We Need a Bipartisan Dialogue, not Partisan Bickering, to Get the US on Track

These days the Republicans may be acting like whack jobs, but too many Democrats are behaving like wimps -- with grave consequences for our economic future.

It's very likely that Mr. "Tan, Rested and Ready," House Minority leader John Boehner, is behind the brouhaha over Congresspeople Charlie Rangel and Maxine Waters, who are charged with ethics violations, as part of the GOP strategy to reclaim the majority in November. This is ironic, given that Boehner was one of the engineers of the "K Street Project," which ensures not only that Republicans get jobs as lobbyists for companies over which they had oversight once they leave office, but that as legislators they will fight reform of these companies.

As former chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, Boehner drafted legislation preventing students from locking in low interest rates on college loans along with fighting for taxpayer subsidies of these interest rates (ironically enough). At one point he even bragged to an audience of bankers that "I have all of you in my two trusted hands."

There is no doubt that this level of corruption explains why financial services reform has been watered down to toothlessness along with explaining BP's lack of strategy to prevent and tackle the oil spill -- not to mention the lack of oversight that led to the West Virginia mining disaster that killed 29 people in April. It's a shame that many blue-collar workers identify with the GOP when the GOP has promulgated policies that have literally killed blue-collar workers.

The "coffee party" Democrats can choose to simply sit back, sip their lattes and smirk at the moral and intellectual failings of the Tea Party favorites, from Sarah Palin to Sharron (sic) Angle. But if Democrats don't get off of their collective butts they will not only be to blame if the Republicans re-take control of Congress, but if President Obama goes down in history as the 21st century's Jimmy Carter, a single-termer. And what's the deal with former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean essentially endorsing Newt Gingrich's Presidential candidacy?

What's tragic is that this misbehavior is occurring at a point in history when a civilized bipartisan dialogue is critical to restoring America's place as a world power AND creating economic security for American workers.

American economists have paid too little attention to the fact that over the last two decades, the addition of Brazil, Russia, India and China to the global marketplace has added about two billion people to the workforce, not only threatening U.S. factory jobs but white-collar jobs that can be outsourced to low-cost English speaking countries. Essentially policy wonks in both parties are in denial that "The World Is Flat."

The Republican Reaganomics trickle-down tax-cut strategy merely encourages more splurging at Wal-Mart, ensuring lifetime employment for Chinese factory workers. On the other hand, the stimulus tax-spend approach supported by Democrats may keep construction workers on the job fixing highways but will have little or no effect on college-educated engineers and doctors whose jobs have been outsourced.

Obama does understand that ramping up U.S. exports must be the major driver of the U.S. economy. It's no coincidence that unlike the Sick Men of Europe, Germany's economy is on a roll. Despite the accepted wisdom that you need to keep costs low to drive exports, three fourths of Germany's growth comes from exports and almost half of its gains are from emerging markets, according to a recent Newsweek article.

In the same fashion that President Obama created a bipartisan task force to tackle the looming deficits in Social Security and Medicare, he should create one to jumpstart America's economy, recognizing experts from both sides of the aisle, such as Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and Pat Choate, Ross Perot's running mate in 1996.

We're not only facing stubbornly high unemployment rates but the specter of the majority of Baby Boomers having to work until they are dead because they don't have enough in their 401(k) accounts -- NOT as a result of the slumping stock market but the fact that the typical measly employer contribution rate equaling 3% of pay is not sufficient to create an ample nest egg.

If the United Kingdom's political leadership can create a bipartisan coalition to resolve the country's economic stress, why can't the country that fought for freedom from their regime in 1776?