Tuesday, February 15, 2005

It has very little to with ideas, it has to do with the agenda.

L-Hack takes the Democratic Party to task for not proposing "new ideas" and being the party of opposition. I'll agree with some of the argument, but it's not as clear-cut as the Republicans would like it to be.

First, on some issues, there is no "idea" besides "leave it alone." How do we deal with "abortion" problem in this country? There is no abortion problem in this country, so leave it alone. How do we deal with the "problem" of Syria and Iran. There is no "problem" with either of them, so leave it alone. Two "problems" that L-Hack proposes, "25+ countries might have nuclear weapons and Europe could be half-Muslim". Short of genocide, you can't really change the European Muslim thing, and as I've said before, it's not a "problem". Leave it alone. Nuclear weapons - that ship set sail in 1944. Once nuclear weapons were invented, you knew everyone was going to get them. Why do Western democracies have a monopoly on enlightenment? Aren't sovereign nations allowed to defend themselves? Again, it's not a "problem", it's just how things are.

The second type of issue, the "problem" which has solutions, is where I sort of agree with L-Hack. Some ideas are lacking from the Democrats, but a lot also has to do with the agenda. I would argue that Social Security is not the number one issue in this country right now, but the President wants to move it to the front of the agenda. While I can agree that there is no clearly articulated solution from the Democrats (there really isn't from Republicans either, because privatization isn't a solution), even if they did articulate a solution, they should oppose any action because this isn't a debate we should be having right now.

Reflexsive opposition is how the minority party changes the agenda to get topics they want to discuss. It's how you force the majority to keep cycling through issues until they come to one with enough interest on both sides of the aisle to build a coalition on something. The problem is, I'm not sure where they want to get to and what they want to do when they get there. There are some things I know what the plan is if they ever come up on the agenda, but you don't hear them articulated as much because they're not on the agenda.

Deficit Reduction - tax increase
Energy Policy - raise CAFE standards

Whether you like it or not, there is a Democratic Social Security plan too. Raise the contribution cap.

Most things in the world boil down to two decisions, carrot or stick; earn more or spend less. If you want deficit reduction - it's that simple - tax more or spend less. If you're worried about Chinese economic growth, provide selective incentives for companies to stay here, or punish them if they leave. If you want people to buy American products, give them an incentive or price everything else out of the market. If you want people to use less oil, prod them into buying more efficient cars or coerse them by making only efficient cars available.

Government ain't rocket science, the problem is, everybody's looking an "idea" where they can be good cop/good cop. Like Social Security - "Look at the personal ownership we're giving you", says the President. What about the debt burden you're laying on top of it? Democrats do the same thing with health insurance. "We'll give you universal coverage," they say. What about the tax hike to pay for it?


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