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U.S. Economy weakens: Partisan politics strengthens

By Art Stevens

Individually, we all have ideas about what measures should be taken to strengthen our economy and to start providing more jobs. Usually, these ideas coincide with the aims of the political party that you prefer, and that is as it should be. However, I believe that we are now at a point where we are facing some of the worst economic indicators in a long time. Yes, our representatives in the House and in the Senate can scream at each other that THEIR solutions would work and yours will not. It has always been that way, and that winds up working in the long run, except for the fact that these are not normal times, and there should be an urgent call for some sort of cooperation and compromise on both sides of the aisle to settle some of these issues for the good of the country.

I believe in the truthfulness of members of congress on both sides of the aisle. I believe what they are fighting for. THEY truly believe. But what happens if both republicans and democrats both believe in the issues they are fighting for and both refuse to budge an inch off of their stance on those issues? In normal times, it would not be a critical problem. They would keep fighting until election day, and then the people would elect the person and party who they think would best deal with the situation.

What I see are three possibilities. Remember that this is all based on the fact that we are NOT in normal times, and AT THIS MOMENT, the reason for that is not even an issue. Even if it was, you all know that each party would be blaming the other in some way. Can we at least agree that SOMETHING has to be done to alleviate the problem NOW?

The democrats give up their goals and adapt all of the republicans’ ideas.
The republicans give up their goals and adapt all the democrats’ ideas.

I’m pretty sure you’ll agree that neither of these two possibilities will take place. Well, if they don’t, and the economy keeps getting worse, is the answer then to just sit back and watch it go downhill until it crashes? Now I’m not saying that this is what is going to happen, but IF it did, can you imagine what the rhetoric from the Republican Party would be like? They would sure have a lot to say about the Democrats, wouldn’t they? Of course, if the situation were reversed, the Democrats would do the same.

Which brings us to the third possibility. When negotiations come to a standstill in most business dealings; in strikes; in salary arbitration; yes, even in congress, the accepted form of procedure has always been (watch out, the ‘C’ word is coming) COMPROMISE! I know that this has become a dirty word in Washington. Especially in the republican-led House of Representatives. I also know that this is NOT an easy road for any politician to take, but it IS the ONLY way to get us through whatever problems we currently have. When we DO get to Election Day, the voters can then decide which system they think works best for the majority. Hopefully, at that stage, at least we will have taken some steps to alleviate the problem.

Today, President Obama asked members of Congress to “not sit on your hands,” and to pass the tax breaks and spending programs he has been asking for to speed the path of job creation. If congress does not act, we just keep hurtling toward that fiscal crisis. Congress acting does not mean one side giving in to the other. What it DOES do is give us a shot at more job creation.

Senator Harry Reid: “If Republicans worked with us, we could pass legislation immediately to cut taxes for small businesses, prevent student loan rates from doubling and ensure that women get paid the same amount as men for performing the same work. We could provide incentives to companies to create manufacturing jobs here at home instead of overseas. And we could take steps to spur further growth in the housing market.”

House Speaker John A. Boehner said, “Republicans would barrel ahead with the kind of legislation that the House has been passing but which has gone nowhere in the Senate, where democrats are in the majority.”

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