Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Majority of the Majority rule broken in the House of Representatives

The good news is that both the Senate and the House voted to raise taxes and avoid the catastrophic fiscal cliff that was threatening the economy.  The stock market showed its relief by jumping over 300 points.  

The better news is that House Speaker Boehner put the vote to the floor of the House by breaking the "majority of the majority" unwritten rule, that is, he put it up for the entire House to vote even though the majority of Republicans opposed it.  Only 85 of 240 Republicans voted to raise the needed taxes.  The House voted 257 to 167 in favor of the bill, and it passed easily.

Breaking the dictatorial, uncompromising fanaticism of the Rigid Right was a big step toward a functioning government.

Now, we need to have our government do some serious work on spending cuts, including the preposterously bloated military budget as well as obvious Social Security and Medicare reforms, such as later retirement ages and means' testing.

We still have an overwhelming and dangerous deficit in this country, and it has always been obvious to me that we have to both raise taxes and cut spending.  The tax raising happened a little bit, more would have been better as far as I'm concerned, I think that taxes on everyone should go up a couple of percentage points, but that may be a fight for a later day.  So, more cutting and taxing should be in the future, but I'm happy with this modest but essential victory for common sense government that happened today.

In the best of all worlds, gerrymandering reform will sweep through the states and take away the power of politicians to create bizarrely shaped districts that guarantee safe seats for House members, which results in ever more extreme versions of Republicans and Democrats who end up not even existing on the same planet let alone existing in a deliberative body designed to find compromise, make deals, and stumble clumsily toward creating legislation and governing the country. Democrats got more total votes than Republicans in the recent 2012 election, but the gerrymandering still gave the Republicans control of the House by a 234 to 201 margin.  Something is wrong with that picture.

In the even better of all worlds, the voters of this country will finally realize that we can't demand a Rolls Royce government and be willing to only pay for a Ford Fiesta government.