With the completion of President Obama's first 100 days in office drawing competing reviews from partisans, it is perhaps a good time to reflect on the values that are shared by Democrats and Republicans alike.
Both parties strongly support our national defense and the members of our armed forces that protect us. Although the violence has been waning, America is still fighting two wars, and it has been reassuring to see President Obama continuing President Bush's Middle East policies so closely. Despite the apprehension of many, President Obama is responsibly drawing down forces in Iraq to a stationed force of about 50,000, and ramping up forces in Afghanistan to attempt the same "Surge" strategy there that worked so well in Iraq. The Democrat-controlled Congress is obliging by funding the war appropriation fully, approving even more funds than had been requested.
On the domestic front, we are facing a period of serious economic challenges, and so far the opinions on the possible solutions have all been split down party lines. The TARP bailout passed last fall was almost blocked by a lack of Republican support, and this year's Stimulus Act and Federal budget both passed with virtually no Republican support. Despite this division, there are some policies that I feel confident in asserting are shared by members of both parties.
Neither party approves of corporate welfare. The idea that the federal government would benefit millionaire CEOs by giving (or loaning with little chance of repayment, or overpaying to purchase) tens of billions of dollars to investment banks or insurance companies or selected auto companies would never be supported by Republicans or Democrats. Yet, surprisingly, this is what is occurring now.
Both parties oppose political corruption. Earmarking funds to benefit family members or political supporters is roundly denounced, but as the Federal budget gets bigger, our representatives find more and more opportunities for graft.
The rule of law is what made our great economy possible; surely members of neither party oppose the rule of law. So why is it proposed that judges be allowed to arbitrarily rewrite mortgage contracts? And why does President Obama demand that auto company creditors abandon their legal rights to assets under bankruptcy law?
For several years now, both Democrats and Republicans have complained about the growing Federal deficits and debt. So why is it that the deficit is approaching $2 trillion for FY2009, and trillion dollar deficits are projected indefinitely? Surely the Democrats that now control Congress and the White House understand the economic destruction and suffering that will be caused by this fiscal irresponsibility.
Apparently they do, as a high-ranking Obama Administration official warned of the danger last week. Calling current deficit spending "unsustainable," he warned of skyrocketing interest rates for consumers if the U.S. continues to finance government by borrowing from other countries. "We can't keep on just borrowing from China. We have to pay interest on that debt, and that means we are mortgaging our children's future with more and more debt." Eventually, holders of U.S. debt will "get tired" of buying it, causing interest rates to increase. "It will have a dampening effect on our economy."
The name of the official: Barack Obama. Wouldn't you think he would take advantage of the broad bipartisan support and take real action to eliminate the deficit?