Some might call us naive, but we are going to proceed into February with optimism that Democrats and Republicans are going to work together on immigration reform and infrastructure improvements.
We badly need both.
We do not agree with all the president’s proposals from his State of the Union address Tuesday. But we see potential for action, with compromise, on these two issues.
We can have border security and a common-sense policy that doesn’t punish young immigrants, who contribute to society as adults, for their parents’ illegal actions.
We don’t necessarily object to a merit system, rather than a lottery system, for legal immigration, but we must consider our workforce needs as we implement such a system.
With the recession still a fresh memory, politicians like to talk about job creation. At full employment – or close – what we need is people to fill the available jobs. In an aging state like Maine, this likely means immigration, and immigration of people willing to take working-class jobs.
We need CNAs to serve our aging population. We need construction workers to rebuild our infrastructure. We need hotel and restaurant workers, so our tourism industry can continue to thrive.
One subject we were disappointed (though not surprised) to hear nothing about is the national debt – now $20.49 trillion and still growing.
We heard talk about defense spending and infrastructure spending and tax cuts, all with their benefits but all tremendously expensive, and not one word about the national debt or any thought of how to balance the budget.
Neither Democrats nor Republicans seem to have even the slightest interest in doing anything other than leaving the crippling weight of this debt, which now exceeds the nation’s gross domestic product, for their children and grandchildren.
It is shameful, and both parties bear the blame for its creation, a product of their complete lack of self-control when it comes to spending.
So we are not so optimistic on this last point. But we do see cause for hope, if not celebration just yet, on other issues plaguing our country.