The result is a government with representatives more focused on selling an image that sustains the party platform, and policy that fits within the contours of an ideology they are required to uphold. The objective should be to sell policy that ultimately solves the problem and that's it.
Case in point - the alternative energy debate stands right now with the Republican view that we cannot cut tax breaks to the big oil companies, and should rather invest more funding into offshore drilling (just another example of the contradictory Republican mantra: cut spending, but also maintain lower taxes). This conservative model for lowering our debt is not a feasible method, but yet it is something the Republican party must stay true to, in order to carry votes in the next election.
The Democratic stance isn't much better but at least they are trying to ween us off the super-teat of oil. They are trying to implement a plan that ends subsidies to the big 5 oil companies, but have recently changed putting these funds toward alternative energy R&D, and instead are conforming to Republican ideals of putting the money saved into lowering the debt. (Funny thing is, Republicans won't even vote on that option)
Yes, I know, both showing an effort to find compromise and lowering the debt are great initiatives. But, I agree with New York Times columnist Paul Krugman and the fact that even though our country holds a massive and unsustainable debt, we are not broke! Cutting merely millions of dollars in spending on programs our country needs, will barely make a dent in the long run of our 14 trillion dollar debt. The only items that can lower this debt are the non-discretionary spending programs such as entitlements (medicare/medicaid/social security) and defense. Sure, putting money from programs that were easy to cut as a politician looks better in terms of job security than the big risks that many fear lead to political death. But, the only true answer to lowering the national debt is through reforming entitlements, cutting defense spending, and raising taxes.
So when it comes to childish arguments on how to handle tax breaks to the big oil companies, the real question should be how we are going to end our dependence and bring alternative energies to the fore. The gasoline problem is clearly one that will fail to get better, so instead of even debating whether we need to stop subsidizing (which we clearly do), we need to start establishing alternative energies as the future - the near future. The big oil companies turn billion dollar profits on a yearly basis, I think they will survive without our help. If gas prices continue to rise, so be it, maybe this will create more urgency toward ending our dependency.
Will we ever get rid of the game-playing in politics? I don't know, but the only way to start solving problems is to quit focusing on selling an image, and start selling a real solution.
In my next post I plan to talk about the recent developments in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. This is becoming a very hot button issue, and I will give you my thoughts on the politics of the situation both in the Middle East and here.