Is redistricting the reason why there is no debt deal?

United States
July 22, 2011 8:42pm CST
In the 1990's Republicans started to take advantage of laws in states that allowed them to redraw district lines. What it has created it districts that are very conservative, with smaller numbers of constituents, who are vocal, outspoken, and they vote. If the politicians compromise at all they are at risk losing their jobs, even if it means helping the country as a whole. It is creating a situation where politicians could destroy the US economy, and be treated as a hero back in their district. Is it more important to do what is best for your country, or best for your employer?
5 responses
@andy77e (5165)
• United States
23 Jul 11
In the 90s? No sorry. Redistricting has been taken advantage of since it was created. In fact it was first done blatantly in 1812. And every political party, including republicans and democrats, has done this. Further, no redistricting is not the reason for a lack of a debt deal. The reason there is no debt deal is because the president and the congress have opposing views on what a debt deal should be. The president wants to tax the economy more, destroying jobs, ruining growth, and harm the public, to pay for his government give-aways. The Congress want to cut spending, and let the rightful owners of the money (namely the people), keep the money that is rightfully theirs. What is best for my employer, is what is best for the country. False dichotomy.
1 person likes this
• United States
23 Jul 11
Andy, my point is not when gerrymandering began, it is what was created when the Republicans did started in the 1990's. This train of thought actually has come from other republicans because of the conflict they see coming, and the lack of any solution. You are correct that the president and the house have two different views of how the country should be run. But, in the past both sides have been able to to compromise for betterment of the country. The president has said that he would consider entitlement cuts, but the burden of this problem should fall on the entire population, not just the middle class and the poor. Republicans have refused to allow the wealthy in this country to bare ANY pain (part of which was caused by their tax cuts, and breaks), while expecting the rest of the country to pay for all of the spending. "What is best for my employer, is what is best for the country. False dichotomy." Right now US corporations are sitting on over $2 TRILLION dollars in profits that they made while the rest of the country struggled to make it through the Bush repression. While the average American was struggling to pay their bills, and keep their family fed, US corporations were raising prices knowing that people had to purchase food and clothing to stay alive. That is a FACT!!!!
@andy77e (5165)
• United States
24 Jul 11
Republicans have refused to allow the wealthy in this country to bare ANY pain With all due respect.... BULL CRAP. LOL What are you smoking??? You are either completely ignorant, or a liar. According to the Internal Revenue Service, the top 25% of all wage earners, pay nearly 66% of all taxes. Further the top 1% are paying 37% of all taxes. 1% of the US population is paying 1/3rd of all Federal income taxes. They haven't had any pain? You are wrong. Bottom line, you are incorrect sir. Right now US corporations are sitting on over $2 TRILLION dollars in profits that they made while the rest of the country struggled to make it through the Bush repression. Funny... they (being American businesses) cite Obama's regulation spree as why they have refused to invest more into the economy. What... you think if you tax money from them, suddenly they will use their missing money to create jobs? Your grasp of economics is lacking.
• United States
24 Jul 11
Andy, where are these IRS statistics? Where does it say that "the top 25% of all wage earners, pay nearly 66% of all taxes"? A link would be nice, if you can find it.
1 person likes this
@Taskr36 (13925)
• United States
23 Jul 11
I don't know why you're acting as though this started in the 1990's. As others have told you, it's an old trick and the most blatant example was when democrats made districts to force black congressmen into congress. "If the politicians compromise at all they are at risk losing their jobs, even if it means helping the country as a whole." Well that's what I've been saying is the problem with politicians for a long time. Most aren't interested in what's best for the country. Their primary, and often ONLY, goal is to stay in office for as long as humanly possible. If they cared about doing what was best, they'd do what they thought was best regardless of whether or not it may cost them the next election. Most would do well if they could hold town halls and properly articulate what they are doing and why they are doing it. Sadly, most don't have the guts to go to a town hall where the people may disagree with them. Arlen Specter had the guts to do it, but not the sense to listen to his constituents when it was clear they didn't support Obamacare. The debt deal isn't failing because of Republicans. They've already passed a budget deal with the debt ceiling. If it doesn't get through the senate, they can place the blame squarely on the democrats. The simple fact is that things aren't passing because both sides have things they aren't willing to compromise on and they appear willing to let this country hit the debt ceiling before making that compromise. To answer your base question, no, I don't think redistricting is the reason. Most politicians will just aim to please enough voters to stay in office and that happens with senators, who are obviously immune to gerrymandering, as well.
• United States
23 Jul 11
Taskr, good post. I agreed with you when we spoke of this in another post, and it had the same cause and effect as what I am pointing out. What this Gerrymandering is doing is fuming the far right and left wing partisans in these small district who can dictate their extreme views on the entire country, and hold them hostage. Both parties have done it, and continue to do it today. I am merely pointing out that this is part of the problem in this country, and we need to find a way to fix it. You are correct that these politicians only want to get reelected, and they have set up a system in Washington to give them every advantage they can. The House is by far the worse because of the number of representatives, and their ability to create their own districts (or have them created for them). The deal that republicans passed wasn't worth the paper it was written on, and everyone knows it. ALL AMERICANS got us into this mess, ALL AMERICANS should have to help get us out!!! Please explain to me again why a hedge fund manager making A BILLION (like a Henry Paulson) dollars a year shouldn't pay a DIME in taxes? Why do you think there are so many hedge fund managers right now? If you only have a group of people on the extreme side politically, than you will have to vote the same way to stay in office. I think you are making as good if not better case of how this is hurting the country than I am. The difference in the Senate is just purely numbers. It is much more difficult for them to be as extreme because you have groups on both political extremes voting for them. In the house, it is usually just one extreme that they have to bow to, on both sides of the isle.
