Sunday, January 20, 2013

Republicans Finally Adopt A Smart Approach to Problem Solving, Now Expand it to the Economy

Hats off to my Republican brethren.  They have finally started down the road to enlightenment by approaching problem solving using the best tool we as humans have, the scientific method.  Cool headed, grounded in reason and logical, that's the approach Americans are yearning for, along with an acknowledgment that facts are facts and science, when not pressured and co-opted, are the best beacons we have to lead us out of the darkness.  So what is the most visible and obvious issue where the Republicans are taking the correct approach to with regards to problem solving?  Gun Control.

Forget about the NRA.  They have morphed into nothing more than the reactionary, lunatic, right-wing-nut fringe of the Tea Party i.e. "It's not Tea its GOP".  With their cheap made in China ball caps and mailing list of mindless followers, many of whom, I am willing to bet, would not pass a federal firearm purchase background check, care more about advancing the partisan interests of the Republican Party, as pawns for the wealthy and big business, then the interests of working class America.  Don't believe me? 

In a very revealing and damning encounter I had with a NRA Representative back in the run up to the 2004 presidential election, I had the opportunity to pose the $64,000 Question (i.e. $10,000 Romney debate bet) to one of the believers.  The NRA was in the midst of a membership drive, using for its call list, no doubt,  the State of Minnesota's list of persons who purchase some kind of firearms hunting license. 

I am a long time hunter,  firearms enthusiast, and defender of constitutional rights.  As a criminal defense attorney for over  25 years, I  have represented clients that have been subjected to the most outrageous, reprehensible and illegal conduct on the part of out of control, over zealous law enforcement agents only to have said conduct swept under the rug by gutless judges concerned more about their re-election then weeding out these criminal, bad apples from the ranks of law enforcement.  It was only through this experience that I belatedly came around to the view that the Second Amendment is a check on our government just as much as it is necessary for the maintenance of a well regulated militia.  Despite, or because of, the above beliefs, I have never been a member of the National Rifle Association.

So when I asked the middle aged woman with the Texan drawl, "Why is it the NRA only seems interested in advancing the political careers and issues of the Republican Party over those of working class Americans on non-Second Amendment Issues?" it must have caught the aspiring secessionist off guard.  After an embarrassingly long, pregnant pause, (apparently her script did not anticipate someone posing an intelligent question) the former runner up to the Mrs. Texas Pageant panicked and gasped into the phone "We don't want you as a member anyway!" and hung up.  My response, had the NRA Representative had the courage to stay on the phone, would have been simply "Well praise the Lord!".

The Republicans are right that the vast majority of so called "solutions" to firearm violence in this country recently proposed by the President would have had little or no effect in stopping many of the recent and worst of the mass killings.  It is the Republicans, of all people, who are correctly saying, "Whoa, let's look at this problem rationally and respond, not in knee jerk fashion, but in a meaningful, scientific manner" (I paraphrase).

All I would ask is for the Republicans to have the same honest, logical and scientific approach to solving the other big, and I would argue, more pressing, issues facing the country.  If only the Republicans would take their new found sense of reason to issues  like the economy, the budget and the deficit, they would come to the understanding that the Federal Government's Budget  is not the household budget, that the United States of America is not Greece and that to grow private sector jobs in the midst of a liquidity trap we need to SPEND MORE in the short term, NOT LESS! 

Yes, we all know there is a long term debt problem. But the best approach to dealing with this LONG TERM debt problem is for the Federal Government, the lender of last resort in a liquidity trap, to invest in long needed and overdue critical infrastructure projects.  With interest rates at all time lows and the work needing to be done in any event, it is an absolute "no brainer" (i.e. "no Boehner").

We, as a nation,  desperately need bi-partisan leadership to create jobs and keep the economy moving forward.  One only needs to look at Britain to see that austerity, in the midst of an economic recovery this fragile, plunges you back into recession.  Unfortunately the Republicans seem Hell bent on torpedoing the economy, no doubt so that they can blame the President and gin up support for their next pro-wealthy, anti-middle class presidential candidate.  America deserves and the times demand, better.

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