One of the challenges in our current political construct is we are debating issues from the ends and not the middle. The ends represent extreme points of view who show less a willingness to compromise, some even within their own party. Yet, if we strive to discuss the issues and their complex causes from the middle, we will find more agreement and can get things done. Mind you, there is no perfect legislation, but oftentimes legislation and reasonable oversight is needed to govern and debating from the extremes stands in the way.
With an eye toward being practical, let me make a few observations that would enable better governance and get our national leaders back on better footing. This approach would also apply to state and local governance as well.
– Immigration: Truth be told, if we deported everyone that some want us to, our economy would be harmed. Hard working immigrants and illegal aliens are not replacing Americans in jobs. They tend to be doing jobs that Americans do not want. If you truly want to stop illegal immigration, stop hiring them and that goes for our more conservative friends who are doing some hiring, too. Since we are not prepared to do so, then we need to work out a reasonable path forward. I would begin with the Senate Bill which was passed on a bipartisan basis twenty months ago.
– Guns: Americans are killing too many Americans. Further, Americans are committing suicide at a rampant rate, by far the greatest reason for gun deaths in America (about two-thirds of annual gun deaths). The NRA represents gun sellers and not gun owners. Their voice has been heard. Now, let’s listen to parents and act like adults. Americans favor background checks on all transactions. We favor more elongated waiting periods. The police has recommended codifying bullets to better solve crimes. We should at least do these things as well as addressing other issues, but let’s start from the middle.
– Jobs and economy: Some do not care to take notice, but the economy has been on the rebound and job and wage growth have been occurring. This is in contrast to other countries who are in or may fall back into recession. Now, we need to continue to retrain and develop people for new careers as we have a skills gap. Efforts have been under way within our community college systems with federal, state and local investment. Let’s further those efforts. Let’s also invest in our infrastructure and new renewable energy. We have needs and jobs in renewable energy are growing at a fast clip. There are almost twice as many solar energy jobs than coal energy jobs in the US and the sun shines in every state.
– Trade agreements mean more economic growth: This is a path forward that has always been a growth enabler. An economic advisor to Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton noted this similarity between the two. President Obama has also been pushing trade in Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Europe which is excellent policy. And, with their 11 million people and proximity, the US Chamber of Commerce has regarded favorably lifting the embargo with Cuba, which is as large as an US state.
– Health care: Let me reiterate a message that continues to get drowned out by those who want to drown it out. The Affordable Care Act is showing some success from multiple measures. And, this success is in spite of the self-inflicted and opposition winds in the sails. What is not being said enough, is it could even be more successful if the remaining states expand Medicaid. In my view, the ACA is actually aiding the economy, which is contrary to opposition rhetoric. Why do I say this? With more people covered, they are using health care services more. These healthcare spends coupled with their ability to use other dollars for other goods and services is spurring the economy. So, rather beat on their chest to satisfy the extreme views, our legislators should listen to Americans and improve the ACA.
I could mention others issues, but these five areas will help us continue down a better path. Everyone’s voice needs to be heard, but I would pay attention to those are willing to listen. If someone is too busy shouting at the end, they will not hear you. Let’s govern from the middle.