There is a classic Simpsons scene where Homer is conned into playing Three-card Monte with a hustler named Snake. He was so confident that his choice, the ace of hearts, would come up in the obvious spot that he was willing to wager twenty dollars on it. Unfortunately for Homer, the game was rigged so that no matter which card he chose (even though he was determined in his choice), an entirely different card showed, resulting in him losing the game and his money.
Outraged by this scenario, Marge Simpson chased down the card-cheat and administered justice for all those who knew they picked the right card.
Disturbingly, the same game is now happening in Washington. For months, middle class Americans have been telling Washington the issue that they care most about is improving the job market and the economy. The most recent YG Network poll confirms that more than three in four individuals believe that a focus on economic issues would have the most positive impact on them and their family.
However, some of those insulated inside the Washington bubble have been ignoring Americans' priorities and instead focus on special interest distractions that don't help the middle class. And in this situation, Marge Simpson is not coming to the rescue.
It doesn't seem to matter that millions of people are out of work or underemployed, or everyday costs like gas at the pump, higher education, and healthcare continue to become more expensive. No matter what the national sentiment is, the Washington elite stack the deck and deal something different.
For example, it was reported recently that after making a substantial investment in time and money (hard-earned or borrowed), college graduates are finding it difficult to put their college degrees to work in this weak economy. With so many young people facing an unsound labor market with large amounts of student debt, President Obama had a perfect opportunity to discuss ideas on expanding job opportunities for recent grads when he recently spoke at Georgetown University.
Instead of addressing the very real needs of today's graduates, he used his pulpit to launch a pre-emptive strike in the war on coal. One of his closest advisors on energy policy recently stated that a "war on coal is exactly what's needed" in this country, and President Obama maintained stride with that idea. His energy policy speech was not reassuring to the college graduates, the 760,000 people employed through the coal industry, or the millions of Americans who are seeing their energy prices soar.
Of course environmental challenges exist in every administration, but Mr. Obama needs to recognize that he must use this time to move our economy forward instead of halting it.
Gallup recently announced that Americans' confidence in the U.S. healthcare system is at its lowest point in over four years. This is hardly surprising when the middle class was promised lower costs but many have seen their health insurance premiums rise since the passage of Obamacare.
But what is the response in Washington? Use tax dollars to sell Obamacare to the American people in an all-out ad blitz. If the law were actually beneficial and lowered the cost of healthcare, the Washington elite would not need to enact a glitz-and-glamour promotion by celebrities like Beyoncé, Jay-Z, or professional athletes.
Now is time for real leadership. Middle-class Americans can't afford to let Washington play its own game while they struggle to find work, pay the bills, and plan for the future. The people inside the Washington bubble must listen to the plight of everyday people whom are most concerned about jobs and the economy.
Commonsense measures like expanding our energy production (rather than trying to pick winners and losers), helping young people achieve an affordable higher education, reducing the burden of regulations on businesses, and helping people get back to work, are great ways to get America moving in the right direction. The Washington bubble isn't soundproof. It's time for the elites to listen. It's time for Marge Simpson to chase down Washington. Americans are sick of saying "d'oh."
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