Sunday, October 31, 2010

Two days ....

This post was inspired by a Paul Krugman column.

So the election is in two days. In Pittsburgh, Mike Doyle is likely to be relected, it is a possibly toss up between Toomey and Sestack, but apparently likely to be Toomey, and the same for Corbett and Onorato (Corbett winning). Now here’s a question: what do you think will happen when the Republicans take the House, and perhaps the Senate?

My answer: nothing. If you thought we did not see much progress on the economy in the last two years, get ready for less in the next two years. Some Republicans claim vaguely they want to reduce spending, and certainly they want to cut taxes for the rich. But most Republicans (besides some Tea Party fanatics) don’t describe specifics, even to the point of not pledging to reduce earmarks.

But assuming that Republicans can overcome their lack of enthusiasm and their history of spending during the Bush years, and pass bills in the house, how well things go in the Senate. The Republicans may or may not get a majority there, but we now know that 60 votes for cloture is the new standard for passage of legislation. What is to stop the Democrats from picking up the habits of the Republicans of the last four years? Personal holds and filibusters are absolutely possible. And if the Republicans change the rules to prevent Democrats from doing these things, then when the pendulum swings again, the new rules will apply to them too.

And at the end of the process, there is still Obama, who can veto legislation. And whatever else might be the result from Tuesday’s election, I don’t think the Republicans will have two thirds majorities in both houses.

So what will happen next January when the new members take their seats in Congress. My guess is nothing. I think the House may do some things, nothing that would help people who are actually unemployed. I don’t think a repeal of healthcare will pass the Senate, although some tax breaks for corporations and the rich might (and might be signed by Obama). I think the remaining middle class and those who do make more than a hundred grand (whom I classify as at least upper middle class) will continue to do OK. But I think the poor face more tough years, out as far as I can see.

Of the races, I am not a huge fan of Onorato, but I guess he would be better than Corbett. I am also not a fan of Doyle, but that race doesn’t matter (the primary was more important, but I don’t even remember if Doyle had a challenger). But the important vote is for Toomey or Sestak. Yes, it may not matter if I am right that the Republicans can never get enough of a majority to do anything. But I gotta say why give the Republicans reason to think they might be able to roll back the Democrat’s accomplishments. Plus, despite the Republicans/Tea Party’s overheated rhetoric, I don’t think either Obama or Sestak is that radical. But Toomey might be.

You will have to decide for yourself. I hope you read/watch more than one source, and if you have a job now, you ask yourself how much Republicans have tried to help the poor in the past.

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