proposals are objected by the Republicans.  Republicans have clung to an agenda of less; cutting taxes for the rich, cutting spending, cutting regulations and cutting any program that benefits these on the lowest groups.  President Obama replied to the Republican that if we just make some common sense decisions, our economy will be stronger a year from now.

          Why the Republicans are objecting the Obama’s Programs?  Repealing the Obama’s agenda and cutting spending is not an economic plan, but it is a partisan politics.  It has been clearly demonstrated during the Presidential campaign.  Mr. Romney said that “Well there are 47% of the people who will vote for the president no matter what.” He said.  “All right, there are 47% who are with him who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.”  Mr. Romney said, “So my job is not to worry about those people.” Who are these 47%?  They are many seniors, white working-class people, and the poor people.

          It has been true that the government has become almost entirely of unresponsive to middle class and the poor.  Prof. Benjamin Sachs of Harvard Law School said, “A democracy in which government policy responds to the rich and not to the poor or the middle class is a democracy unworthy of the name,”  He suggested that “the best hope for restoring political equality is to make it easier for the poor and middle class to organize politically.”  (The New York Times, 8-25-2013)

          What can be done?  Many Americans are frustrated by the economic downturn, sought to blame Wall Street and Corporate America for many of its nation’s ills. So the Occupy Wall Street movement got under way in Manhattan, New York City.  It spread all over the country.  By the end of year, Time magazine had named the protester its Person of the Year.  The movement created an important National Conversation about economic inequality.  The Chant, “We are the 99%,” has become part of the lexicon.  Its message has subtly been woven throughout the Obama administration’s re-election campaign.  However the movement has no impact on the Wall Street banks and other financial institutions.

“How Obama can save second term?” is his main political agenda.  He  has been challenged several scandals, like Benghazi Case, the Internal Revenue Service hound by conservative law makers, and the important agendas are fallowing,  1. Immigration law, which passed in the Senate, but not in the house,  2. On tax issue the Republicans want to cut, but Obama wants to raise, 3. Reforming the entitlements, how to solve the Social Security problem and Medicare.  These are domestic issues and there is foreign affair problem.  Crisis in Syria is the most critical problem right now.  President Obama has promised to close the Afghanistan affair and no more war in Middle East.

Washington politics is not to solve the problems, but create the problems.  Will President Obama solve and clean up the mess?  Today Washington’s self-praising has reached the point at which it is praising even about its own corruption.  Who is able to fix that illness?  Who can bring back the people’s democracy from the lobbyist control?  Can its common people save the Washington politics from 1% domination?  Who can save Washington from its failing?

          Prof. Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize recipient on economics, said recently following:

“I think it’s important to realize how badly policy failed and continue to fail, right now, Washington seems divided between Republicans who denounce any kind of government action - who insist that all the policies and programs that mitigated the crisis actually made it worse -and Obama loyalists who insist that they did a great job because the world didn’t totally melt down.

Obviously, the Obama people are less wrong than the Republicans.  But by any objective standard, U. S. economic policy since Lehman has been an astonishing-horrifying failure.” (The New York Times, 9-2-2013)

          The failure of the American politics has been clearly identified.  What are the remedies to fix illness of Washington politics?

          According to recent New York Times, (9-14-2013), “one in five Americans says they have struggled to afford food in the last year and that access to basic needs is near a record low.”  The rich have recovered, but the 99% still struggle.  This cannot last too long.  The Occupy Wall Street Movement did not impact much, but the extreme levels of inequality are politically untenable and morally unacceptable and that eventually the 99% will demand better.

          The Census Bureau recently reported that 15% of Americans or 46.5 million people live in poverty.  Median income was lower by 8.3% or $4,600, last year, under age 65 fell almost $7,500 decline of 11.6% in 2012.

          House Republican passed a bill on Sept. 19 that would cut federal food stamps and throw 3.8 million American out of the program in 2014. (The New York Times, 9-20-2013)

          The poorest people in the country will be denied health insurance because of decision made mostly by Republican governors and legislators.  These people will neither qualify for their state’s Medicaid program for the poor nor for subsidized coverage on new insurance exchanges that are being established in every state by the health care reform law.

          October 1stthe federal government was shutdown.  The shutdown is not about the budget.  It’s about a vocal and ardent minority demanding a nullification of a law it doesn’t like.  This is about the Tea Party’s obsession with repealing Obama Care and the President’s refusing to negotiate with hostage takers.  On this, the American people would appear to be overwhelmingly siding with the President and the Democrats.  The CBS News poll found that 72% of Americans disapprove of shutdown the government over disagreement about Obama Care.  Even among people who disapprove of the law, 59% disagree with shutdown the government over it.  When it comes to blame, Americans blame Congressional Republicans more than Democrats and the President.  The American people are tired of this tragic game.

          Due to the government shutdown, some 800,000 employees of federal agencies are being sent home, while another 1.3 million are being asked to toil on without pay.  The shutdown is a symptom of a deeper problem. The Republicans demand to strip all funding from Obama Care which is the President’s biggest achievement.

          What can be done?  It is time for less cliff hanging, and more common sense should be applied in the politics.  The politicians need to get their priorities straight.

[이 게시물은 편집실님에 의해 2013-10-20 16:52:24 Articles에서 복사 됨] [이 게시물은 편집실님에 의해 2013-10-20 20:40:21 종합소식에서 복사 됨]
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