Posted by: Joe Eds | March 23, 2010

What’s Next?

Health care debate will continue for some time as the discussion will shift to the positive vs. negative effects of the bill signed today by the President, and the popularity of the bill, how will it effect the ’10 mid-terms, etc.

So – What’s the next big hoopla going to be about?

The NY Times has a story today that it’ll be Social Security, with this key point that needs to be addressed:

By 2016, Social Security will begin paying more in benefits than it collects in payroll taxes, according to the annual report of government trustees; reserves in the form of government i.o.u.’s will be exhausted by 2037, after which incoming taxes will cover three-quarters of benefits.

Scary, but my political gut doesn’t think Social Security will hit the top of the issue agenda any time soon. Main reason is that there is not really any solution to the problem without tax increases, and no Congress or President wants to face that with unemployment this high. What’s that leave us:  Immigration reform? Education reform? Climate Change?  Always crowd-pleasers (for pundits and organizations out to raise money anyways).

But I have two proposed issues that I want to see front and center:

Energy – According to a recent Gallup poll, now more than ever, Americans favor an increase of nuclear energy (chart below). Republicans and Republican-leaning-Independents favor more nuclear power than Democrats. So this could be a legitimate “reach across the aisle” deal. We need more streams of energy. We need to build more power plants in this country. It’d create jobs and it would be a source for decades of energy. The main road block is on two fronts, a) many see the plants as scary “our town is the next Chernobyl” towers of doom and b) most Americans have the mind set of “I’d love to have more nuclear power in this country, just don’t build them in my neighborhood.”

Redistricting – To me, it’s the most important issue of the day. It’s the only way to get rid of the gridlock in Washington. We need to redraw Congressional Districts in this country. We need to do it immediately. This is something Congress won’t touch (for obvious reasons). This is something the President, who does occasionally need Congress to pass stuff, doesn’t want to touch to upset that branch. The judicial branch hasn’t made much head way either. I’m not sure what’s the legal path to take or the most pragmatic. Some suggest individual state legislatures, but even they are elected and most members of the state legislature of any state often want to run for something else down the road… so I’m a bit at a loss. Frankly, I want the President to do something. I think with the census this year, the executive branch could easily coordinate population densities in counties and states and decipher where appropriate district lines be drawn. I offer as evidence to this absurdity the 1st District of North Carolina and the 18th District of Pennsylvania.

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Responses

  1. Total agreement on both points.

    The environmental left’s opposition to nuclear power is crazy, so this is an excellent opportunity for the Democrats to burnish their moderate/bipartisan cred and actually do the right thing at the same time.

    As to redistricting, I’m similarly flummoxed as to how to proceed. The stoppage here is purely political. As my dad has said, from a purely mathematical perspective, coming up with a few simple logarithms for drawing districts that have both roughly equal populations and sane and sensible borders would be extremely easy.

    Actually though, my vote for the next big brouhaha is financial regulation. The House has already passed its bill, the Senate will start debate on its version soon, it’s a popular move with the public, and the Republicans are already gearing up to denounce it as another big-government takeover or some such. Should be fun.


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