Archive for May, 2012

While I enjoyed hearing from the Democratic candidates in NJ-10…Ron Rice, Jr., Wayne Smith, Nia Gill, and Donald Payne…they didn’t have much to say. Oh, they spoke about how qualified they are, their legislative experience, the depth of their political connections and the strength of their endorsements as though those things are going to solve the intractable problems that beset the district. Rather, here is what I wanted to hear.

NJ-10 is an urban district with a weak economic base and high unemployment. At best, our labor force is undertrained and undereducated so the prospect of finding a decent job for many of our citizens is bleak. Crime, even if the numbers are heading in the right direction, looms as a problem in many neighborhoods. Our schools fall far short of giving most of our kids even a reasonable shot at the American Dream.

This is reality in NJ-10. It is a place where local politicians manage situations rather than lead the way to something better.

I want to go to Congress not to curry favor with the political elite and pick up a few crumbs, but to put a face on a level of despair that causes many of our citizens to wake up in the morning with no reasonable expectation that the day will be any better than yesterday. I want to make my colleagues in Washington uncomfortable with the knowledge that, for many people, the system doesn’t work. And to solve our problems we need to cast aside sacred ideological cows and unchallenged assumptions so that we can reinvent cities that can meet the needs of their residents.

Send me to Washington and I will take each one of you with me.

Advertisements
Today (NBC program)

Today (NBC program) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I can’t imagine that too many people would argue that our economic system is working just fine. The fact is that it’s been broken for a long, long time. But getting any kind of consensus as to what’s wrong with the system is another matter altogether. A perfect illustration of this happened a week or so ago on the Today Show with Matt Lauer. He asked Jim Cramer, NBC’s on-air stock picker, whether Bain Capital’s strategy of firing workers to reduce labor costs illustrated a failure of capitalism or if it was just good business. Cramer said it was good business, and that seemed fine with Lauer as he cut for a commercial.

Hey guys, it’s both. In the context of capitalism reducing labor costs…regardless of the social consequences of doing so…is part of the play book. And that is a failure of capitalism. It is unsustainable. It is morally bankrupt. And, it will lead to a violent pushback against the oligarchs.

Isn’t it time that we started asking some tough questions about the hallowed ground of capitalism before it’s too late?

Official portrait of Congressman .

Official portrait of Congressman . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you don’t recognize this saying I confess to borrowing it from a wonderful Broadway show entitled “The Best Little Whore House in Texas.” The full line, which was delivered by a wily old sheriff, went something like this: Quit pissing on my boots and calling it raindrops.” Whenever the endless stream of Republican clap trap starts to get me down, I invoke the pissing imagery to ward off insanity. Sometimes it works.

I needed it, big time, a couple of weeks ago while watching Paul Ryan on Morning Joe. In a discussion of his draconian budget proposal he said that the tax code shouldn’t be used to pick winners and losers.

WTF!! Maybe what he meant to say was that the tax code should only pick winners. Everyone else can fight for the rest of the pie.

Bullshit to you, Congressman.