Stanstamper’s Blog

December 6, 2011

The Two Sides of Compromise

Filed under: Uncategorized — stanstamper @ 10:32 pm
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Senior advisor to President Obama, David Plouffe, has sent out an advisory to the media appealing for Congress to act quickly and approve the president’s recommendation to extend the payroll tax credit program that was placed into effect last year.
The result would give the average American worker an extra $1,500 in spendable cash next year, something the president believes will “stimulate the economy.”
I can’t recall ever meeting a Republican who was not in favor of cutting taxes, yet the president’s plan is falling on cold ears.
Ahh, but there is a catch. Republicans point to the mountain of red ink (too much government spending) that threatens to devour our great nation not unlike a hungry wolf devours a rabbit. Repubs say the president’s plan “must be paid for with cuts.”
His response is to the contrary. “We will pay for it by taxing the rich.”
All of this is routine political rhetoric, and at least as of this writing, neither side has submitted a plan that has enough bipartisan support to pass.
But there’s something missing here. Just paying for the tax cut extension isn’t enough. It does not address the multi-trillion dollar (and growing) deficit that seduces our country into the financial abyss.
Were I a member of congress, my proposal would be to extend the tax cuts for a period of not one, but two years, and make them permanent if the economy were in fact rebounding. My proposal for paying for it would be for half of the funds to come from cuts, and half to come from an extremely modest tax increase on the top 1% of American wage earners AVERAGED OVER THE PAST 5 YEARS.
This is very important because any citizen who reaches retirement age and sells a family farm or business, INSTANTLY becomes a member of the 1% club for that year. This individual should not be forced to sacrifice a significant portion of his or her life’s savings, by virtue of having a once-in-a-lifetime sale of family assets.
And so we go forward, giving both sides the opportunity to save face with their political cronies and their respective parties.
Next, let’s approach the completion of a functional budget that will get our country back on track… in the same fashion.
Presently, posturing for political parties and those who fund them, as well as next November’s elections, drives the political train in Washington, D.C.
America deserves better, and the only obvious tool within our means to affect change is at the ballot box.
But we continue to be a divided nation even at the ballot box. Remember Barney Franks’s words last week, as he announced his retirement: “We (Congress) didn’t just parachute into the capital. We were elected.”
And so it is that the ballot box alone will probably take an extended time to allow the electorate to “adjust” Congress.
A quicker and more effective fix involves identifying an ideological champion… someone who has the knowledge and the courage to lay out a sensible plan… and most importantly SELL IT to the American people.
Though that may border on the edge of impossible, it is reality.
Whenever our brightest and sharpest minds come together on neutral ground and put the needs of our nation and its people before all other political gods, we will flourish.
Until then, we will languish.

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June 10, 2010

Bad Political Inertia…

Filed under: Uncategorized — stanstamper @ 12:44 pm
Tags: ,

America’s political process is a lot like a 200 car freight train. Once you get it going, it’s hard to stop.
When it comes to our present levels of government spending, it’s hard to find many politicians with even the courage to TRY to stop some wild and crazy spending.
While I applaud the president for taking action (though a year late) to modify federal hiring and look for departmental cuts (a low target of 5%), this is his first significant movement to slow what has become a trend of expanding government while the private business sector contracts.  We also continue to purchase high-dollar military items even the Joint Chiefs say they don’t need.
If you take time to read the piece written by Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn to the right of this column (published in the Hugo Daily: 6-8,9,10) you will begin to understand that American politicians are not only addicted to spending, but we have surrendered common sense in the process.
Because of the length of Sen. Coburn’s letter, we will run it in three installments. The second and third installments are almost unbelievable in the facts that they reveal.
Sadly, the Washington bureaucracy has little appetite for change, and Coburn and other conservatives have their work cut out for them. They are going to be met with fierce resistance every step of the way.
Oh, yes, it does matter who voters elect to send to Washington this fall.
Wisdom is only a portion of the formula for a productive politician in today’s world.
Other important attributes are willingness to LISTEN to the voters and COURAGE. DO THE RIGHT THING, and you get to keep your political job.
But, here we go again. Nearly half the country thinks the right thing is to print more money and dole it out, or design and purchase weapons systems we can’t pay for. (How about $300,000 for the pilot’s helmet in the new Joint Strike Fighter?)
Also in the HDN we publish another revealing story about how politicians presently don’t want to be called to vote on anything controversial on the eve of the seasonal elections. They can’t even pass a budget because they know it will be loaded with all kinds of “normal” spending embarrassments that will rile the voters even more.
Too bad the citizenry can’t vote every year. That would help keep some of these political shenanigans to a minimum.

