Unemployment

Bipartisanship in Crisis

Barack Obama(Photo Credit: The Daily Beast)

We’re currently situated in a political milieu where Democrats and Republicans are more focused on the next election than on meeting the real needs of the American people.  Many Democrats and Republicans find it more important to advance their political careers than to improve education, pass legislation that will help to create jobs for the unemployed, extend affordable healthcare to the uninsured, and etc.  Of course, there are legitimate times when Democrats and Republicans must stand for their core principles and values and be unwilling to sacrifice those principles and values, but this shouldn’t be the case on nearly every critical issue important to their constituents.  The majority of Americans elected politicians to do things that are going to ameliorate their lives; they didn’t elect them to fuss and fight each day.

Too many people are experiencing abject poverty for Democrats and Republicans to become complacent with their bickering.  It’s time for them to deliver positive results for the people who elected them.  When you’re not sure where your next meal is going to come from, you don’t really care if the Republicans are going to take the Senate in 2014 or will Hillary Clinton run for President in 2016; you simply want your elected leaders to improve your life.

The American people must increase the intensity of their demands for their elected leaders to move beyond simple partisanship and pass legislation that’s going to make America a better place to live and work.

What happened to the national discourse about jobs?  Why aren’t we having a national discourse about jobs anymore? 

While the scandals going on in Washington, D.C. are essential to investigate and discuss, Democrats and Republicans must make the economy, specifically job creation, their top priority.  People who are unemployed deserve to have a Congress and President seriously concerned about getting them a job.  Finding some bipartisan solutions to creating jobs does not have to be an overly partisan undertaking. 

Most Americans have some level of sympathy for the poor.  Poor people, however, need more than sympathy—they need meaningful voices in Washington, D.C. representing their interests.  Unfortunately, poor people don’t have the resources to lobby members of Congress.  This is where clear thinking and decent Americans, both Democrats and Republicans, can come together to place pressure on their elected officials to make the poor a priority.  America has a moral responsibility to ensure the poor are well-served.

We have an opportunity to force our elected officials to embrace bipartisanship: vote those out who aren’t willing to reach across the political aisle to enact legislation that enhances the lives of all Americans—not just the lives of the well-to-do and well-connected.  Many Democrats and Republicans are guilty of catering to the well-to-do and well-connected.  The American people have the power to throw these types of politicians out of office—just vote them out!  When we use our voting power as true political power, we can command the change we long to see.

Bipartisanship does not have to be in crisis.  We can use our voting power as our chief political power to demand that it always be valued.  Too many politicians in Washington, D.C. aren’t concentrating on governing.  Governing requires compromise.  The midterm elections are coming in 2014.  This presents the first real opportunity to communicate vociferously that we want a Congress that works for us.  Let’s elect people who hear us and who genuinely believe we matter.  We, the American people, hold the future of bipartisanship in our hands.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison         

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6 Things Thought Impossible that Are Possible


1.      Ending Poverty in America.  In the richest nation in the world, there’s no reason why any person should live in abject poverty.  We have to be committed to an economic system that is not going leave no one behind in poverty.  It’s a conscious choice America makes to not eradicate poverty.  If our nation was truly interested in eliminating poverty, it could be done in a matter of minutes.  For this to happen, there must be a greater will expressed by the American people, and there must be significant pressure placed on local, state and federal leaders to engender policies and legislation that will end poverty.  Although there’s a burgeoning movement to exterminate poverty, a massive number of more people must get involved in this movement for it to accomplish the essential goal of living in a nation devoid of poverty.

2.      Ending Illiteracy in America.  If we make a true commitment to education at the local, state and national level, there’s no reason why we cannot eliminate illiteracy in America.  More people could be helped with their inability to read if they would shed their pride and ask for help.  Of course, there needs to be more resources made available to assist the illiterate.

3.      Ending Homelessness in America.  In the wealthiest nation in the world, every individual should have adequate shelter.

4.      Ending Chronic Hunger in America.  America has enough money to ensure everyone has adequate food to eat.  This is why the food stamps program should be supported and not attacked.  We need to make necessary reforms to remove waste, fraud and abuse in the program, but people who don’t have money to purchase food to eat should be provided with the resources.

5.      Ending Unemployment in America.  In this nation, we have the ability to guarantee that every person who desires to work can be employed, including self-employment.

