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How did the President of “Yes we can!” wind up with a Congress of “No we can’t!”

By Yvonne Nyenhuis

Fri, Mar 22nd, 2013
Posted in All Commentary

By Yvonne Nyenhuis

Our ancestors came across dangerous waters in small wooden boats to face an unknown wilderness. They challenged the domination of England and started a new nation. In the eighteen-hundreds they left behind the comfort of the East Coast and traveled over mountains and deserts, again to face the unknown, battle Indians and frigid winters. During a horrendous Civil war, they built a railroad that spanned a continent. In 1914 they completed the Panama Canal. Hoover Dam was built during the depression. In the thirties they mobilized for the Second World war in “six months” and played a major roll in defeating Germany and Japan. In 1956 President Eisenhower signed the Federal Aid Highway Act into law. In 1969 we sent Neil Armstrong to the Moon. Our Ancestors were carried on the wings of hope and sustained by determination and the will to succeed.

Here we are today in a land of great abundance and we find ourselves frozen in time, unable to solve our problems and move our country forward. There is on-going cry about the ineptitude of Congress. In Rodney Kings words, “Why can’t they all get along?”

While we blame Congress, “we,” the voters, have caused the dysfunction in government. We sent to Washington a bunch of radicals who are in direct opposition to the Presidents policies. We set ourselves up to fail! If we had sent legislators who supported the Presidents proposals, we would be enjoying substantial growth and increasing the number of jobs in our economy.

What happened in the 2010 election? Our diverse population projected on to this President their own personal agenda then felt betrayed when their aspirations weren’t realized. The “air went out of the balloon.” They didn’t show up to vote in the mid-term election.

Meanwhile extremists became energized. Christian Fundamentalists who trust Faith over Science, seek to teach creationism in the class room, think homosexuality is a choice and vow to rescind Roe v- Wade, take their seats in the House. “Small Government” enthusiasts who want “Government so small it can be drowned in a bath tub!” fight to cut funds for education, research, the EPA, FEMA and Affordable healthcare. The third group include Wall Street, Corporations and some of our wealthiest Americans. They believe in the “Free Market” (no regulations). They outsource jobs to third world countries, and destroy unions. Also, we see among this “enlightened” group, White Supremacists who are still fighting the Civil war and waving a Confederate flag.

These “Leopards are not going to change their spots!” They want to destroy Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, bury Women’s rights and limit Civil rights.

Perhaps the best thing that has happened recently was the last Presidential election where voters refused to be intimidated. They showed up at the poles with unflagging determination and courage. Hopefully we can gain enough new members of Congress in 2014 to revive the Spirit of “Yes we can!”


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6:58:22, Mar 27th 2013

Mark Kottman says:
Our ancestors WERE carried on the wings of hope and sustained by determination and the will to succeed. They were not hampered by the excessive burden of an out of control federal government. People such as Andrew Carnegie created vast wealth in private industry. In turn, after selling Carnegie Steel for $480 million ($13 billion in today’s dollars), he used his fortune to build Carnegie Hall, Carnegie Mellon University, Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, along with hundreds of local public libraries in small towns. He was able to contribute to our country because he was able to accumulate great wealth.

Would the same be possible today? It is becoming increasingly difficult. If a business manages to succeed despite the myriad regulations and taxes, they are endlessly attacked by those who would prefer that there would be no "rich" in this country. The average household income in the US is $50,000. Imagine if we could magically and perfectly redistribute the wealth so that every household in the US earned $50,000. Who would be the next Andrew Carnegie, or Bill Gates if you prefer, then? Who would be the person that has enough wealth to build Carnegie Hall, or even to build a local public library. For that matter, who would be able to afford to buy the houses, the cars, the cell phones, etc. that keep our economy moving?

The good news is that the economic "pie" is not a fixed size. We don't have to be content with a $50,000 household income. With personal initiative and whole lot of work, I believe that anyone in the US can make for themselves a good life. I also believe that no one has "made it" without personal initiative and whole lot of work, no matter how advantaged you think they were. On the other hand, there is no way to increase that $50,000 average household income by the government playing Robin Hood and taking from the rich and giving to the poor. That money is put to better use by individuals investing their money as they see fit, and in the process creating jobs that will allow others to climb the ladder of success.

Unfortunately for the country as a whole, President Obama has wasted his obvious leadership skills by leading us down the proverbial primrose path that does not lead to prosperity. There is no doubt that he is a dynamic speaker, an energetic campaigner, and a hero to many in the US. However all that means nothing when it's used in the promotion of policies that harm the very people he proposes to help. The young people of this country, especially in the inner cities, have unemployment rates that are many times the national average. Health insurance premiums for the young are skyrocketing because of Obamacare. The national debt continues to grow daily, at an increasing rate, and even modesty cuts to the rate of growth are cause of outcry. The country needs leadership and instead we get campaign-style rhetoric. Many of the new Republican members of congress (Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Paul Rand, among others) provide a compelling alternative vision for growing the economy by shrinking, instead of growing, the federal government.