December 23, 2009

Three Americas

Filed under: 1 — stanstamper @ 8:59 pm
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A few months ago, this column focused on that inescapable fact that America continues to grow more and more divided.
We talked about “two Americas” in which political ideology was becoming more and more pronounced.
But today, we ask if this split is not changing again.
Perhaps there are actually three Americas.
Between the well-entrenched political left and right, we have the tea baggers, and their numbers are said to be growing. They are quick to deny their loyalty to any political party.
The tea baggers are growing more and more frustrated at the two party process. They appear to be more centralistic—some would say fair-minded.
By some counts, the tea baggers outnumber both the left and the right, but political historians say they can’t crack the two-party system and won’t ultimately hang together.
On our opinion page today, these diametrically opposed political philosophies are very obvious right here in Oklahoma.
Democrats appear to back health care “reform at any cost” and Republicans say, “Is it reform, and who gets financially hurt in the process.”
But, that is what a two-party system is all about, and it is this enormous gap in the middle into which the tea baggers are flocking.
Many taxpayers are growing more appalled at the quality of leadership in all facets of government. Meaningful reform plays second fiddle to personal gain and party ideology.
Sure, there are a few exceptions, but they quickly grow weary of constantly fighting the system.
Like many vocations, when an individual comes along with the skills, integrity and desire to be an effective political leader…that individual can simply step into corporate America and be more successful without having to carry all the frustrating baggage that comes with the job.
And some, of course either get “Potomatic Fever” after arriving in Washington, or “Oklahoma River Fever” in our grand state.
It’s some kind of unfortunate virus that converts them from sensible to party hack, and it doesn’t take long.
Having an old geezer standing around one of these political newbees, constantly reminding him or her of their roots and of their once proud values, can delay this process. But unfortunately, few have that old geezer and fewer still would listen to him.
For those who enjoy being an observer of the political process, this is an exciting time. The natives, on both sides of the political spectrum, are restless—ready to go to political war in support of the party’s causes.
As always, to the victor, goes the spoils.

August 27, 2009

Politics gone mad!

Filed under: 1 — stanstamper @ 3:18 pm
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I think American politics has gone mad.
Not only have the politicians gone mad, many of the bureaucrats have also.
Of course some bureaucrats follow political pressure like a small calf with a set of bull tongs in his nose.
Given all the issues our country presently faces, many of which are not this administration’s fault, the Obama administration continuously seeks to pacify factions of the political left by making efforts to discredit the Bush/Cheney handling of the interrogation of terrorists.
Take a moment and rewind.
Let’s rewind to that moment in September (the anniversary of which is fast approaching) when thousands of Americans (and many non-Americans) peacefully began a day of work. Their lives were ended in the most horrific acts of terrorism in history.
Pages could be written about how truly devilish these acts were, including New York City, The Pentagon and United Airlines Flight 93 in the skies over Pennsylvania.
Can you imagine how you would feel today if a member of your family had been on one of those four planes, or working at the World Trade Centers or the Pentagon?
Not surprisingly, the ACLU has been reported to support these investigations.
Recently, The Washington Post reported the Justice Department had launched a new inquiry into photographs of undercover CIA officials and other intelligence personnel taken by ACLU-sponsored researchers assisting the defense team of Guantanamo Bay detainees. According to the report, the pictures of covert American CIA officers — “in some cases surreptitiously taken outside their homes” — were shown to jihadi suspects tied to the 9/11 attacks in order to identify the interrogators.
The Post said the ACLU undertook the so-called “John Adams Project” with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
The ACLU’s team targeted 45 CIA employees and tailed and photographed agency employees or obtained other photos from public records.
Then, according to the Times report, they showed the images to suspected al-Qaida operatives implicated in murdering 3,000 innocent men, women and children on American soil.
The Times said ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero refused to comment on Project CIA Paparazzi and instead whined some more about the evil Bush/CIA interrogators.
While we stop well short of condoning torture, once you get past the enormity of the 9/11 attacks and the resulting human carnage and the trillions of dollars Americans lost in the collapse of the financial markets, there followed months of fear and concern about the safety of all Americans.
There are a lot of Americans who think President Obama and the Justice Department could be directing taxpayer resources in better ways, such as actually telling Americans where billions of our tax dollars have been loaned overseas—to whom, and for what? (Might these dollars be used to help buy down the cost of health care?)
Political polls are showing some long-time entrenched politicians are clearly vulnerable and may find it hard getting re-elected next fall.
Actions have consequences.

