Political extortion not the answerPublished 5:58am Monday, October 7, 2013
When it comes to the federal government shutdown, Republicans and Democrats alike need to look in the mirror and admit their own shortcomings. Each party can learn from mistakes and do what’s in the best interests of average Americans.
It’s not in the best interest of the United States of America for either party to use extortion.
“This crisis (federal shutdown) is not about funding the government or Obamacare,” said Jan Linn of Apple Valley in a letter to the editor that appeared in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “It’s about Republicans using extortion to undue laws they cannot change any other way.”
The Democrats are not immune from trying the same tactic, in future years, unless the political philosophy is changed in Washington, D.C.
“If the Affordable Health Care Act’s individual mandate were delayed by a year, there is no reason Republicans would not do the same thing next year to force Obama to privatize Social Security, turn Medicare into a voucher program or defund Medicaid,” said Linn.
Years ago the late conservative U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms of North Carolina was willing to find common ground with his dear friend, the late U.S. Sen. Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota, considered a liberal. These men put country first and party second.
Compromise also was reached between the late Republican President Ronald Reagan and the late Tip O’Neill, U.S. Speaker of the House and Democrat from Massachusetts. Reagan and O’Neill always were on cordial terms, even though they differed on many issues.
Lessons can be learned from the ways that Helms and Humphrey got along, as well as compromise reached by Reagan and O’Neill.
Pay me now or pay me later
Is anyone interested in having some paved roadways in Otter Tail County returning to the days of gravel roads?
This scenario is not as far-fetched as one might believe.
Overlaying one mile of highway costs about $250,000. A total rebuild of one mile of each highway costs an estimated $650,000. Keep in mind there are 1,052 miles of highway in our county, all of which are bituminous.
Each year the county spends close to $6.5 million on its roadways. Needs, however, outpace the money that’s available.
Otter Tail County has two options available in future years.
Implementing a half-cent sales tax, allowed by the state legislature, would raise approximately $4.2 million on an annual basis. Putting a wheelage tax in place, by adding $10 per license tab, would raise about $500,000 annually.
On a statewide basis, a 10-cent increase in the gasoline tax would equal about $67 per driver per year. That’s only $5.58 per month.
Many taxpayers would no doubt balk at paying the $5.58 per month. But that cost would be a bargain compared to the need for new tires and car repairs, more often, due to funds not being available for roadway repairs.
To use the old cliché, it’s pay me now or pay a lot more later on.
Let’s share the sacrifice
Now and then people decry passing along the federal debt to our children and grandchildren. My answer is to put our money where our mouth is.
I agree with those who say that balancing the nation’s budget and reducing debt can and should involve shared sacrifice.
Erasing $15 trillion in national debt is a daunting task. But I join others in a suggestion on how to eliminate $1 trillion of that debt, justly and fairly.
We can pay for the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and for much of the costs related to homeland security, by initiating an income (war) surtax on a sliding scale, based on ability to pay.
Many men and women have paid with their lives and many others have been wounded in wars and conflicts overseas. Everyone should share the burden.