Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Guest op was written with cloudy vision

Allen Holcomb and other conservatives may have "fire in their eyes" over what they see as duplicity in the media ("Liberals and media are duplicitous," Aug. 19 guest opinion), but unfortunately, they have smoke in their eyes that distorts their vision.

Mr. Holcomb equates conservatives with pragmatists. But pragmatism is a matter-of-fact way of approaching or assessing situations or solving problems and isn't a wholly owned attribute of conservatives or liberals. There was nothing pragmatic about conservatives in Congress bringing the country to its knees over their politically created debt ceiling crisis.

Conservatives have fire in their eyes over "runaway government spending," but smoky vision when it comes to recognizing that the runaway spending was primarily the result of eight years of such spending under the Bush administration. Tax cuts for the wealthy turned the budget surplus that Bush inherited from Clinton into a multi-billion-dollar deficit, and this deficit problem was then compounded by two wars waged on a credit card and an unpaid-for Medicare prescription benefit program.

They rail about "out-of-control entitlements" and "excessive redistribution of wealth" but again smoke clouds their vision. There has been an excessive redistribution of wealth, but contrary to the laws of nature, money has been flowing uphill to the wealthy, not trickling down to the middle and lower class. Twenty-five years ago, 1 percent of our population received 12 percent of the nation's total income and controlled 33 percent of our nation's wealth. Today, 1 percent of our population receives 25 percent of our nation's total income, and that same 1 percent controls 40 percent of our nation's wealth.

It is good to be passionate about politics. And as has often been said, politics is a combat sport. But civility is essential in a well-functioning democracy, as are a recognition of the facts that underpin the problems we confront. Both, unfortunately, are missing from the guest opinion.

Alan Richardson


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