Give or take a few. That is how much longer we must wait until the 2012 national elections. With that in mind, I am not against hearing about the possible contenders–Palin, Pawlenty, Huntsman, Ryan, etc–for the title of “Challenger” but I think we would be neglecting more important things were we to spend much effort and ink on these folks this far out from the starting line.
I do realize that campaigns, like celebrations of Christmas, seem to start ever earlier than they did in my youth–and I understand the financial drivers behind both of these phenomena. Leaving that aside, we have some much more critical matters of policy to address with the people who currently hold elected office in our House, Senate and White House.
The Senate is supposed to be in Memorial Day recess this week. But the chamber is so ungovernable that Majority Leader Harry Reid doesn’t even have the votes to declare a recess. So he decided instead to have a few “pro forma” sessions, such as Tuesday’s, allowing senators to take a vacation without voting for it.
In a sense, the Senate has been in a pro-forma session all year. Beyond a few ho-hum pieces of legislation — patent reform! FAA reauthorization! — senators could have taken a five-month holiday and the republic would be none the worse. Although there’s general agreement that the most pressing issue facing the federal government is its runaway finances, the Democrat-controlled Senate hasn’t passed a budget in 762 days, a new standard for dereliction of duty.
Dereliction of duty indeed. Strong words from a paper which can usually be relied upon to tell us that we’ve never had a more marvelous administration than the one which we are currently enjoying.
Meanwhile, in Minnesota, the Senate has passed several budget bills–only to see them get vetoed by Governor Dayton:
Sen. Roger Reinert, (DFL) Duluth, is confused as to why the only thing the legislature had to do, did not get done.
“It’s disappointing,” Reinert told Eyewitness News. “Very frustrating you know. We spent 5 months [in St. Paul]. Job number one is balance the budget. It’s the only thing the constitution required us to do and in fact the problem got a billion dollars while we were there. But no progress was made.”
The main point of contention between the GOP majority and Dayton, is state spending. Dayton wants to supplement the republicans’ spending plan with more revenue. That would happen by taxing the state’s highest income earners. Republicans are standing strong against his plan.
Minnesota already suffers from relatively high taxation. Increasing taxes on the state’s wealthiest citizens will not tend to increase revenues. Instead, they will go to neighboring states with much friendlier tax laws. California and New York have already discovered how much they lose when they increase taxes, but Governor Dayton seems to be undeterred by such facts.
One notices an interesting parallel between these two articles. The politician being quoted in this second article is not a Republican, but he does not (at least not in this quote) call out the Republicans for being the bad guys. No, instead he makes a passive “no progress was made” statement. By so doing, he does not directly attack the governor, but leaves things open for such an interpretation.
Back to where I started with all of this. Nothing wrong with talking about and listening to those who are even now jockeying for a shot at the top in 2012. We have, however, serious financial matters to address at the federal, state, local and even familial levels today and tomorrow and the next day.
Let’s not get sidetracked or sucked into thinking that we can let everything ride and look forward to a political savior to right the ship and bail out the bilges at some point in the future. We must act now in ways large and small or we shall ourselves be guilty of dereliction of duty.