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Rich Howell: The choice is clear in congressional election

Rich Howell | Other Voices

While certain cable outlets and electronic gossip sites do their best to keep partisan voters distracted with a contrived narrative of division, it’s becoming clear that “demand side” economics, not the “trickle down” philosophy of Reagan is working in America. Important measures show signs of hope for the bottom half of our economy. Full employment is driving up wages for the first time in decades, real income of the bottom half economic brackets is up 60% since the beginning of the pandemic, and big businesses, both national and international corporations are investing in American production. Some of this is due to the actions of the Democrat-controlled Congress, some the president, and much is a result of hard lessons learned by businesses chasing easy profits, only to find themselves badly hurt when supply chains failed during the pandemic. American consumers, though bearing some of the blame for inflation, are driving real growth in our economy because they can afford to participate.

One statistic that warms my heart particularly as a retired teacher is that child poverty has been halved over the past decade. Contrary to the Reagan image of the “welfare mother,” research has demonstrated that programs aimed at making it possible for parents to work, feed, house, and nurture their children also make it possible for them to work and improve their conditions in life. People aren’t innately lazy; they need reasons and a path that shows that their work will benefit them. Punishing the poor for being poor may appeal to the partisan politicians building a following through fear, hate and contempt, but it perpetuates the causes of poverty and homelessness and hurts us all by pitting one against another.

I point to all of this because we, in Nevada County, have a serious choice to make in the next Congressional election. For a change, we have a real chance to affect what happens in Congress for the next term. I encourage every voter to visit the websites of both Congressional candidates. One candidate supports programs that mirror the recent successes in our country. He supports a woman’s right to make informed decisions about her own body and life. He supports programs that boost employment. Yet he opposes big government and career politicians. Visit his website. You might be pleasantly surprised. There’s a whole lot more. He lays out practical beliefs that voters of all persuasions can embrace. His opponent, a career politician, shares nothing of his agenda on his website. In public statements, he’s continually disparaged California, stated a pro-business stance, and curried favor with Donald Trump. That is not a program in my book. It’s my personal belief that a vote for Kevin Kiley is a vote for Kevin McCarthy. In no way can I imagine Kiley, if elected, doing anything but what McCarthy tells him to do. And McCarthy has recently made it clear that if he is elevated to the Speaker’s chair, he’ll seek a national ban on abortion, an un-doing of the Democrat economic program, and a witch hunt of the Federal departments.

While the minority party in Congress has focused on demeaning Democrats and the president, keeping Republican voters stirred up with meaningless emotional issues, America is growing under present governance. This may be our last chance to expand the middle class, prepare our children and grandchildren for a good, healthy, and productive life, and protect our democracy from those who would grab power and crush opposition. I understand how hard it is for voters to cross over and vote the “other” party, but now is the time…for the good of the country. Turn off your televisions and muckraking websites. Do some research. Be the kind of voter that our founders wanted you to be, an informed and principled voter. Do what’s good for your country.

Rich Howell lives in Nevada City


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