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SPOTLIGHT
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Time to work

Published on -11/14/2012, 1:55 PM

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Now that we no longer need to argue over fault, bicker over who should lead or squabble over ideology, it's time to get to work. Although with the recent track record of performance, we are less than hopeful that work will be done in Washington.

The catchphrases from the campaigns of both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney had a lot of glitter, an air of optimism and biting shards of hope.

Now that we can drop the meaningless symbolism of phrases (uttered always as cheers rose, clenched fist shaking at the crowd) like "Let's rebuild America" and "Let's get America back on the path to prosperity," it's obvious there's been little progress by either the Democratically controlled White House and Senate or the GOP-governed House in recent years.

Let's take a quick snapshot, shall we?

In preparation for what critics call Taxmageddon, the wealthy are divesting assets to avoid a possible new 5 percent tax on capital gains -- that in addition to the expiration of Bush-era tax cuts that will see the capital gains tax rise from 15 percent to 20 percent. The new tax will be levied to help fund the Affordable Care Act.

It's not fantasy, although sci-fi fans probably already have read about a sale not so long ago in a mansion far, far away.

George Lucas sold his Lucasfilm franchise to Disney for $4 billion. Analysts speculate the timing of the sale spared Lucas paying hundreds of millions in taxes on the proceeds.

Rich folks didn't get rich by ignoring how and when to invest to maximize their gain -- quite the opposite. The selloff could have a nasty effect on the stock market because, while middle-class folks have their shares and mutual funds biding their time on Wall Street, it remains the wealthiest Americans who swing the market with a mood.

Of course, it will be the not-rich who will get soaked, as always. The "fiscal cliff" promises spending cuts the likes of which this nation has never seen. How much of that will be taken from valuable programs, the things that we actually, regardless of party, believe are good for American families, businesses and safety?

We remain a nation leashed to the Middle East by the pump hose, as the revolution of wind, solar and other alternative energies have yet to become reality. And fossil fuels have taken a new, disturbing turn as horizontal drilling, fracking, has become the quickest and easiest way to suck crude from the ground, damn the consequences.

Blame those greedy oil companies or blame that darned Obama and his anti-Big Oil regulations, it doesn't change the facts in front of you.

Maybe we are faring better in the realm of foreign relations?

David Petraeus, who once had a title in front of his name but lost that privilege, was the nation's top spy -- and thought it was a swell idea to bed his biographer. Pillow talk and spies don't mix, and Petraeus makes the term "top intelligence official" an oxymoron.

While we should be focused on actual military threats such as a looming Iran-Israel war or actual economic threats such as the devaluation of the dollar via Chinese currency manipulation, instead D.C. is a soap opera.

What to do?

Well, every two years, voters gather up for one important day. They choose from among their ranks the very best of themselves, the men and women who embody the values of their given geographic area and the rich cultural diversity that makes each place unique and uniquely American.

We send those very best to the nation's capital, where they discern and devise commonsense ways the government -- that intangible embodiment of our collective values and aspirations -- can solve problems, craft beneficial policy and use our strength as a nation and a people to climb even higher into the economic stratosphere and in the esteem of global peers.

Election Day was that day. In Ellis County, 35 percent of the registered voters didn't bother to show up. Our U.S. representative ran unopposed in both the general election and primary despite spending his first two years figuring out what Obama loved and hating it.

We have become a nation expert at casting blame, a nation with a finely honed ability to pick at the weaknesses of anyone we don't see in the mirror. The result is a nation at war with itself, facing an uncertain future. And until we can, at the very least, decide upon a common goal, that is where we shall remain.

Congress is back in session. Surprise, nothing is going to change for the better.

Editorial by Ron Fields

rfields@dailynews.net

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