I have disagreed with President Obama more times than I have praised him. I knew what would happen when Republicans gained control of both houses of Congress; and I was right; nothing has happened as usual. I have written several articles revealing the disrespect and even shame I feel towards our government. I have pointed to the void of leadership in the House and Senate, and blame the Speaker and Majority Leader for both their absence of ability to perform their responsibilities and their lack of concern for the majority of the American people. I find myself once more praising Mr. Obama, while denouncing Republicans. He is the only person in Washington who is acting in a sane manner.
For working class Americans, the President’s State of the Union message was flawless. He addressed nearly every concern of the average American. Not a single proposal was unreasonable. Not one item on his agenda could not be accomplished if Congress would simply do their jobs.
The Speaker of the House, John Boehner, is an elected official who has a distinct purpose. He is responsible for passing needed legislation, and finding common ground between the two parties to do so. He is not our country’s leader. He stepped outside his boundaries when he invited Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak before Congress. Boehner is not a diplomat or the leader of the free world. President Obama was rightfully upset, and now the leaders of our military are speaking out against Boehner’s boner.
It was predictable when Mr. Obama released his nearly four trillion dollar national budget Monday that Republicans had a ‘hissy fit.’ It is against everything Republicans stand for; the President proposes a tax increase for the wealthiest Americans, and tax breaks for the working class; he wants to narrow the widening gap between the rich and poor. He proposes an end to our government’s polices of extreme austerity, and increase domestic and military spending. Also included are education incentives, and funds to rebuild America’s decaying infrastructure.
The budget, which would take effect on October 1, 2015 would see the end of measures adopted in the ‘sequestration.’ Spending cuts made during that period would be reversed. In addition Mr. Obama would increase funds offering tax credits for child care, subsidies for community college attendance, preschool education for all, funds for infrastructure repair, defenses for cybersecurity, and an increase in the military’s budget.
Reactions from the GOP will be indicative of who is in control of the Republican Party. Opposition will be strongest from the TEA Party; they don’t believe in improving America, simply in tearing it apart.
Without reading the entire budget, Republicans have expressed shock and awe. The very idea of the President’s proposal that our wealthiest Americans pay their fair share of taxes so something positive can be achieved in our nation is ridiculous. We will hear multiple members of the GOP, both Republicans and TEA Party members claiming that we can’t tax the ‘job creators.’ Let’s get the facts straight; the wealthy do not create jobs; they ship them overseas. Job creation is accomplished by medium-sized and small businesses.
My hope is that someday the GOP will return to being a party with good ideas and represent all of America’s people; not just the one-percent. I grew up enjoying the debates between the two major parties. Today they not only don’t debate intelligently, they don’t talk to each other; they criticize the other side of the aisle without engaging in creative discussion.
Commentary by James Turnage
Al Jazeera America