This has been a roller coaster of a political week. After drafting a secret bill that would impact over 300 million Americans and 1/6th of our economy, we got to see what the repeal of Obamacare would look like. With the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis, over 22 million people would lose their health insurance, while 1/10th of one percent of the nation’s wealthiest people would receive a huge tax cut.
This is what Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and the rest of the band came up with after having six years to offer an alternative to Obamacare. Let’s call it what it is; it’s a redistribution of wealth, plain and simple.
The Democrats were not able to see or comment on the bill, nor was their input sought. Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, this is an affront to our democracy, we should all be concerned. The Democrats don’t get a merit badge for their behavior either, singing “nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah nah, hey hey hey, goodbye” after the House passed their version of the healthcare bill.
In Concord, with the recent passage of the state budget, things are not looking much different. A state senator bragged that “we didn’t need the Democrat’s votes or input in order to pass the budget”.
In a time that now seems light years away, the two parties worked together and got legislation passed. Everybody didn’t get exactly what they wanted, but they compromised and came up with workable solutions. Ted Kennedy had a long and deep friendship with Republicans Orrin Hatch and John McCain. Kennedy and his Senate pals from both sides of the aisle would retreat for drinks and a burger, and they wouldn’t leave the room until they came to a consensus.
I now find myself asking, where are the adults in the room? And where is the recognition and acceptance that our democracy is based on a multiple party system where everyone has a seat at the negotiating table, not just the ones in the majority party? Looks like we need new leadership in both Washington and Concord that get work done without adult supervision.