---ETA: Apparently, while I was writing this, the Senate moved to kill not one, but TWO infrastructure jobs bills. S.1769 basically failed to move on to the next step, due to a whole lot of apathy when the Senate voted. Info here. I haven't been able to find a break down on exactly who voted in what direction. Fuck it. Never mind. Skip the whole damn post. I'm going to write hate letters to my reps.---
Actually, I've always BEEN political, but I kept it off the internet while the hub was active duty because when your husband's in the Navy, calling the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces a flapping twat over the internet is unwise. (But, hey. Bush Jr? Flapping twat is the nicest thing I called him.)
I shall try to remain moderate for all of you, because nothing's more tedious than listening to some extremist rant, and we're all entitled to our own opinions, anyway. But I'm pissed. Have I mentioned I'm pissed?
A short bit of lead-in, for perspective, and because I'm a history geek and today's current events are tomorrow's history, so for crying out loud, get the details right. And because not all of you are from the US (if you're not, and you're still reading, thank you) and don't know this stuff. And because not all of you had the great government teacher I did.
When the president introduces a bill (potential law or appropriation of funds to start a project, declare war*, like that) the Senate (two per state) and the Representatives (determined by population, one per smaller region) vote on what they call a "Cloture Motion" or just Cloture. Think of it like closure. Do they vote yes, and axe the thing dead on the spot, or do they vote no, and discuss it further?
Our economy, like everyone else's, is in the toilet right now. Our president (who I'm rather indifferent about) has been trying to pass bills that would create new jobs. HIS JOB, wouldn't you say? Looking after the citizenry? We're at a stage where unemployment has only been worse, once. Chart here. The country needs jobs.
The president, being a smart guy, figured out one thing that would work would be to put people to work fixing infrastructure (roads, bridges, like that), which is in a pretty sorry state because we spend significantly less than the rest of the world on keeping our country paved and safe. Chart here. (Interesting editorial drawing on that chart, by the way.) This is a tried-and-true plan. It's one of the major ways FDR put people to work during the Great Depression (and where a lot of our really awesome stone bridges come from); top economists NOW are suggesting it. The president put it together with a lot of other, similar ideas for job creation, and introduced the bill.
So what did the Senate do?
Yup. Killed it. It's dead in the water. You can see how your senators voted here.
It was trimmed down and broken into pieces, and the infrastructure portion was re-introduced and is currently under consideration for a motion to proceed. It is bill number S.1769, if you wanna do your own searches on it. (Here's a good summary.) Basically, they're deciding whether to kill it. Since they're proposing to pay for this project by a .7% tax on people whose income is over a million dollars, I bet it get shot down, just like the last time. It's looking REALLY close. Got an opinion on this? I hope you do. Track down your senators and tell them how you feel about it.
You guys who aren't stuck here? Technically it's not your problem, and you're not their jurisdiction, so to speak, but I bet they'd take notice if enough outraged e-mails from outside the country showed up in their in box. If you want, you can e-mail my senator who voted against the last version of the bill, Pat Toomey. I intend to; as always, you're welcome to join in the fun.
There you have it. My radical agenda. Jobs for people and maybe a few fixed bridges. ('Cause the husbeast? The industrial inspector? He'll tell you, the bridges in this country are FRIGHTENING.) I hope you won't all hate me for wanting some millionaires to pony up a few bucks to make it happen.
And just to warn you... I consider myself a conservative because I think the Constitution should be followed strictly (including using the provisions for amending it). But the GOP wouldn't have me as a gift. I think "government by the people, for the people" is a mandate for public health care, among other things.
Yesterday's general strike in Oakland? Except for the vandalism? Awesome.
I am not a pinko commie. I'm a democratic socialist. Also, my dad was in the UAW. I've been blue collar all my life. So. Y'know. Oh, hell, just call me Pinko.
*Included for the folks who wouldn't know how the system works here: Yes, Congress has to vote (in favor, obviously) in order to declare war. That's why Iraq is a war and Afghanistan isn't. Afghanistan is a "police action". Total bullshit? You betcha.