The one word that describes the situation in America today is GRIDLOCK.
In part, gridlock has been produced by the very stark differences between the Republicans and the Democrats. We have always had basic differences between the two parties but in the past they were able to compromise and come to a decision that helped resolve the problem at hand. The compromise to save Social Security in the 1980’s in one example. The extensive government program that produced the Inter State Highway System is another.
What has changed to prevent the compromises we saw in the past from happening in 2016? I recently read a book by Michael Edwards entitled, “The Parties Versus the People”. In that book the author talked about why we have the gridlock today and what has changed. In 1970 47% of Senate were considered Moderate while today that figure is 5%. He pointed out the shift in the House is even worse. The movement from Moderate to Partisan has been much more pronounced on the Republican side of the isle. We have seen Republicans shut down the government over a single issue. We have watched them use the Filibuster over 450 times during the past seven years. They used the Hastert Rule in the House to prevent a vote on the Comprehensive Immigration Bill that passed the Senate on a bi-partisan basis.
Both parties today place their loyalty to Party above what is best for the long term welfare of our country. We see both parties seek and accept donations from wealthy individuals and powerful business interests. We need to get the big money out of our Presidential and Congressional campaigns.
In addition to the hardening positions of both parties, the problems we face are moving closer and closer to a point of no return. Funding Social Security and how to pay for Medicare. The crumbling Infrastructure. The huge National Debt and the growing interest we must pay each year on that debt. The Interest on the National Debt will become the third largest expense in the Federal Budget in the next few years. The over one Trillion Dollars of Student Debt. The Immigration problem. How to rebuild our Military and take care of our Vets especially those that resulted from the two Bush Wars.
It is time for BOTH parties to put the long term welfare of our country ahead of party loyalty. We must seek solutions that address the needs of the majority not just the affluent top 10%.