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Election won’t erase nation’s problems

Whoever wins this current election, the problems faced by our nation remain the same. If Republicans retain control of both houses of Congress, these will continue to be their responsibility alone. If, as seems probable, the Democrats win either the House or Senate or perhaps both, they will share in any blame or praise.
The list of what needs to be addressed is long and in the area of foreign affairs particularly daunting. First and foremost, we must exit Iraq, despite the pain and difficulty this will cause. The President must be persuaded by thinking persons from both parties that it is over. This will not be easy, but it must be done.
On the question of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and the politics of confrontation, our long-term efforts to find a successful and non-military way to engage that difficult nation must continue. Remember neither Bill Clinton’s policy of engagement nor George W. Bush’s policy of multi-party talks worked. This is another hard one.
In Afghanistan, we need to find ways to increase both our military and developmental presence. This country seems to have become a long-term commitment, but it is a necessary one.
As for Iran, perhaps we need to consider trying something Americans by our nature are not very good at ‘ watchful waiting. If anyone else has another approach to the situation, let’s discuss it.
On the domestic front, the President’s tax-cutting polices have worked well for the top third of the nation. Unfortunately, this leaves out 200 million of our fellow citizens. New economic programs need to be fashioned aimed at the average Joe rather than his wealthy cousin.
My generation ‘ that’s the older one ‘ needs to have some changes made in the new Medicare drug benefit. First and foremost, the federal government needs to be permitted to negotiate prices with the drug makers. Secondly, there is a need to change the doughnut hole. That’s the $2,500 recipients are supposed to come up with after their drug costs reach a certain level and before Medicare pays another cent in benefits. It’s complicated, unfair and ineffective.
Lastly, there is the current immigration fight. I have no clear idea of how to balance legal and illegal immigration, but I do know that both sides need to stop screaming and everyone needs to begin a thoughtful search for a solution. Perhaps this is too much to expect from Congress. There are a number of other issues on the national table, but the ones I have mentioned are enough to keep government officials ‘ both elected and appointed ‘ up late at night, assuming they have the will and wit to get down to real business.