The shock and awe of the midterm elections left the Democratic establishment bewildered and scratching their backside trying to figure out what happened. President Obama had a get together with the newly elected Republican Senate majority leader and the outgoing leader Sen. Harry Reid. At the meeting Sen. Reid looked liked he was shot with a stun gun, and about the same time the House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi was on CNN flapping her hands and rambling that the Republicans didn’t have a wave. I don’t know what the Republicans had but it worked. Could it be the pollsters that had Democrats up by 4 or 5 points in most polls got the opposition out in force to vote, or is it possible that a lot Democrats saw the light and voted for the Hope and Change they were promised six years ago.
-- Glenn S. Gibble
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The Georgia Department of Transportation has issued an Internet questionnaire to citizens requesting input as to where road expenditures should be spent over the coming years with indicated options such as repairs, new roads, alternative public transportation to cars, etc. with an indicated maximum amount of available funds and no further information. Our mayor suggests requesting permission from the Legislature for a nonbinding referendum to present to the citizens about a 1 percent tax increase to pay for possible contentious expenditures. Now, these governmental bodies have all of the pertinent financial budget information and some ideas of the prioritized needs for transportation. Bibb County government wants the uninformed to lead them.
I ask that another YES/NO question be added to any such referendum for voters: “If you had the power to vote for the immediate recall of county elected officials and lay off state employees that feel inadequate to make responsible recommendations/decisions, possessing all the pertinent information, what would be your response? I strongly predict that voter participation on such a question would be significant. Affected county elected officials and GDOT staff, we citizens are tired of your apparent ineptness. When you ask for input we know you will probably do what is easiest or most beneficial to yourselves in the end. I am not a tea party person even though my ancestors cousins were blamed for the damaged tea.
-- Arthur D. Brook
One of the reasons so few people turn out in elections may be the disillusionment that is felt with the constant barrage of negative political ads seen in the media. Ever since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, Super PACs spend millions of dollars to flood the airwaves with attack ads. This mid-term cycle shattered records, with outside groups spending 80 percent more than they did in 2010.
Even contributions to candidates are dominated by a small group of donors with deep pockets. In Georgia’s gubernatorial race, for example, 74 percent of all candidate contributions came from donors giving $1,000 or more.
Big money is dominating our political process and drowning out the voices of average Americans. The very idea of political equality is undermined when economic success can be translated into a louder voice in our political system. We should enact reforms that give small donors more of a voice in our democracy.
-- Regina Reed
Lame duck session
Now that American voters have answered President Obama’s request for a national verdict on his job and his policies, it will be significant to observe his reaction. Will the president consider a course correction after processing America’s clear dissatisfaction with the direction of the country under his leadership? Or will he take the next few weeks before the new Congress is sworn in to simply double-down on his personal agenda -- jamming through more executive orders, making more controversial high-level appointments and finalizing deals with foreign leaders without congressional input? The president’s assertion that he has “heard” the voices of both non-voters and actual voters in the election is not a good sign.
Consider what significant action the president could take during the lame-duck session between the old and new Congress:
1. President Obama could execute an immigration order giving temporary green cards and some sort of legal status to millions of illegal immigrants. And though he will claim the opposite, the president could also find a way to extend the stay of the thousands of Central American children who poured across the border this summer. President Obama knows that if he can find a way to remove the stigma of the word “illegal,” the course will be set for millions of people who entered the country illegally to eventually compete with American citizens for jobs and subsidies.
2. The president could lobby for an immediate confirmation of his newly-appointed attorney general by the old Senate, knowing that the newly-elected Senate would give her a more thorough grilling on such matters as her views on enforcing immigration laws.
3. A leaked letter that President Obama just sent to the Iranian president suggests that he is anxious to make a final nuclear deal with Iran without input from Congress. Obama has already been far too conciliatory with Iran, and he is heavily leaning toward a deal that would leave the largest terrorist state in the world within 90 days or so of having a nuclear weapon.
The imminent possibility of a bad deal with Iran is far too important to rush through during a Congressional lame-duck session. A agreement leaving Iran dangerously close to nuclear arms could trigger a Mideast arms race. It could trigger a military response from Israel. And to Americans it would signal that in spite of the election, this president still regards himself as more of a king than a president, and finds it easier to issue royal edicts than engage in debate and compromise with those pesky legislators voted in by his subjects.
-- Rinda Wilson
We want details
I was very intrigued by Sen.-elect David Perdue’s comments in Sunday’s paper. He explained his legislative agenda. He stated he is eager to slash the corporate tax rate. He believes eliminating corporate taxes would be revenue-positive and would spur business growth.
I would like him to identify what tax reform he proposes for individuals and small businesses. He wants to eliminate the Repatriation Tax. This will enable corporations to bring $2 billion from their offshore accounts tax free. He believes that corporations will use this windfall for investment and hiring.
I hope the executives do not use this money to buy back stock and increase executive compensation.
Perdue wants to reduce business regulations but did not provide any details on which regulations would be eliminated or what effect this will have on consumers. I think this is an area where Democrats and Republicans can work together to rewrite the tax code.
He wants to repeal Obamacare and thinks that renewing the debate will be beneficial. He thinks there are sufficient votes to initiate a repeal. He knows that it will be vetoed and that the Republicans do not have enough votes to override a veto.
I would like him to identify what the Republicans will propose to replace Obamacare. I think this is another area where Democrats and Republicans can work together to rewrite the law and retain the beneficial provisions and replace the provisions that adversely affect the economy.
I disagree with Perdue’s statement that farming is the top industry in Georgia. Most farms are controlled by a few large agribusinesses. They depend on farm subsidies and cheap immigrant labor to make a profit. I believe the numerous military complexes in Georgia provide thousands of well-paying jobs and have a positive economic benefit on local communities.
He states he is in favor of setting congressional term limits. I do not believe that any of the newly-elected Republican congressmen share his enthusiasm. The last election verified that voters control how long a congressman will serve. Therefore, there is no need to waste time to amended the Constitution.
I hope he will identify in the future the legislation he will initiate to: make Social Security and Medicare solvent; balance the budget and pay down the debt; stimulate the sluggish economy and improve care for veterans such as allowing veterans to get treatment from local doctors instead of waiting to be treated at a designated hospital.
-- Jim Costello
Central High School’s Veterans Day Appreciation Concert was a wonderful event. Many thanks to Patricia McCall, fine arts coordinator and directors Michael Scott, Central Band and Isaac Gibson, Central Chorus and the many, many talented students who participated. Keep up the good work.
-- Michael Lynch
Vietnam Veterans of America