The Maze of Mirrors, the 2014 Elections

Please think back to a time or just imagine being lost. To take any generational aspects out, let’s say that you have the capabilities of asking for assistance whether face-to-face as numerous people and establishments are about or via cell phone or any type of technology. What would you consider a useful means of assistance?

For me it might be someone giving verbal directions for a route which would help me to reach my destination. The person may draw out a map. They might say follow me or take it upon themselves to ask someone they know who can provide the desired information. They could say that they have no clue or even ignore me completely which in a way helps because I would then ask someone else.

On the other hand would an extended explanation about how everyone gets lost at that spot help? Would hearing a tirade where they blame Mr. Jones, Mrs. Smith, or any of their kin help? It might be interesting, but at times I just want to get where I’m going.

The above is a stupid scenario with obvious answers, right?

Well I’m thinking of it this way. Why are we accepting the non-answers and the fingers of blame in this election cycle? Will any challenger actually discuss their strengths? Can we hear about how they will work to address the myriad of problems faced?

Why don’t we ask for plans which acknowledge the actual problem as it exists and not as if things can be contained within perfectly contained and optimally controlled environments? With so many individuals seeking a seat in the House or US Senate I often find myself asking some form of the following. You’re going to stop the fraud and waste, well tell us how?

Am I the only one who wonders that if a challenger can only criticize an opponent or if any candidate focuses on topics not within the responsibilities of the office that they are in fact less capable of being effective than the individual that they pan?

This statement will discredit my opinion for some, but Obama isn’t running in this election cycle. He will not be running for President in the year 2016. Even if one chooses to believe the rhetoric that he is responsible for every problem in the world today, shouldn’t that philosophy have you promoting that everything will be OK by 2017 just like they had been in 2008 or any time earlier? Seriously, one individual out of 316 million plus in this country is the reason for all the problems? Call it foolish pride or optimism, but I honestly do not believe that 316 million plus people minus the one are that ignorant, incapable, and inferior when compared to Barack Obama.

People criticize too much government involvement because of Obama. Actually I think that few people really want the government involved in anything until they need the government’s assistance. If you’re like me we do take some governmental involvement for granted. Historically I always think of the railroad. With the exception of James J. Hill, would any private enterprise have engaged in Transcontinentals without the government provided incentives? Government, however, did not install our time zones which were essential to railroads. Private business created those. There is a delicate balance between too much and too little government combined with private business for optimum efficiency. Simply one without the other is not as effective.

Personally I worry about too much involvement and control of private business as much as I do government’s overreach. Is it logical to expect a business to lower its profit margin by installing additional quality controls? What happens when a particular business such as a cable company becomes entrenched in an area?

Sure the concepts of competition can create better products and services for the best prices, but in some industries the very nature and amount of capital needed disallow that competition. That is the difference from being in that contained laboratory setting or writing theories on paper versus application in environments affected by multiple variables.

I hear people talking about government regulations being unfriendly to small business.  There is truth in that.  That alone does not tell the whole story because how friendly are large businesses and the “technical small businesses” to those Mom and Pop stores that used to extend beyond the center of Main Street, Anytown, USA?

Remember not so long ago when Super Walmart appeared in locations near you. What happened to those small business owners? Today many mega stores receive tax incentives and while the store’s presence may attract people and revenue to the area, what about that third generation family business who cannot sell the limited number of goods they carry at a loss as that mega store is doing to eliminate the competition?

“Technical Small Businesses?” What does that mean?

Here are the current definitions for “small businesses.”

http://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/files/Size_Standards_Table.pdf

http://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/Small%20Business%20Investment%20Act%20of%201958_0.pdf

Look at these “small” businesses. Full service restaurants, regardless of number of employees or locations, are small businesses according to Congress if annual receipts are under $7.5 million. An automotive glass repair shop is a small business if its annual receipts are under $11 million. A business making office furniture is not classified on annual receipts but employees. If it employs fewer than 500 people, it can be classified as a small business.

Are those small?

Politically the concept of government assistance for small business dates back to 1958 and the Small Business Investment Act, but levels which define a small business are set by Congress, not the President.

People like to say that President Bush or President Obama is hurting small business. It makes for political talking points, but no President regardless of who that person is can help existing or spurring the creation of what are truly small businesses with Congress reaping so many donations from these multimillion dollar “official” “technical small businesses.”

In Congress when one talks of helping small business, sadly it is not the “Mom and Pop” styled stores that I envision with the term small business. I doubt if I’m alone in my perception.

No small businesses are these places earning millions in profits and employing hundreds of employees. Now I do not have anything against these places earning those millions or any amount. I do not have anything against the job opportunities they create. I just feel like these are not small businesses and should not be subsidized by the “Mom and Pop” stores who do not have the resources available to reap the same types of special considerations to cut their overhead costs.

