I’m going to insert a short note here, interrupting the flow of thoughts about economic matters. This past week’s news was a peak demonstration of why we need a movement or a party of centrists.
On the right, we have the so-called Freedom Caucus of hard-right Republicans, sinking the attempt of Speaker Paul Ryan and President Trump to repeal and replace the ACA (aka Obamacare), to fulfill six years worth of campaign pledges. Whether you prefer the current law or liked its proposed replacement, the irresponsible and destructive hard right would not permit sufficient votes to pass the bill in the House. Once the ACA became law,we made a very complex health delivery and insurance situation even more complex. Any change is going to help some people, annoy some people and hurt same people. With 320 million Americans, no bill could please everyone. The Republicans, having won both the Legislative and Executive branches in the 2016 election, had the right to propose a bill more to their liking. But it was not ideologically pure enough for Tea Party Republicans, so rather than accept an improvement, they caused it to fail.
On the left, we see Senator Schumer calling for a filibuster to prevent the seating of Judge Gorsuch on the Supreme Court. And what is their grievance against this jurist? Why, he was nominated by President Trump. Any Republican nominee would by opposed because, well, he’s not a liberal Democrat. And the Republicans will probably vote to change Senate rules to eliminate filibusters against Supreme Court nominees. And of course the Democrats will squawk, and the Republicans will say (with some justification) that when the Democrats had a majority in the Senate, Harry Reid led the charge to eliminate filibusters against Appellate Court judges. Does anyone see a pattern here?
I am writing this brief post, trying to be even handed to show just how destructive the politics of extreme ideologies has become. Only a strong centrist movement or party, with a leader who possesses strong communications skills, can begin to turn the situation around, can begin to sound the voice of reason, of compromise, and of doing what is best for our nation.