Goodbye Mr. Boehner

We will always need a viable, strong and thoughtful opposition in Congress, one that acts as a counterbalance to the excesses that will inevitably come if the majority party feels no need to seek consensus with others as it implements its own agenda. Sadly, the GOP is a sycophantic caricature of the great institution it once was, and is unable to be such a voice; and it may never be again if it continues on its present path.

John BoehnerYou know, while I am sure it is no surprise to my readers that I don’t agree with the Conservative Agenda (as presently conceived), and have never felt that Rep. John Boehner was a very effective Speaker of the House, I also recognize that Boehner was in an extremely difficult position: trying to hold together an increasingly fractious, extremist, and polarized GOP while simultaneously trying to make some sort of progress on many important issues. Not an enviable position; and he did far better in that thankless situation than most anyone else would have.

So, rather than “piling on” and mocking or ridiculing him as he resigns from office and leaves Congress, I think it best to wish him well, and thank him for his dedication.

I do worry, though – Boehner is the latest casualty in the GOP’s race to marginalize itself ever further from the American mainstream, alienating itself from most groups within the electorate in ways that will take decades to recover from, if they ever do.

We will always need a viable, strong and thoughtful opposition in Congress, one that acts as a counterbalance to the excesses that will inevitably come if the majority party feels no need to seek consensus with others as it implements its own agenda. Sadly, the GOP is a sycophantic caricature of the great institution it once was, and is unable to be such a voice; and it may never be again if it continues on its present path.

With Boehner gone, the Republican Party may well descend into chaos for a time.  But whether it does or not, I worry about what the future will hold if they continue to reject the centrality of consensus-building within the political process.

Copyright (c) 2015, Allen Vander Meulen III, all rights reserved.  I’m happy to share my writings with you, as long as proper credit for my authorship is given. (e.g., via a credit that gives my full name and/or provides a link back to this site – or just email me and ask!)

Raising the Age of Social Security Eligibility?

We’re paying our Congressional Reps and Senators a handsome wage and even better health and retirement benefits to look out for us; so, it’s about time they got serious about doing the job we’re paying them to do, and fix this mess – so that we can have some modest assurance of financial stability in our retirements, too.

11885164_10154157348992908_2115962267242637017_nI agree with Bernie on most issues. Not quite so sure about this one.

There are really two gaps that need to be addressed:

First, Social Security in general is underfunded and additional revenues absolutely must be found if it is to remain solvent. The solution is clear and incontestable: raise the limits on how much of one’s income is subject to the Social Security tax; and perhaps even raise the rates, especially on those who have large incomes.

Second (and as is at the heart of this proposal) it has always been assumed that the taxes paid by workers retiring in the future would fund the Social Security benefits of those retiring now.  (Which further assumes that there will always be a significantly larger pool of those still working compared to those who are currently retired.)

Continue reading “Raising the Age of Social Security Eligibility?”