I would like to see candidates, pundits, and voters focusing on these types of issues. I think that is relevant. Despite what I hear in advertisements in multiple states, Senator so and so has not voted with President Obama 97 percent of the time. The President does not cast a vote in the Senate so what in the heck is the ad saying about the intelligence of voters?

Despite what I hear, Harry Reid is not the roadblock by not bringing House passed measures to the Floor of the Senate. Personally I’m not a huge fan of Senator Reid, and my statement would apply to anyone serving as Majority Leader of the Senate regardless of political party. The rules of the Chamber allow for any Senator to essentially grind Floor proceedings to a halt even when the other 99 Senators oppose that Senator. The House rules can limit that commandeering. (Students often find these differences shocking because nobody ever mentioned them earlier in their schooling. One day I’ll type out something on the procedural differences in each Chamber, but I encourage everyone to look up the information for you yourselves).

Louisiana: 

It saddens me, but the 2014 elections are apparently all about President Obama. It doesn’t matter that he is not on the ballot or that this cycle is not a Presidential election cycle. Back home in Louisiana, the GOP candidate for the Senate, Congressman Bill Cassidy from my former 6th District, isn’t allowed to participate in any debates or forums by his financial backers until he has memorized the talking buzz points. Apparently incumbent Mary Landrieu is a Democrat who voted for ACA, so that is all that really matters. Politically I can tie Mary into many things that I thought were positive for the state as well as negative. I can’t, however, label her as a liberal by either modern standards or within the realm of Louisiana’s political history. The Tea Party candidate, Rob Maness basically points out that Landrieu is a Democrat and Cassidy is a RINO while he will support “small” business and such without letting on that he knows what “small” is and keeping the public focused on blaming Obama. In other words, obfuscate by blaming Obama and everyone else so your qualifications, actions, and inactions aren’t discussed.

Kentucky:

I reckon that Kentucky proves that only Obama matters. It’s not Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and his campaign against his primary opponent Alison Lundergan Grimes. It’s Grimes, Kentucky’s Secretary of State, sitting down for an interview with The Louisville Courier-Journal editorial board in an effort to get the paper’s endorsement. She refused to answer questions as to whether or not she voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.

Her excuse was a belief in the sanctity of the ballot box. Apparently to some a belief in that fundamental right which incidentally did not occur with the Constitution but through the pouring of untold amounts of blood, sweat, and tears by generations after the ratification to secure that privilege disqualifies her.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2014/10/10/chuck_todd_alison_lundergan_grimes_has_disqualified_herself.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/10/09/40-painful-seconds-of-alison-lundergan-grimes-refusing-to-say-whether-she-voted-for-president-obama/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/09/alison-grimes-obama_n_5961528.html

I don’t know, but I find it pompous, arrogant, and selfish that We the People take this privilege of freedom given to us by generations past as rights to which we are entitled. Sorry but it’s real history that most Americans today would not have enjoyed the right to vote during the Constitutional/Federalist Period. That’s a fact that many today who argue strict adherence to the Constitution fail to comprehend. They enjoy greater freedom today than someone of a similar standing had in the 1790s. Many of the rights argued today as being from the Constitution may in fact be written in that document, but the ability to exercise or right to have those rights only happened later like in the Progressive Period.

Just consider the idea of the sanctity of the ballot box.

For a brief take on how we used to vote, the New Yorker had this brief piece back in 2008.

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2008/10/13/rock-paper-scissors

For a slightly more in depth introduction, Douglas W. Jones for the University of Iowa Department of Political Science has this illustrated story as a part of the Voting and Elections web pages.

http://homepage.cs.uiowa.edu/~jones/voting/pictures/

At the beginning I thought about what types of assistance would help me if I were lost. I think the message from candidates, pundits, and media is that if you are not currently lost in the maze of the 2014 elections, they will help you become lost because all they seem to care about is Obama. How dare Alison Lundergan Grimes try to focus on who she is, what she believes, and what she hopes to do if elected to the Senate? Her marks at the ballot box, however, should be disclosed for all, but I wonder if she is allowed to ask the candidate for whom you voted?

Actually does it matter, because whether we voted for the winner or not, that individual represents everyone in their district, state in this instance, and truthfully everyone in the United States of America?

At least that’s my interpretation of the United States of America to which I was blessed to be born and reared and to enjoy benefits earned by the hard work and sacrifices of previous generations. Even if I did not feel a personal responsibility, I believe that I owe it to those who have passed to leave the same and even more opportunities for the generations who follow me.

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