Tonawanda News

Opinion

November 14, 2012

DUVALL: Divided government shouldn't be a death knell to progress

(Continued)

Tonawanda News —

Millions of jobs can be created once we get past this and only the business community can authentically articulate that message to politicians and citizens alike.

Next step: Find partners in Congress. Again if I were advising the president, I would urge him to bypass congressional leadership of both parties and work with the senators and congressmen who are willing to enter serious negotiations. There are plenty of respected senators, particularly Republicans (Utah’s Bob Bennet, Maine’s Susan Collins and Indiana’s Dick Lugar come to mind) who will be out of office come January. These are seasoned lawmakers with reputations as deal-makers.

Sit down with these Republicans and some equally responsible Democrats (Ron Wyden of Oregon, Dick Durbin of Illinois and maybe even the newly re-elected Claire McCaskill who would be particularly apt to burnish independent credentials after surviving re-election in red state Missouri).

A deal created by these heavy hitters could get 65 or 70 votes if the package is deemed serious and — thanks to our business leaders’ professions — necessary to avert another recession. It should involve tax increases on the wealthy, cuts to entitlement programs and domestic spending for the middle class and the poor and a reduction in military spending. It ensures Americans of every stripe have some skin in the game and the burden is shared between the wealthiest and the rest of us with a measure of equanimity. 

A deal like that coming out of the Senate would box in House Republicans who have been the naysayers all along. It might fail the House the first time around, but there are enough Democrats in the minority that the number of Republican pick-off votes should be attainable, especially if Speaker John Boehner realizes his majority is at stake if his caucus is viewed by a majority of Americans as trying to shove us over the cliff rather than helping us take a step back.

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