Thursday, April 16, 2009

Democrats and Republicans

Every once in a while I have a revelation. Actually, that term might be a little strong, especially once you hear about what these revelations are. For example, while running one day, I realized that if I jogged slower I could run farther. Wow, brilliant stuff, right?

Well, recently I had another one. I discovered that Republicans don't like Democrats, and Democrats don't like Republicans. Of course this sounds obvious, but here is the amazing thing. Even a casual supporter of one party won't even listen to the other's ideas. Let me give an example.

A few months ago, I heard about The Fair Tax. The Fair Tax is a concept where citizens would pay taxes through a national consumption (sales) tax instead of the current system of taxing income. The Fair Tax is revenue neutral, meaning the government would receive the same amount of income under the current plan. The big benefit to citizens is that they would no longer have to spend countless hours complying and filing under a tax code that most don't understand (including our government "leaders"). No cuts in government departments or programs (other than the IRS), just a change in the way taxes are collected. I presented the thought to a politically knowledgeable friend of mine, who just happens to be a Democrat. After a quick Google search, they discovered that this idea was being pushed by Republican Senator John Linder, and conservative talk show host Neal Boortz. By association, the idea was discounted already.

To be fair, I fall into this all the time. I find myself having trouble listening to anything Ms. Pelosi, VP Biden or President Obama say without extreme prejudice. I analyze every sentence and start screaming about the Democratic agenda. But did I really hear what they said? Is everything they say really that different than what had been said in government for the last 20 years? Probably not.

The real problem in this country is that the citizens keep feeding money and energy into the two party system. We keep pumping each one up so they can battle each other. However, THEY ARE BOTH ON THE SAME SIDE! The problem isn't with Democrats or Republicans, but with the system of government we have in place. Both sides talk about reducing the deficit, slashing unnecessary spending, and balancing the budget, but their actions show otherwise. And no, this rant is not due to the bailout or stimulus packages approved over the past few years. This rant is due to the fact that government spending across the board has increased. In current year dollars, our government has increased spending from $1 trillion in 1990 to $2.1 trillion in 2005. Increases occurred when Democrats were in power AND when Republicans were in power. According to the latest figures, government spending will go to at least $3 trillion in 2011. Frightening, right?

So how do we get out of this cycle? A group of (mostly) conservatives are holding a "Tea Party" today across the country to express the growing sentiment of frustration with the government. They are staging a type of "revolution." But of course, these are Republicans, so the Democrats are discounting this as a publicity stunt. Protests on the Democratic side have calmed down because they are in power. Do we need a third party to break things up? Is that even realistic?

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