The Election is Over – It’s Time to Govern
By Mildred Robertson
As Washington politicians wrestle with shifting ideology, changing demographics and an electorate bored with partisan rhetoric, it is safe to say that America’s political future is uncertain. Even with a resounding victory by Barack Obama during the 2012 election, many still wonder how much of his progressive agenda he will be able to enact over the next 4 years.
The Republican opposition, though not quite as vociferous as during the election, is still trying to find solid ground upon which it can take a stand against the President. At risk is the safety and security of America’s working class men and women who must depend upon federal programs to retire and live out their lives in some level of comfort and stability; mothers who must struggle to educate, feed and clothe children; the chronically ill—Romney’s 47 percent.
The Republicans, having been scorched in the heat of battle, speak less ruthlessly about Americans who depend on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid to survive. However, their intentions do not seem to have changed. They are attempting to walk the razors’ edge, where it is safe to attack these compassionate social programs without alienating the voting public.
Among the laws set to change by January 1, 2013 are a 2% temporary payroll tax cut, healthcare taxes associated with Obamacare and certain tax breaks for businesses. In addition, spending cuts that could impact more than 1000 government programs will go into effect. Both the defense budget and Medicare will experience deep cuts unless Congress can come to an agreement on a spending bill.
Lawmakers have a number of choices to avoid the impending financial meltdown if the nation’s debt crisis goes unaddressed. They can do nothing and let the current policy go into effect on January 1, 2013. This would cut the percentage of the Gross Domestic Product deficit in half, but would burden the economy and possibly push it back into recession. Scheduled tax increases and spending cuts could be cancelled, adding to the deficit and growing the debt. Or, they can opt to do what they were elected to do. They can develop a non-partisan approach to address the issue.
Americans understand that doing nothing is not an option. We understand that all of us must share some of the pain. We know that we must determine ways to better finance social programs. We understand that we must ensure that federal dollars are invested wisely and used prudently. We have to identify fraud, waste and inefficiency and eliminate them wherever they are found.
What we cannot abide is that the burden of years of poor financial planning be born on the backs of those least able to bear the load. What we cannot accept is that the rich be given a pass, while hourly laborers are burdened with more taxes and fewer resources.
Now that this election is behind us, Washington has a brief moment when both sides of the aisle can come together to do what they were sent to do. Govern.
It is time to lay ideology and partisanship to the side. It is time to stop the debate about why Romney lost, or why Obama won. It is time to get down to the business of “creating a more perfect union,” where "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" is more than just a well-worn phrase. It is the reason that government exists.