Last Saturday I woke up to an overwhelming sense of dread and sadness over the state of our government that I hadn’t felt since about this time last year.
In the dark of night the Senate voted to take away health care from 13 million people and increase the national debt by $1 trillion. They voted to further undermine the middle class and wage war on the poor. They also voted to give establishment donors a big Christmas present.
We knew this bill was really just a donor reimbursement plan. In fact, Senator Graham told us so, himself. But it’s so much worse, this bill is an assault on working people and families. This bill is an attack on our economy and the resources we leave for our children.
Financing for renewable energy projects could come to a grinding halt (and retroactively punish investors) under a provision known as BEAT. Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has been leveraged to enact massive tax cuts for wealthy GOP donors. Cancer treatment across the country is threatened and the stage is set for looting of Social Security and Medicare in order to combat the debt.
I’m not anti-business or anti-profit, I’m anti-profiteering. And that’s what this plan is; shameless profiteering at the expense of working families – including us, right here in NY-21. The BEAT provision alone would keep billions of dollars in renewable energy investment from flowing into our district over the next 5-10 years. This isn’t about protecting the environment or having a strong economy. This is about smart investments and sustained returns, this is about our future and our children’s future.
If the GOP establishment wanted to be fiscally responsible and create more jobs they would invest in the outdoor recreation industry – an industry that supports more jobs than oil, natural gas and mining combined, and that Americans spend more money on ($646 billion annually) than pharmaceuticals, electronics or automobiles.
It’s time to put ideological differences aside and get back to helping people. And it starts with diversity in Congress – electing people who truly represent the many and varied interests across our country. I’m willing to bet progress can be made if we send more people to Washington who live the policies being created in Congress, as opposed to those who can only have a theoretical or academic discussion about them.
Our current reality is a product of partisan politics, fueled by money and re-election campaigns. Instead of sharing ideas in order to create legislation that works for Americans, politicians speak in empty platitudes and hide behind ideology. They work largely to please the big campaign contributors keeping them in office at the expense of working families. We see this problem on both sides of the isle and it leaves the interests of the American people second to a small group of wealthy donors, reinforcing wealth and income inequality. This is not only wrong, it’s unpatriotic and it’s time to stand up and fight back.
Photo: US Capitol at dusk (2013) courtesy Wikimedia user Martin Falbisoner CC BY-SA 3.0