6.      Ending HIV/AIDS and Cancer.  With many of the most remarkable researchers and scholars in the world, we should remain hope that a cure to incurable diseases will emerge.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Legalize Prostitution in America

Just how free are we really in America? Of course, there are valid reasons that make it essential to place limitations on freedom to avoid pervasive chaos. However, is forbidding prostitution a truly necessary limitation on our liberty that we need, or is prohibiting prostitution more about moral and religious values of the majority of Americans being imposed on everyone? Now, I’m sure that there will be many people who are not willing to even entertain the idea of legalizing prostitution in America. Although you may not want to become a prostitute, why would you prevent other people who would like to make money from engaging in sexual intercourse with others from seeking this form of self-employment?

What’s really so illegal about prostitution? While many people will argue and have argued that prostitution is immoral, I contend that the real reason why the government has outlawed prostitution is the difficulty with trying to collect taxes off of money earned through sexual intercourse. If this is the dominant reason behind why prostitution is illegal to engage in, then why don’t we just legalize it and require prostitutes to report their earnings? This will stimulate the economy (and stimulate other things), generate significant tax revenue, and help to give the unemployed an additional legal profession to enter. We could help so many prostitutes to come out of the shadows and be substantially integrated into the center of American life. I assert that many more prostitutes will do a better job of protecting themselves if we would legalize prostitution. Prostitutes would not have to meet their clients in unsafe places if we legalized prostitution.

If you don’t like the products and services offered by a company or entrepreneur, you have the freedom in America to go to seek those products and services elsewhere. For those who have no interest in pursuing what a prostitute is offering, then they simply will not purchase any services from prostitutes. However, for those who would like to purchase the services of a prostitute, then they should be allowed to legally make this purchase.

We are unnecessarily denying people the legal right to pursue prostitution as their means of earning an earnest living.

By legalizing prostitution, we can enable the oldest profession to become much more professional. Prostitutes could purchase offices and buildings to conduct their services—just as any other legitimate entrepreneur is currently able to do.

For all of you self-righteous people out there, how many of you have had unprotected sex with someone you just met? How many of you have had one-night stands? Be honest. You engaged in just as risky sexual behavior (maybe even more so) as a prostitute does. What makes you any different than the prostitutes? Exactly. You got screwed and they got paid. Now, you’re mad.

I have personal problems with prostitution. However, I don’t want my personal problems with prostitution to bar others from being able to be prostitutes. Let’s begin to examine how we can increase liberty in America, even when increasing certain liberties would not necessarily comport with our personal moral and religious values.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Extend the Bush Tax Cuts for Everyone

In a time when the economy is as horrible as it is now, one of the best ways to stimulate it is to give tax cuts to everyone. When you give rich people tax cuts, then they can hire poor people. When you cut taxes for the middle class, they have more money to go out and spend it to drive economic recovery and growth. If the Bush tax cuts are not extended, we will experience the largest tax increase in American history. This is certainly not the time when the American people can withstand the largest tax increase in American history. If Congress does not extend the Bush tax cuts, then this could result in weakening the economy so severely we may not experience true economic recovery until years from now. This is not the time to engage in class warfare. People need jobs!

People don’t want to have to depend on food stamps and unemployment checks—they need jobs! By extending the Bush tax cuts, Congress can give rich people, you know the people who actually provide the jobs, the ability to do more hiring and the ability to purchase essential things they need for their businesses, which further grows the economy. Congressional democrats are trying to play politics with the Bush tax cuts by saying that they want to first pass the middle class tax cuts, and then discuss the tax cuts for people making $250,000 and above a year. They know that Congressional republicans are not going to vote for a bill that is going to raise taxes on people making $250,000 or more. It sounds nice to be for cutting taxes for the middle class, but really what Congressional democrats are saying is they want to raise taxes on those making $250,000 or more a year. I want Congressional democrats to know that making $250,000 a year in many places in America does not qualify as being rich.

For those of you, and I am speaking to many of my friends too, who love to talk about the Bush tax cuts are mainly for the wealthiest people in America, I want you to know that they also pay the overwhelming majority of the taxes in America. If you cannot bring yourself to even begin to think about supporting a tax cut that would go to a wealthy person, then I want you to think about the last time somebody poor or just barely making it hired you. You should not have to think too long because a poor person or person barely making it never has hired you. Therefore, while it may sound good to say that you are not supporting the Bush tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, what you are really saying is you are not supporting economic growth and efforts to improve unemployment.

In these tough economic times, be willing to give up being an ideologue for the sake of ameliorating our economy and to help our hurting people to weather this turbulent economic tempest.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison