Politicians need to address real problems

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 30, 2007

Not every voter is interested in following politics 365 days a year endlessly.

Many Americans prefer to focus upon political issues either when elections near or when issues intrude upon their personal practice of democracy.

But today our country faces serious issues that are only beginning to intrude upon our daily lives, yet hold an ominous potential to harm us and that which we value over a long period of time.

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So while we worry about holiday plans and expenses, family issues that peak at get-togethers, and how to maximize our medical deductibles at the end of the calendar years, we should take a moment to consider some of the national issues that are going to intrude upon us very soon.

We should worry about the declining value of the dollar because it is going to make everything more expensive for Americans, not just travel. What has our national fiscal policy done in this regard? Not much really.

Our national fiscal policy of borrow and spend has diminished the dollar. And the Federal Reserve seems inclined to singularly focus upon holding up the stock market rather than creating fiscal policy that would enhance the dollar.

We should be concerned that our politicians are ignoring immigration policy other than to shout loudly, “Send them all back to Mexico.”

We need a thoughtful immigration policy that provides workers for a growing economy while protecting our borders and building our nation with those who seek citizenship.

We need to be more concerned about Iraq. The war simply goes on and on, every report of progress resulting in no change overall.

Five years and there is no exit path identified, even advocated by this president. Are we there for 50 years? Will a new president bring our troops home? We do not know.

We need to think about how the political process became one in which the voters are entertained at elections then ignored in policy. Let’s face it, special interests and big business are making the decisions for America, and voters are left wondering who represents them.

The answer often is no one. Lacking the money to gain political attention, we are left to accept that political decisions are most often financial decisions. Without public financing of elections we can count on living on empty for a long time.

Our trade policies have proven to harm Americans and to harm America. We have traded good jobs for poisoned Chinese toys.

But are any presidential candidates speaking out for us in their campaigns? Is any candidate arguing that we must amend or end these treaties?

Our health care programs are out of control. The pay to HMO executives is unjustified. The fact that America produces more pharmaceutical solutions than the rest of the planet but then charges you and me while discounting the drugs everywhere else makes no sense. The maintaining of medical records that are not digital is wasteful. The paperwork that surrounds the system is expensive and inaccurate.

Finally, we are no longer entertained by politicians who want to talk about flag burning and marriage when we face real problems that affect our families, our financial security, and our peaceful well-being.

Want to be president? How about start by talking about issues that matter? We want you to talk about our home equity, the interest rate on our credit cards, why some affluent Americans pay lower tax rates than the rest of us, our cable bills and service, and why we want out of Iraq and no one in Washington seems to care what we want.

Jim Crawford is a contributing columnist for The Ironton Tribune.