@lawdude (237)
• United States
23 Jul 11
Political gerrymandering affects elections, legislation, and public policy at the local, State, and national levels. Both political parties use it to consolidate their power. The Courts are loath to interfere on the ground that gerrymandering is a political, not legal, issue. The exception is when it raises a question of equal protection or due process under the 5th or 14th Amendments of the Constitution. Those cases usually involve discrimination against racial minorities. I believe you are correct that political gerrymandering in conservative Republican states has given Republicans an advantage. Today, since many are Tea Party candidates, there is more of a political divide than ever in Washington and less likelihood of political or pragmatic compromise. That, however, is the political process in action. I look at the situtation in a historical perspective. When the stock market crashed on Wall Street in 1929 and Herbert Hoover and the GOP were in power, the country blamed the Republicans and elected FDR and heavy Democratic majorities in Congress. That generational view held probably up to the Reagan revolution when the older depression-age people dwindled in numbers. With the post-war prosperity of the 1950s and 1960s, many formerly poor families became middle class and more conservative in outlook. At the same time political alliances changed drastically. The old solid Democratic South began shifting to the GOP when the Democrats championed and passed civil rights laws outlawing segregation. The South is now a solid Republican bastion, giving the GOP a very competitive advantage in national elections. I personally think that most of the preference for the GOP in relatively poor areas of the South and other sections of the country has more to do with social than economic issues since the Democratic party is associated with abortion, gay rights, and secular humanism-- which the current GOP agenda opposes. The political/economic dichotomy between the red and blue States is also an irony to me. On a whole the blue States are wealthier and pay more in federal taxes than they receive, while the poorer red States -- the largest beneficiaries of government socialism -- receive more in federal taxes than they pay. However, it's citizens and representatives of the red States who are most in favor of lowering taxes and reducing or ending programs that seem to more heavily benefit them. The current controversey over the debt ceiling and the 2012 election may be another seminal moment in the political course of the country. If the GOP wins and drastically slashes government programs and spending, the result could be a political disaster for the Republicans if the economy tanks and the employment situation gets worse. In that event, the ghost of Herbert Hoover could rear his ugly head. On the other hand, if we become more prosperous in a pre-New Deal type America, the Democratic party will have to move decidedly to the right to be competitive.
@Taskr36 (13925)
• United States
24 Jul 11
"the Democrats championed and passed civil rights laws outlawing segregation." Actually that legislation was championed by Republicans. Kennedy and LBJ were on the right side, but Democrats by and large supported segregation and opposed civil rights. The civil rights movement started with republicans like Eisenhower. Kennedy and LBJ just continued what he started against the wishes of their own party.
1 person likes this
@bobmnu (8160)
• United States
23 Jul 11
The problem with no debt deal is simple. people were elected to cut spending and reduce the size of government. They compromised on the budget and were taken for a ride. They were promised spending cuts then the cuts got cut in half, and then when it was passed they heard that well or numbers were off and the cuts will be less than we thought and other cuts were merely accounting gimmicks by paying a bill next year instead of this year. Now they are asked to accept cuts that will happen in 10 years or more. One option floated suggest that the government could save close to a trillion dollars if they raised the Social Security retirement age to 67 by the year 2034, we are to wait 23 years to see savings. These congressmen and women feel fool me once shame on you fool me twice shame on me. These same people made a deal to extend the Bush Era Tax Cuts for 2 years. Now the President wants to go back on his word and raise taxes on the "rich". Redistricting is not the cause, the cause is the American people are fed up with the out of control spending.
• United States
23 Jul 11
Bob, how much of National Defense are you willing to cut? How much do you want to cut for Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid? Do you want to get rid of the EPA, and allow corporations to regulate themselves? How are YOU going to pay down our debt? We didn't get here alone on the spending of the last two years, it has been the spending for the last 11 years. Where were YOU when Bush REFUSED to pay for two wars that HE started? Where do you think we got the money to do that? I still fail to understand the logic of republicans who think that only two classes in this country should pay for all of the spending that three received. Please Bob, explain to me why it is that the richest people in this country shouldn't have to feel any "pain". While the rest of the American people should have to deal with huge cut backs in services, pay more for their current services, and pay down the debt that has help increase the wealth for richest people in this country? Explain that to me like I am a four year old, because that makes NO SENSE AT ALL!!! Bob, you know the minute that one republican decides to compromise the Tea Party will have a candidate waiting to run against him in the next election within the hour. Tell me again that redistricting has NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS!!!!
@francesca5 (1344)
30 Jul 11
I read something about this today, in the economist. they had a leader in which they said that there was no leadership in the western world, and they listed one of the reasons as being redistricting, as it had created a situation where the moderate middle had disappeared from both houses. so if this magazine agrees with you then i am not going to disagree, but it also makes sense, i find it quite amazing that politicians can make such hands on decisions about electoral boundaries. their solution was an independent commission to draw boundaries. that is what we have in the uk, and we still accuse our politicians of gerrymandering, which given half a chance they would do. so its no surprise that when they have something a whole lot more than half a chance they do it. an independent commission is the best way forward.
@Adoniah (7515)
• United States
23 Jul 11
They are already destroying the country. If the current trend continues, the country will be the biggest welfare state in the world. If Hussein Obamination gets his way, and makes Puerto Rico the 51st state, we will have all of them on the dole too. They of course will them vote for more liberals and more bureaucracy. They will want Gov. jobs too...Welcome to Socialism. No middle class and a small elite group pulling all the strings. It doesn't work and will take a civil war to stop it, but the fat as-es in this country will take a long time to convince.