I have often wondered why ordinary citizens in this country consistently vote against their own economic and social interests in national elections. The consequences of such voting quite often result in lots of bad things happening in Congress that hurt the American people. The recent battle over the federal government’s fiscal health is a prime example. In fact, that battle ended in a big win for a few very rich Americans and a number of large corporations. It is pretty good proof as to who actually controls what happens in Congress. While I believe it was certainly necessary to extend the government’s debt limits, it gave the Tea Party representatives in Congress an opportunity to bring the operations of government to a halt if they didn’t get their way.
With the prospects of a complete shut down of critical government programs on the horizon, a deal was finally worked out. President Obama and Democrats, with their backs to the wall in the Senate, worked hard to avert a collapse of our entire economic system. The President, showing he could negotiate from a weak hand, did the best he could to make sure our economy didn’t go into an irreversible tailspin. The Tea Party segment in the House of Representatives literally held the President and the rest of Congress hostage until the last hour. Their motivation appeared to be more to damage the President’s reelection bid than anything else, regardless of how it affected the welfare of our nation. If that’s true, shame on them!
Under the agreement finally reached, the rich in this country will get richer and that means the middle and low income Americans didn’t fare too well. The media was duped into giving the impression to the public that increasing the debt limit was a novel occurrence. Most in the media seem to have forgotten that former Presidents, including Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, quietly and with little reaction, raised our government’s debt limits a number of times during their respective tenures. But this time, it took a tough and prolonged battle to keep the government running.
Let’s take a look at a little historical data to see how we got to our current state. When George W. Bush took office in 2000 our nation had a debt of about $6 trillion. It also was projected by the Congressional Budget Office at the time that our government would run about a $6 trillion surplus. At that time, the Republicans in Congress and the Bush White House were saying that tax cuts are the key to prosperity. In retrospect, the years since 2000 are clear proof that premise simply isn’t valid. That approach has never worked and never will. But the super rich in our country like it, and following their lead, so do our Republican leaders in Congress.
Maybe we should take a look at what happened to our fiscal health during the eight years of the Clinton presidency. The Clinton-era tax policies worked then and would work today if President Obama and the Democrats in Congress would simply stand their ground and insist on adopting the things that worked during 1992-1999. President Clinton taxed the super rich early on and tremendous job growth and economic prosperity followed during his two terms in office. Giving more tax cuts to the rich – the current trend – will make the super rich even richer, but that approach will eventually lead our nation toward financial disaster.
Having observed the debate over the debt limit crisis, I did some thinking about some of the men and women we elect to Congress. There are some now serving in Congress who appear to do exactly what their corporate donors and powerful lobbyist friends tell them to do. It continues to amaze me that ordinary folks vote for candidates, who once they get elected and take office, line up with huge corporations whose lobbyists pretty much run the show in Congress. Those lobbyists have a great deal to do with what happens – or doesn’t happen – in our Nation’s Capitol. It’s even more amazing that folks continue to support public officials who consistently do the bidding of these powerful companies, while ignoring the real needs of middle and low income citizens. Voting against one’s own economic and social interest has, over the years, become so common that it’s now accepted by the media with little understanding on why it happens.
It might be helpful to do an analysis of what all motivates folks to vote for a candidate. Hopefully, the recent events in Washington will make folks take a closer look at the candidates running in next year’s elections. What’s The Matter With Kansas, written by Thomas Frank, a few years back, could give all of us a different perceptive on politics in this country. It would help us understand the factors that motivate voting. In his book, Mr. Frank gives a very good analysis of the real reasons behind the voting patterns that have emerged in national elections over the past two decades. You may not necessarily agree with all Mr. Frank has to say, but I guarantee that his book will get your attention and make you think about why voters vote like they do.
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.