What This Country Needs is a Strong Dose of Political Leadership

President John F. Kennedy
You could argue that America's Class War began, like the Confederates firing on Fort Sumter, with President George W. Bush  proudly confessing to a group of his blue-chip campaign contributors, "(you are) the Haves and the Have-Mores.  Some people call you the elites.  I call you my base."

And from systematically dismantling many of the regulations protecting our country's environment to pushing through a tax-cut aimed at preserving the wealth of the super-rich (see "my base," above),  one per cent of all taxpaying Americans, W stayed loyal to them for eight years.

This paradigm comes to my mind when I consider that the House has already cut $900 billion from social and job-creating programs like Head Start, education, highways, bridges and railways.  All this before we even consider the Super committee and its non-conclusions.

To see what will happen when the automatic $1.2 trillion cuts come into being in two years - half from the military and half from the rest of the government's programs - all you have to do is look around at what's happened since this new group of Tea Partiers and their minions took their seats in the House of Representatives last year.  And let us not forget the carnage wrought to Florida's environmental protection structures by our John Wayne governor, Rick Scott, whose aim at shooting down the agencies regulating growth, our water supply, and our longsuffering Everglades has been somewhat more accurate than that of his fellow Neanderthal, Dick Cheney.

When you combine federal and state cuts to most social programs designed to assist those less fortunate, you find serious problems.  For one local example, near my hometown of Coral Gables, there is a ranch (Good Hope Equestrian Training Center) where autistic and other disabled children and adults are helped toward independent living through working with and being around horses.  The nine-year-old program has helped thousands of young people gain the confidence to live more normal lives.

According to Center Executive Director Peggy Bass, cuts in federal and state programs have already forced her to downsize to half her staff - and thus help half as many kids - never mind the cuts she'll have to make when the $1.2 trillion bomb hits.

Here's an imagined dialogue:

Democrats:  "We need to let the tax cut to the mega rich expire.  It passed under W, and is clearly a thorn in the people's side.  With this money, and more from Defense and other big cost cuts, we can get the deficit under control and regain our position as world leaders with a stable dollar and a working political system.  Not to mention get re-elected."

  "We need to re-instate the tax cut to the wealthy, as they're the ones who invest their bucks in creating the jobs.  What we need to cut is the waste in social security, Medicare and thousands of environmental regulations. Once the environment is off the table, developers will create hundreds of thousands of new jobs, and we will get the deficit stabilized.  And get re-elected."

Standard and Poor's, after cutting the U.S. rating from AAA to AA+, now says it doesn't expect to cut it again.  Moody's maintains the AAA rating with a big "negative" at the end.  Next week, Congress has to decide whether to add to the debt by leaving in place the payroll tax cut, another politically charged issue being carefully watched by management and labor both.

All this while the Near East and North Africa explode in what are essentially revolutions, and, somewhat less violently, are mirrored by the "Occupy" demonstrations which started on Wall Street and have now spread to Main Street.

These are the times when one yearns for courage and intelligence in our political leadership.  We turn to the history books and find that George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, and Franklin Roosevelt faced similar conditions of grave danger to the country; each stood by his best judgement and prevailed in the end.  More recently, John F. Kennedy stood looking at the possibility of nuclear war if he made the wrong decision during the Cuban Missile Crisis.  With the future of the world in his hands, he chose diplomacy over bombs - and won.

Where are leaders like these today?

Certainly not in the CNN debates.

Comment with facebook

Reader Poll

About Us

ELECTION CHANNEL® is an Internet news network that distributes timely and relevant political issues, news stories, candidate reviews and expert opinions to local, national and global audiences.