Congressman Paul Gosar made some interesting comments at his recent Payson visit. The charts describing the national debt were truly frightening. He was passionate about wanting to jail government officials whom he accused of malfeasance. He cited two occasions over the last three years when he crossed the aisle to work with the other party. He acknowledged respect for Gov. Brewer’s stand on expanding Medicaid for the less fortunate in Arizona (state legislators take note).
Gosar acknowledged that the defiance and obstinacy, which led to the government shut down under Congressman Gingrich’s leadership, was a classical blunder because it caused $1.50 of expense for every dollar saved. But then he went on to describe his role in Congress as being defiant opposition rather than working for a consensus that would solve difficult problems. Same old story. No lesson learned.
He somehow thinks that we admire mindless opposition and intransigency instead of pulling together to find reasonable approaches to such intractable problems.
For instance, he was right that workers’ shifts have contributed to the imbalance in the Social Security system. But he failed to acknowledge the larger part of the problem. Most workers pay the Social Security tax on all their income. But the law is written in such a way that the highest earners do not pay Social Security taxes on all their wages. They pay no Social Security taxes at all on wages over $113,700. Taxing all job-related income would, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, allow the tax rate to actually be decreased and still guarantee solvency for the Social Security system. As it currently exists, capping taxable income is not built on the democratic principle that taxes should be based on one’s ability to pay.
So we have millions of people, over 90 percent of workers, paying taxes on 100 percent of their wages, while wealthy folks are legally excused from paying taxes on all their wages. To make matters even worse, those high earners end up later getting the highest payouts in benefits when they do not even need the benefits. That’s not fair. And it causes instability in the Social Security system.
Why won’t Gosar tell us the whole story? Mere opposition is no contribution to getting things done. It just makes matters worse.
Of course the system has to change — we all know that. But everyone should pay the same tax rate, not just those in the lower economic strata.
Irrational opposition is Gosar’s hallmark. He claims that he is brave for standing on principle. It led him to boast in previous presentations how strongly he advocated for sequestration. Yes, and it caused 2.1 million people across our country to lose some or all food assistance during the recession. It resulted in 70,000 children being denied Head Start, 4 million fewer meals being served to deserving seniors, and a loss of over 750,000 jobs across the country. That is bravery?
Consider other legislation that he was proud to oppose. He opposed the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act. He opposed the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act. He opposed the Job Protection and Recession Prevention Act. He opposed Extending Student Loan Interest Rates Act.
Who needs such bravery?
Just how does all this intransigence benefit the people of our congressional district? How on earth could anyone claim that this is representation for the needs of his constituents?
Mere opposition is no act of courage. It is simply intransigence and defiance, which ends up harming people. That is not constructive politics.