Monday, October 19, 2015

Manic Monday: Liberal and conservative frustration . . .

I'm a conservative, which means I believe that Americans are smart enough to run their own lives without all that much help from the goverment.  Government is needed to protect the public safety and provide certain public services.

I disagree with those who "lean left" about the role of government in certain areas, like health insurance, Social Security, environmental protection, and others.  But I also admit to some frustrations with both sides of the aisle.

There are people who need health insurance and who will either go bankrupt from trying to pay for health care or die without it.  How do they get insurance if they're unemployed or can't afford to pay the premiums?  That was one of the points of the Affordable Care Act, to get insurance into the hands of those that needed it.  What I objected to was the way it was pushed through Congress.  Also, I think trying to address so many health care issues in one bill was biting off more than one could chew.  One thing I would have liked to have seen in the bill was the ability to buy health insurance across state lines, which may have made obtaining health insurance easier.

And there are people who are disabled and can't work, or who can only work in certain jobs.  I know families who deal with seriously disabled members--people with cerebral palsy, or severe autism, or severe mental illness, or Lou Gehrig's disease . . . I could make an endless list.  How do you get medical treatment for these people?  And how do you support the caregivers of these families?

The IRS, TSA, and EPA are probably the most hated governmental agencies in America.  There are legitimate concerns about all three of them--overreaching authority, audits that might not be necessary, patting down people that don't need to be patted down, and other concerns.  But there are people who cheat on their taxes, or who innocently have made mistakes and need help.  The environment does need to be cared for, because dirty air, dirty water, contaminated land--all of them are health hazards.  (And as a Christian, I am called to be a good steward of what has been entrusted to my care.)  And, as much as we might not like to think about it, there are terrorists out there who want to kill Americans, on American soil, and we do need to find them before they can do their job.

On the other hand, we have 18 trillion dollars in debt, and it's fast rising.  Social Security, Medicaid, and other government programs eventually will run out of money.  You can tax and tax all you want, but unless Congress gets out of the habit of spending more than they receive, none of the financial problems of the US will be solved.

Neither liberals nor conservatives seem willing to work with each other to solve the problems we're facing.  Nor do they seem to be willing to crawl into the other side's skin to try and see things from the other point of view, lest they be accused of "compromising".  Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill, while they disagreed with each other philosophically, had drinks together.  At least they were willing to work together.  When was the last time John Boehner and Barack Obama had drinks together?

I'm frustrated with both sides of the aisle, which is why I often think, "A plague on both your parties!"  Both sides of the aisle make decisions about which I can do nothing, yet I have to live with many of the consequences of those decisions.  As do the rest of us.

Is there just no way for both sides to work together without one side completely caving to the other, or one side being accused of "compromise" with the other side?

Just my .04, adjusted for inflation.


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