Wednesday, June 6, 2011
“Jobs,” specifically the lack of enough of them and the right ones that fully exploit the capabilities of our people, is the most important problem we’re facing. Close behind is education, the key to how we stay competitive, individually and as a country.
Restoring our economy to full employment is no simple task. This seemingly endless recession that we’ve been having is not just the product of recurrent business cycles. No, it’s way more than that. Economies have infrastructure which includes physical plant and equipment, technologies and resources – financial, material and human resources, the ongoing development and deployment of which is a complicated process government can only influence, for better or worse, but cannot control. Unfortunately, the infrastructure of our economy, broadly defined to include even our individual skills and experience, is becoming increasingly outdated and inappropriate for our times. The human and physical topography of our economy no longer suits the markets and their technologies of our time and future, markets we need to exploit to keep us fully employed and to assure the continuing prosperity of all our families across the full spectrum of America.
No, this is not just a simple business cycle we’re experiencing, not a routine downturn. It’s “structural.” Left well-enough alone, over a long enough period, probably decades, the economy may – Notice that I said “may,” not “will.” – make the necessary adjustments on its own. The question is, what can we do, through our government, to facilitate that recovery and make it durable? What can our government do now to help assure that the economy will realize the full potential of our people, as quickly as possible?
This stuff makes your brain hurt, doesn’t it? That’s the point. This jobs thing is so important, so complicated and hard to figure out, that, more than ever, we need exceptional people representing us in Congress and The White House. We need people with the intellectual capabilities, laser-focus and the bi-partisan open-mindedness and creativity that it takes to figure all this out.
And so, on behalf of the good people of Maryland’s Second Congressional District, I said to myself, “Let’s see what Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger has to say about jobs and the economy.” I already know that, of the 56 bills and resolutions he’s sponsored during the five terms he’s been in office, he’s done nothing of any significance, has not sponsored or originated a single law that will help put our country back to work to any material extent. But not to jump to conclusions, let’s see what he what has to say for himself at www.DutchForCongress.com, his campaign website.
And so I went there and clicked on “Issues,” and here’s what I found. Here’s the link for you to see for yourself, but I’ve copied and reprinted his website’s page below in case that content changes before you read this. (The typo, “Recover(y),” in the excerpt below is in the original.)
What I found were wholly unsatisfactory, third-person references to only three pieces of legislation for which Congressman Ruppersberger voted. Third-person references, as in “The Congressman…” did this or that. It’s unequivocally the most important issue of our time, and he doesn’t have anything of his own to say on the matter? That’s alarming. That’s unacceptable. More to the point, it’s indicative of a Representative, to whom we are paying $174,000 per year, plus benefits, who has nothing to add to the debate, and nothing to do beyond voting his party line.
Forget about whether or not these programs accomplished their objectives. We obviously still have significant un- and under-employment. Whatever positive impact these bills had, it clearly wasn’t enough. The point is, by virtue of his own website, all he has to say on the matter is that he voted for them. Given the seriousness of the problems we’re facing, nationally and in the Second District, just showing up to work isn’t in the vicinity of enough.
The people of Maryland’s Second Congressional District deserve better and are compelled by common sense financial concerns and their duty as citizens to vote, regardless of their party affiliation, for the challenger in this race, Maryland State Senator Nancy Jacobs. They need to vote for Nancy Jacobs because she is a superior alternative but, if for no other reason, because voters cannot reward their incumbent Congressman Ruppersberger for such a minimal effort on their behalf. If voters do reward such ineffectual performance by their Representatives, at the very least they forgo the right to complain about the government they’ve elected.
To be honest, if you, as a Democrat, can’t see your way to voting for a Republican to replace Congressman Ruppersberger, then don’t vote at all for the office. Skip it. It’s the least you can do. The one thing that doesn’t make any sense is voting for Congressman Ruppersberger’s re-election.
Nothing personal. It’s only business. Congressman Ruppersberger isn’t a bad guy. He’s just not up to the task, and we have way too much at stake to give him another two years, not to mention another $348,000, so we can have this same conversation two years from now.