>The following Op-Ed appeared in the Times of Trenton yetserday and was posted on NJ.com:
When we get frustrated, we get cranky. And when we get cranky, we sometimes do stupid things that wind up hurting us. We’re on the verge of that right now.
Washington frustrates everyone at the moment. And so, the mood in the electorate is: “Throw out all those bums in Washington — get rid of the whole bunch!” This makes it a bad time to be an incumbent, and a fine time to be a challenger offering simplistic nostrums that appeal to cranky people who are not thinking clearly.
But each campaign is still a choice between two individuals, not between “the incumbents” and “the challengers.” Depending on which of the two individual candidates the voters in each district and state send to Congress, voters’ frustration will either swell or diminish in the years that follow.
In New Jersey’s 12th Congressional District, the choice between those two individuals could not possibly be more stark, so voters here could not possibly have a greater duty to understand the profound differences between them.
One is a legislator respected on both sides of the aisle, the other a man who made millions on Wall Street. Looking at their respective positions on critical issues, it is apparent that their personal life experiences shape their perspectives and policies. Challenger Scott Sipprelle is a super-smart financier who amassed an enormous fortune and aims to sustain both his own wealth and that of others who have figured out how to get rich. Incumbent Rep. Rush Holt, D-Hopewell, is a super-smart scientist who studies the interconnections between cause and effect in our society and aims to ensure that sound-bite solutions don’t bite us back. A few examples illustrate these differences:
Rep. Holt has been a driving force in Congress to establish an agency dedicated to protecting consumers from the kinds of flimsy “investments” that proved so deceptive even professional financiers got snookered, wreaking havoc with the U.S. economy and American families from coast to coast. Scott Sipprelle opposes this protection and thinks consumers who invest should fend for themselves.
Rush Holt insists on fiscal responsibility through congressional adherence to the pay-as-you-go (“PayGo”) legislation passed during the Clinton administration, which balances any new expenditure with commensurate cuts and/or new revenues. Scott Sipprelle favors the Bush tax policy of breaks for the very rich and for corporations. PayGo brought about a balanced budget, while the Bush policies created calamitous debts and deficits. Extending breaks for the very rich will add $700 billion more debt for our children to pay off.
Rush Holt has worked to strengthen Medicare, which provides the most cost-effective health care in the U.S. He realizes that there are certain times — maybe not a lot, but some — when the federal government is actually more efficient and wiser than private industry. Meanwhile, Scott Sipprelle thinks that our trillions of dollars in Social Security should now be handed over to Wall Street financiers — the same folks whose feckless derivative vehicles and reckless manipulations have brought the U.S. to the brink of a second Great Depression.
Rush Holt sees that American schools are in serious trouble and understands the implications for sapping our global competitiveness, not to mention stunting the lives of ill-educated individuals. So he is supporting strong initiatives to improve schools’ science and math programs. Scott Sipprelle reportedly would abolish the Department of Education….
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