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Saturday, October 1, 2016

WASHINGTON — What might a reasonable, constructive presidential campaign look like?

To ask the question invites immediate dissent because we probably can’t even agree across philosophical or political lines what “reasonable” and “constructive” mean.

But let’s try an experiment: Can we at least reach consensus on the sort of debate between now and November that could help us solve some of our problems? I’ll let you in on the outcome in advance: Ideology quickly gets in the way of even this modest effort.

Start out by defining goals everyone could rally around. We need to get the economy moving faster and bring unemployment down, an all-the-more-urgent imperative after last week’s disappointing jobs report. We want all Americans to share prosperity and to reverse the trend toward widening inequality. We want a sustainable budget where, in good times, revenues more or less match expenditures. And we want an education system that prepares members of the next generation for productive and rewarding lives.

Notice a few things about this list. It does not include social issues. Many Americans on both sides of politics legitimately believe that matters such as abortion, gay marriage, gun control, contraception and religious liberty (I could mention others) are of absolutely central concern. Some of them would reject my agenda at the outset. I’d defend it by insisting that the vast majority of Americans, whatever their views on any of these vexing subjects, want to get to certain basics first. They know the social issues won’t go away.

Conservatives might rebel against the way I frame our objectives. In talking about the budget, I do not even bring up reducing taxes. That is because I think the evidence shows that if we are serious about balancing the budget, government needs more revenue. The brute facts of (1) the steady rise in the costs of health care and (2) the aging of the baby boomers mean that we can’t just hack our way to a balanced budget without eviscerating programs such as Medicare and Social Security that most Americans want.

  • William Deutschlander

    E J, It has been my personal experience that in the 2000’s if you have a Republican running for office, their campaign will be neither TRUTHFULL or CONSTRUCTIVE!

    In the 2000’s the Grand Old Party has become a political party that Russia’s PUTIN would be extremely proud of!

  • Ed

    Well, the cruel hard fact is that americans have lost their ideals, and this has had a devastating effect on our country. As long as education is a “local matter” mom’s and dads’s will always make sure that no really strong demands are made on their lovable children. And in today’s world taking classes we used to mock, such as “Basket Weaving 101” is a disaster for the cxountry. I understand that no politician really favors improving our school system, after all a thinking educated electorate is the LAST thing a politician wantsnto face. Much better to have yokls who follow “one liners”, wedge issues and their prejudices rather than what is good for all of the country. Always remember tht the first job of a politician is his own self enrichment.

  • Ed

    For those who have disfficulty understanding what I was saying in the last comment it is this; We are already on the road to decline because we will not make demands of ourselves for greatness. Having the largest military machine in the world is not greatness.

  • EdC

    Well of course we would be talking about a perfect world, we would not need Unions because employers would pay employees fairly. We would have a fair priceing system, and we would not have a threat from employers that if you don’t work for the wages I decide to let you have, I will import illegals, to do the job for less. but we have the Wal-marts that hire illegal “assoiates” and when caught get their hand spanked, and they give another contribution to some Republican to get them off, you can take that both ways. Yet we still have Politicans that if you buy a half a million dollar yacht out of state and leave you registry in the area where you bought it you don’t have to pay taxes on it, even though you moor it in California, and if you own income property, and it doesn’t make money you can charge it off, doesn’t matter that it takes the taxes of people tha can’t afford, sometimes even homes of their own, to pay for the police officers and fire men to take care of that income property.

    • If Unions lose in Wisconsin tomorrow, it will be the beginning of the end for them ! ! ! The Truth will come out, but it will be too late ! ! !

      • EdC

        You are absolutly right, but it is worse then that, The only reason we need unions is for fairness to the workers, if that goes then we can expect all actual working people to be at the mercy of the likes of, not small business, but ceo’s of major corporations. the goal for the republican party is to send this country back to a fuedal system like in the days of King Arther,

        • I have been telling people this and they are so anti-union brainwashed , and don’t seem to get it ! If some of the Unions are a little shady, then they should be fixed. Unions are or should be the voice of the workers. Small businesses are more willing to work with their employees. Corporations and CEO”s will eat Employees alive without Unions ! ! ! If we can’t trust CEO’s to be honest now , there will be No future for the workers without Unions .

          • The need for effective unions is as great today as it was decades ago. You are correct that the voices of the anti-brainwashed public and I might add the business schools have poisoned the discussion. If the working class ever discovers they’ve been led down the garden path the pendulum may begin to swing the other way. Unions in the past always acted as a counter weight in the market place by keeping wages and benefits up for everyone. Those not in unions benefited without paying the price for progress. That counter-weight is, for the most part, not there anymore and the pressure on wages and benefit packages is costing the working men and women big time. Far too many of today’s workers have no idea what they’ve lost and probably never will. As you say ‘no future for the workers without Unions.’ I hope that both of us are wrong, but recent history seems to be proving us correct. Very, very sad indeed.

      • I agree Bunny….The fact is it is all over right now and “Many Good Americans will suffer …The Middle Class in this nation will be gone in 5 years ..our children will all be working for much lower wages, such words like ,pensions,health care bene’s and good working enviorment”s …will be gone!! The foundation was set in place in “Wisconsin..last night…You can blame the Supreme Court ,for passing “Citizens United…Trust me they were GREASED by the Koach Brothers and the Wealth of this NATION.The new American Political Motto is F__k The Middle Class Worker!!!