Do Americans Really Want A Divided Government?

The cycle always returns…..when one party has all the power, it seems that the voter will vote one out so that there is a divide in the branches of government…but is this a good idea?

Political Wire tries to explain the thinking…..

“If Republicans take back control of the House and maybe even the Senate, it will return American politics to its standard state: divided government. In the 21 Congresses after LBJ’s presidency, one party has held full control of the House, Senate, and White House just six times. Also since LBJ, the longest one party has controlled those three bodies is just for four years (1977-1981 and 2003-2007). And get this: Every time a party has had control of the three bodies, it ended in a wave election for the other side (1980, 1994, and 2006). So is what we’re witnessing just American politics returning to its natural state? Indeed, our NBC/WSJ poll in late August found that 62% of respondents said it was better if different parties control the White House and Congress, while only 29% preferred one party in command of both.”

Now that is a helluva question……and the more you look at history of the political process….it does seem that Americans want a divided government….it think it comes back to the old “checks and balances” thing…..but a better question is it a conscious desire or is it something else?

I guess it is an unconscious thing……..

Pew Research: “While 75% identify the Republicans as the party regarded as doing best in the midterms, fewer than half (46%) know that Republicans will have a majority only in the House when the new Congress convenes in January. About one-in-seven (14%) say the GOP won both the House and Senate; 8% say they won just the Senate; 5% do not think they will have a majority in either chamber; and 27% do not know.”

That shows just how important the mid-terms were….after all the hoopla on the Right of how the American people have spoken……but they are not sure of what they actually said……situation normal…..

Alternative Deficit Reduction Plan

Just a week or so ago there was a draft of a plan by the Deficit Reduction Commission…. (or something like that)…..and with the release came the oh craps from Repubs as well as Dem…they hate this issue or that cut…..most notably it was the cuts and tweaks of the Social Security system that got the most attention…personally, I found parts of the draft very doable and well thought out….but that aside there has been a wealth of bitching and finally we have an alternative to the draft……

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), a member of the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, offered a comprehensive proposal to reduce the federal deficit without making middle class Americans foot the bill.  Schakowsky’s plan is an alternative to the Bowles-Simpson plan and would reduce the deficit by $426.95 billion in 2015, surpassing President Obama’s $250 billion target. Critically, the Schakowsky plan accomplishes deficit reduction without making cuts to essential federal expenditures that benefit the middle class.

The Schakowsky plan is based on five key elements:

1) Increased economic stimulus to spur growth in the immediate term

· Provide $200 billion to invest over the next two years in measures to create jobs and spur economic growth, including passing the Local Jobs for America Act; and funding for education and law enforcement; Unemployment Insurance, Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (FMAP) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program extensions; and infrastructure. 

· Adopt the President’s proposals to eliminate overseas tax havens and incentives for outsourcing

2) Smart, targeted spending cuts

· Non-Defense Discretionary – $7.55 billion in savings through increased efficiency and cuts to programs that benefit large corporations that don’t need assistance.

· Defense Discretionary – $110.7 billion in cuts from the 2015 defense budget, including efficiency savings, reducing our troop levels, cutting weapons systems we don’t need, and scaling back the wartime increases in the size of the military.

3) Mandatory spending cuts

  • Health Care – at least $17.2 billion in savings by implementing measures to bring down the cost of health care to the federal government and lower health care inflation overall.
  • Other – $7.7 billion in savings by cutting agriculture subsidies in half, and redistributing federal support to offer greater benefits to small family farms reduce subsidies to large corporate agribusiness.

4) Reductions in tax expenditures

  • Raise $132.2 billion by closing tax subsidies for companies that ship American jobs overseas.

5) Increases in revenues

  • Raise $144.6 billion in revenue through progressive reforms to the estate tax, treating capital gains and dividends as regular income, and enacting a cap and trade proposal that includes protections for lower-income people.
  • Enact President Obama’s budget proposal to let the Bush tax cuts for the top 2 brackets expire and return to 2009 estate tax levels.
  • Non-tax revenue – raise $7 billion by addressing places where the private sector is currently under-paying.

The Schakowsky alternative does not contain any cuts to Social Security.

  • It ensures long-term solvency to Social Security by eliminating the wage cap on the employer side and raising it to 90% on the employee side, applying FICA to all wage income below the cap, and establishing a modest legacy tax on wealthier Americans.
  • Surplus funding that can be used to improve the extremely-modest benefits that are now provided.

All the above from the Representative’s website….

There you have it…an alternative and the sanctity of Social Security is preserved…..Is there any thoughts on this proposal….will it help make the liberals happy….if it does then the conservs will be pissed…..but again it is a start and could be a starting place for compromise…..IMO, not as good as the draft released last week….a little to non-specific……