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September 1, 2011

FLASHPOINT: Congress must help keep American dream within our reach

EVANSVILLE — Since the 2010 mid-term elections, House Speaker John Boehner and his blindly dedicated Republican followers have not introduced a single bill for job creation. Not one. Instead of prioritizing the legislation of bills that could make it easier for businesses to do business, Republican congressmen have focused their energies on cutting Social Security and Medicare. While Republican leaders are making cuts that hurt America’s middle class and those working to get there, our local leadership should develop practical and locally applicable solutions to get more Hoosiers working.

The Democratic Party is developing ideas to provide small businesses with tax credits for hiring American troops who are back at home. While we must help our most committed defenders and service people, we should also expand the policy so it applies to all new hires. Small businesses could benefit from receiving additional tax breaks, and American workers can get working again. Let’s close corporate tax loopholes to make up revenue that should be shared fairly by all Americans. Nobody — liberal or conservative — likes paying taxes, but that is how we maintain socially shared spaces, public schools, and roads and infrastructure projects that allow our system to function more effectively in the long run.

We must fix our regulatory policies. Regulation has failed systemically in recent years. From the Gulf Oil spill to breakdowns in the financial sector, our regulatory agencies have not operated as they should. There exists a revolving door between private corporations and regulatory agencies that have corrupted proper regulation. In order to prevent future cataclysmic disasters, we must monitor and reduce these corrupt practices. Our regulatory failures should not be an excuse to remove regulations altogether — which is an oft-stated “solution” for our regulatory problems.

Effective regulations, for example, can ensure that our drinking water is clean, food is free from harmful contaminants, and drugs are effective. An increase in transparency and a paper trail that closely follows the financial inputs and outputs associated with regulation would be steps toward the right direction.

We must demand more from our local leaders. What is Congressman Bucshon doing to help businesses create jobs? Where are his priorities? Instead of lining up as a quintessential Republican yes-man and defending corporate jet owners from being taxed for their private planes, he should have developed realistic plans for his fellow Hoosiers and Americans. Instead of creating new plans for our community, he has supported cuts to Medicare and Social Security. He helped defend the wealthiest Americans — who do not need the help — at the expense of our elderly citizens. We cannot stand for this.

We should continue to fight to make I-69 a reality now. This infrastructure project allows more possibilities for local and regional economic development. New businesses will develop alongside I-69, which will increase employment opportunities. Transportation costs between Indianapolis and Evansville will decrease due to reduced travel periods. Increased mobility reduces barriers for businesses to do business within the state. We can create local solutions, but we have not seen anything tangible happen since the 2010 elections.

Blind spending and blind cutting aren’t solutions to our nation’s ills. We must approach our problems with a discerning eye. What has worked in the past? What has not? What novel approaches could help our system develop sustainability? Our current leaders are ignoring the most basic questions. Their policy decisions appear to be mostly politically motivated. When a few of the current crop of GOP presidential candidates state that our government should have defaulted in the recent, artificially created debt-ceiling debate, we know that rationality and reality are not present in the baseline thinking processes of these individuals.

I am running for Congress because I want to make sure that the American dream remains in reach. I want to create policies that help grow the middle class. I want to inject realistic policies into the public sphere.  I grew up in the Evansville community among working class Hoosiers who fought for their livelihoods and supported their families without fail. We cannot continue to waste time debating without action — we must force our leaders to act efficiently and effectively. This fight is bigger than any individual — I need your voice, and I need your energy. Join me, and let us together re-affirm our dreams and improve our community together.

Terry White is a life-long resident of the Evansville area, a former governor of Indiana Kiwanis International, an attorney, and a small business owner. He is a Democratic candidate for the 8th Congressional District. He resides with his wife of 35 years in Newburgh.

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