Las Vegas Sun

May 5, 2015

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Sun Editorial:

Making things work

Dysfunction in Congress threatens to stall economic improvement

What do you think?

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Nevada’s unemployment rate dropped to 11.7 percent in April, the lowest it has been since July 2009. That was nearly two percentage points lower than it was a year ago.

In a statement, Gov. Brian Sandoval said the state has “recorded year-after-year private sector job gains every month since early 2011, a clear sign that we are slowly but steadily working our way toward a stronger economy.”

That’s good news, but it doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods yet. The unemployment rate is still too high. The national average is 8.1 percent. And job growth is far from spectacular. Bill Anderson, Nevada’s chief economist, noted that part of the drop in unemployment is due to people leaving the job market.

The nation still needs help, and over the next six months, the airwaves will be filled with people talking about the economy. However, we don’t expect to see much come of the talk because of the election year and the gridlock in Washington. There seems to be little willingness to do anything before November, especially among Republicans who see a sour economy as a way to win the election.

With a Republican-controlled House, President Barack Obama is getting little help in Congress on his economic plans. So what are the plans of Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, other than to try pinning the blame on Obama? More tax cuts for the rich? Let the housing market continue to fall? Wait for things to trickle down?

Meanwhile, House Republicans have balked at working to find ways to push the economy forward. Instead of addressing the economy with any real legislation, they are setting the stage for another fight over the debt ceiling. The last time they did that the United States’ credit rating was downgraded, and that didn’t help the economy. Another fight like that will only further delay a full recovery.

It’s no wonder Congress’ approval rating is so low.

The gridlock in Congress, paced by obstructionist Republicans, is a serious problem. Some members of Congress, including Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller, think the answer to that is to push a bill that would cut lawmakers’ pay if they fail to pass a budget. Some lawmakers argued this would be a great step, but it would do little toward actually pushing progress forward.

But Congress finds ways all the time to work around its own rules, not to mention the law. Last week, the House approved a plan that exceeds spending limits prescribed for the Pentagon in the Budget Control Act of 2011.

If lawmakers can do that, or work around any number of other rules, why would anyone think they wouldn’t bypass a law that would cut their pay?

The nation’s elected leaders need to stop wasting time and focus on what matters. Voters elect people to find solutions, not play games or block progress.

There’s a long time between now and the election, and Congress could take steps to improve the economy. But that would require both sides to work together and find solutions they can agree upon, a task that seems all but impossible at this point.

Of course, they should be warned, if they can’t turn things around, they can expect voters to make things happen in November. And that could lead to some newly unemployed on Capitol Hill.

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  1. Notice all the laws listed above are either deregulation or cutting taxes-loser postering no solutions. Vote for Democrats only !

  2. Stop spending. Cut tax write-offs and deductions for EVERYONE and work towards a flat tax. Families with lots of kids don't pay anything anyhow so let's stop pretending. Eliminate refundable credits so we stop paying people to have kids they cannot and will not support. Bring ALL our troops home from Europe, Asia, Africa, Afghanistan. We need our troops on our southern border.

  3. How about a jobs bill or have the government directly hiring people? This job creator theory should go the way of the tax cuts reduce deficits prevarication.

  4. How about the department of Energy directly hiring people building Solar and Wind powered electric plants. This would eliminate all the nonsense listed above.

  5. Remmember these clowns oil slicked the Gulf of Mexico. No more concessions to energy companies. Deficits are not the problem; unemployment is. We should elect democrats if you want jobs;These "job creators" want hostages not employees.

  6. How many elections does it take for citizens to recognize that our disgraceful campaign funding method allows for only subtle difference rather than needed change? How many have occurred under present circumstances? Many have occured and I suggest change would have occurred long ago had media endorsed change. The few dissenting Justices would have had to yield to overwhelming public opinion and the scales of opinion weigh most heavily on the side of change.

  7. "Culture Warriors" see the trend towards violence in America against Americans while we pay for everyone to have food, shelter, "education", health care, "democracy".

  8. I've learned two things from the above comments:

    1) Some people have no earthly idea what socialism is (President Obama is not even close to being one-- try actually looking it up instead of just spouting nonsense)

    2) Some people have no idea how our system of government works. We have separate and co-equal branches. It doesn't matter if the House passes a million bills if they don't have support in the Senate or the President. By not compromising with the Democrats (who have been willing to compromise), Republicans are the obstacles.

    Our founding fathers purposely placed checks and balances in our system of government to encourage compromise. Ideologues are more dangerous to our great nation than communists or terrorists. Compromise is necessary (and a good thing) and is being vilified, particularly by Republicans (although some democrats are guilty as well).

    We can start by raising the level of discourse here. President Obama is not evil and does not wake up each morning trying to destroy the country. He does his best, as does Speaker Boehner, Majority Leaders Reid and Cantor, and Minority Leaders Pelosi and McConnell. We are all Americans... could we start acting like it, please?

  9. jetzman: YOU are unable to utilize the English language to say whatever it is you mean. "Co-equal?" "Compromise" has gotten us here. We must STOP the compromise and insist on self reliance. Furthermore, most of us don't care a bit about Obama.

  10. Self reliance is the single factor upon which the persistence of slavery depends. Slaves cannot count on anyone else in the world to look after themselves as they have no representatives, no unions, no governments nor laws for protection so they depend on self reliance as it is the key to survival.

    Self reliance was the only way a person could survive in a Soviet Gulag or concentration camp because there were no safety nets.

    Furthermore, unregulated capitalism does not create freedom, except for the privileged. The Confederate States of America was both a God fearing Christian nation and a capitalistic state. Capitalism, religion and slavery co-exist in a strong, supportive fashion if there are no societal values. The only law to change capitalism in the South was the law of fire, brought to them by William Tecumseh Sherman.

    Capitalism rewards those with privilege because it has no social virtues. It is an economic system, not a social system. Capitalism has no need for a single measure of equality because those with money determine the outcome of legal and political decisions. The irony is that few people in this country understand capitalism or read history and they determine the geologic history of the earth while sitting on their front porch.

    Marriage is socialism and so are the police, fire and military departments. Privatized fire police will end up serving only the privileged. Privatized military will serve only the oligarchy and those with no options will be forced to join for a paycheck an meal ticket, like it was in old Europe.

  11. Needed change would happen if only the 3 branches of government could leave special interests in the hallways and close the door to begin the process of compromise and reasonableness on behalf of the People of the United States of America and the World.

    These strict, hard line, partisan attitudes bring nothing but fruitless posturing towards continual reelection goals. This has to STOP for the good of our country.

    Blessings and Peace,

  12. Freeman, why are you compelled to believe propaganda and then republish it -- even when it is not relevant to the topic? Nevada's problem with unemployment is of its' own making. We put all our eggs in two baskets: Casinos and Construction. The Casino basket is recovering slowly along with the national economy. But the Construction basket is 10% of what it was -- and likely to stay at about 10% of its former level for at least the next 5 years. Because we refused to fund our education systems and we refused to do anything to diversify, we have (1) no place for the unemployed from construction and construction-supported jobs to go AND (2) no way to retrain them for the skills which are in demand (and unable to attract the companies that need such skills). We did this to ourselves -- and we continue to do it to ourselves. If it makes you feel better to be partisan about Nevada's own mess, go right ahead, but we made our own bed all by ourselves....

  13. The Suns myopic and partisan position belies any productive discussion.

    When the Sun begins to publish honest evaluations and report complete stories; well as the song says, I'll invite you over to watch pigs grow wings and fly.

    There is no story here, just the Suns dishonest rantings.