Nothing better for Politicians to do?

Filed under: 1 — stanstamper @ 3:16 pm
Tags: , ,

I think American politics has gone mad.
Not only have the politicians gone mad, many of the bureaucrats have also.
Of course some bureaucrats follow political pressure like a small calf with a set of bull tongs in his nose.
Given all the issues our country presently faces, many of which are not this administration’s fault, the Obama administration continues to seeks to pacify factions of the political left by making efforts to discredit the Bush/Cheney handling of the interrogation of terrorists.
Take a moment and rewind.
Let’s rewind to that moment in September (the anniversary of which is fast approaching) when thousands of Americans (and many non-Americans) peacefully began a day of work. Their lives were ended in the most horrific acts of terrorism in history.
Pages could be written about how truly devilish these acts were, including New York City, The Pentagon and United Airlines Flight 93 in the skies over Pennsylvania.
Can you imagine how you would feel today if a member of your family had been on one of those four planes, or working in the Pentagon?
Not surprisingly, the ACLU has been reported to support these investigations.
Recently, The Washington Post reported the Justice Department had launched a new inquiry into photographs of undercover CIA officials and other intelligence personnel taken by ACLU-sponsored researchers assisting the defense team of Guantanamo Bay detainees. According to the report, the pictures of covert American CIA officers — “in some cases surreptitiously taken outside their homes” — were shown to jihadi suspects tied to the 9/11 attacks in order to identify the interrogators.
The Post said the ACLU undertook the so-called “John Adams Project” with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
The ACLU’s team targeted 45 CIA employees and tailed and photographed agency employees or obtained other photos from public records.
Then, according to the Times report, they showed the images to suspected al-Qaida operatives implicated in murdering 3,000 innocent men, women and children on American soil.
The Times said ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero refused to comment on Project CIA Paparazzi and instead whined some more about the evil Bush/CIA interrogators.
While we stop well short of condoning torture, once you get past the enormity of the 9/11 attacks and the resulting human carnage and the trillions of dollars Americans lost in the collapse of the financial markets, there followed months of fear and concern about the safety of all Americans.
There are a lot of Americans who think President Obama and the Justice Department could be directing taxpayer resources in better ways, such as actually telling Americans where billions of our tax dollars have been loaned overseas—to whom, and for what? (Might these dollars be used to help buy down the cost of health care?)
Political polls are showing some long-time entrenched politicians are clearly vulnerable and may find it hard getting re-elected next fall.
Actions have consequences.

January 15, 2009

Oklahoma Politics

Filed under: General — stanstamper @ 8:02 pm
Tags: , , , ,

As the 2009 legislative season approaches in Oklahoma with the convening of the legislature at the state capitol the first week of February, we will attempt to share with our readers some of the bills which our legislators are proposing.
This will give readers an opportunity to see for themselves what our paid legislators are up to, as well as an opportunity to contact your elected officials to voice your support or opposition to the legislation.
While Oklahoma has fared very well financially as compared to other states in the past two years, declining oil prices are certain to create some financial challenges for legislators, who are already stealing from Peter to pay Paul.
While most Oklahoma government agencies issue outcries for lack of funding, transportation among them (with thousands of miles of critical highways and scores of unsafe bridges) there will still be a push in the coming legislature to remove the state tax on groceries.
While this sounds good to border counties like Choctaw (since Texas doesn’t tax groceries), the state’s largest cities strongly oppose the removal of sales tax on groceries because their residents don’t have the opportunity to cross state lines and more importantly, they don’t want to lose the municipal tax revenue.
So a “one-size-fits-all” solution actually seldom works in Oklahoma. With the GOP driving this year’s legislative train, and most of them coming from OKC and western Oklahoma, the prospects for southeast Oklahoma gaining ground in this legislative season appear slim.
Time will tell.

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