“Liberals want big government, Conservatives want small government, Centrists demand smart government. ”
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It’s ironic that Barack Obama was against the individual mandate – the idea of requiring people to buy health insurance – before his Republican opponents were. During the 2008 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton had proposed such a mandate; Obama campaigned against it and used it to attack Clinton. At the same time, Republicans Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich were for it. As recently as 2009, Romney endorsed the idea. And as recently as October 2011 Gingrich’s websites promoted the mandate for Americans earning more than $50,000 a year.
Conservatives often say they like competition in the marketplace, but never acknowledge that government is usually the guarantor of competition. If we leave the market unguided then a handful of conglomerates could take control to become the gatekeepers thus diminishing competition. This has happened numerous times throughout America’s history. And government has repeatedly put in place policies to guarantee that does not happen. The FCC ruling on net neutrality is another one of those anti-trust policies.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg likes to call our immigration policy “national suicide.” That is because we are allowing the best and brightest to come to the United States to earn an education, but as soon as they graduate we kick them out of the country. In doing so we educate them, but do not gain the benefits of that education. Instead they return to their home countries and become successful entrepreneurs, engineers, scientists or another type of educated professional that American economic success relies on. Mayor Bloomberg also likes to say that every time one of these foreign students graduate there should be a green card stapled to his or her diploma.
I used to believe in the Tooth Fairy. That was until my father stepped on the Starscream Transformer lying on the floor of my bedroom in his bare feet, and the subsequent cursing that followed as he limped out of the room. You see, the Transformers action figures of 1984 were not the Transformers toys of today; they were made of metal as opposed to plastic and were not pleasant to step on. On this particular night, my dad was running a stealth mission which involved exchanging the tooth I had lost while eating an apple that day for a dollar bill, until one unfortunate step ended the lives of both this fictional character I envisioned procuring children’s teeth via Breaking & Entering AND Starscream (which really should have been taken care of by Megatron long before that).
The health care reform law (The Affordable Care Act) jammed through Congress by President Obama and congressional Democrats was an extremely divisive and heated issue. At the time of its enactment only 41 % of Americans supported the new legislation. Republicans and pundits predicted that it would be the issue that would bring down the Democrats in the 2010 midterms. Privately the Democrats agonized, but publicly they argued that Americans would come to appreciate the reforms. They said and still say that Americans' support for the law will only increase with time as they learn and feel the new changes. A recent poll revealed that more than 50% of Americans still don’t know what The Affordable Care Act actually does.
The Bush Tax Cuts are scheduled to end later this year. The Republicans in their savvy “let’s always make a political statement way,” made sure that this debate would occur right before the 2010 midterms. When they passed the tax cuts in 2001 and 2003, the Republicans put the expiration date close enough to the election knowing that it would be a difficult issue for the Democrats to run against. Current economic conditions make it an even harder sell for the Democrats to allow the tax cuts to expire. The Republicans have the Democrats against the ropes on this issue. Nobody wants their taxes increased especially during a recession. But Fareed Zakaria recently wrote a persuasive argument to end the tax cuts.
What reforms and policies should centrists promote?
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