Free Liberal

Coordinating towards higher values

The Two Americas

by Paul Jacob

Could Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards actually be right about something? Not where to go to get a haircut, mind you, I mean about there being two Americas.

There is the vibrant America . . . and the stagnant one.

There is the America of ever-increasing wealth, innovation, creativity, new products and services. Choices galore.

And there is the politician's America: The regulated America, the subsidized America, the earmarked America. The failing America.

In one America, it is what you produce that gets you ahead. In the other, it's who you know.

In one America, to earmark some money means setting aside funds (into savings) for a purchase -- a car, house, college.

In the other America, to earmark is to grab from taxpayers to give to cronies. It is the highest rite of career politicians: Buying their votes with other people's money. Oh, there have been reforms, sure. But a recent bill in the House had 32,000 earmark requests.

In one America, we decide what we pay for. We choose constantly about little things and big. We call the shots. Or we walk down the street and associate with someone else. So we have some faith in those we work with.

In the other America, we vote. But we rarely get what we vote for.

Maybe that's why the new Democratic Congress just registered the lowest approval rating in poll history.

It surely isn't because folks love the Republicans.

Paul Jacob's "Common Sense" is published by the Citizens in Charge Foundation. Their website can be visited at www.citizensincharge.org.