2010 was a bad one, folks. At year’s end unemployment is barely changed. Small businesses are still struggling. We are so desperate for good economic news that favorable changes in indicators that would have gone unnoticed before the recession bring frenzied news flashes about a recovery.
There is hope for a better 2011, even if the only bright spot at the moment is the end of Nancy Pelosi’s reign of horrific irresponsibility. With 2010 behind us, here are a few items over which our leaders should hang their heads in shame. Feel free to send us your own so they can be added to the list. There are lots to choose from.
1. The DREAM Act
Democrats tried to bring this illegal immigration amnesty bill through the front door, and when that didn’t work, Harry Reid snuck it in the back by adding it to a defense appropriations bill. The DREAM Act gasped and died on the Senate floor just before the year ended, but it will continue to lurk in the dark, unseemly recesses of the Capitol, waiting for an opportune time to rise again.
2. The Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act
Spare us the moaning and hand-wringing about the lack of funds to pay teachers and other public employees. If states had shown the slightest measure of fiscal restraint, and reigned in their pension and other employee benefit offerings years ago, they would not have to keep coming to Uncle Sam’s table with their hands out. This bill paid teacher’s salaries, and while “Medicaid Assistance Act” makes one think of health care, the real purpose was to free up funds to be used to pay for other public employees who, like teachers, are in highly unionized occupations.
3. Pandering to Labor Unions
We began 2010 by deferring health care reform’s Cadillac Tax because unions demanded it, we saw it in the Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act, we read about it when reports came out about favoritism towards automaker pension plans during the GM and Chrysler bankruptcies, and we heard it from the president at a September 6, 2010 Milwaukee “Laborfest” rally: “These are American ideas. These are union ideas. That’s what we’re fighting for.” Organized labor had a great year in 2010. And all this time, we thought small businesses were what mattered . . .
4..Pandering To Illegal Immigrants
Immigration reform was high on the list when President Obama moved into the White House. Supporters of a mass amnesty initiative stumbled over their own tongues, trying to explain why their proposals did not endorse the sale of American citizenship for a $500 fine. By year’s end the DREAM Act was all that was left, and then we got rid of it, too.
5. Suing Arizona
One of the lowest points of the year. The president turns law breaking into a civil rights issue, and sues Arizona to show supporters of illegal immigration just how invested we are in bettering their lives in America.
6..Shafting Small Businesses
For all the talk about the fabric of our economy resting on the shoulders of America’s beleaguered small businesses, we should have expected Washington to extend a helping hand. Instead, we saw bills passed in the name of small business recovery that accomplished other aims, such as the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act of 2010, which bailed out community banks.
7. The Health Care Bill
How do we get rid of this thing?
8. Earmarks in the 2011 Omnibus Spending Bill
After all the midterm talk about spending cuts, and reducing the debt, and reducing the deficit, Congress tried to have its way with us one more time before the year ended, offering a spending bill bursting to the gills with special projects. Did they really think no one would notice, or do the midterm survivors believe they have two years to do what they want?
Mitch McConnell came out in support of a non-binding earmark moratorium, but had more than his fair share of spending vehicles in the omnibus bill. Republicans say they want to cut spending in 2011. Hopefully this means all spending and not just Democratic spending.
9. Federal Involvement in the British Petroleum Spill
Once again, a crisis proved how little value federal regulators provide. Lax oversight preceded the spill, and despite strong words from the White House and delays in providing assistance to a desperate Bobby Jindal, it was the private sector that saved us, albeit the same company that caused the problem.
The cleanup continues. Hearings are still being held. Lawsuits have been filed. Heads will roll. Remember the Exxon Valdez spill? Nothing came of that, either, except the 1990 “Oil Pollution Act” that failed to prevent this new disaster.
10. Defending Hamid Karzai
Sarah Palin echoed remarks made by Liz Cheney when she came out in support of Afghanistan’s leader at the expense of our own president, accusing Mr. Obama of treating Karzai “poorly.” We may disagree with our president’s foreign policy (and his domestic policy, too, for that matter), but given press surrounding the ongoing, intractable corruption in Karzai’s government, Mr. Obama deserved a pass. Palin was wrong. Sometimes you have to ignore partisanship, even when it hurts, and we should have heard more voices come out against Karzai.