Joseph Avenue Christmas is the story of one man's journey to the true meaning of Christmas. Not just the birth of the babe, but the salvation of the soul. Set on the wintry streets of Rochester, NY it is a visit to the heart of that city and the hearts of some of its best and bravest people. From their good example, and the simple lessons of their own lives and faith, a troubled man finds on a dark Christmas Eve an escape from an increasingly failed life.
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Let’s make a deal.
If Obama is serious about getting stuff done, the Republicans should lead out with offers of concessions.
And if he isn’t serious, they should call his bluff.
He campaigned without laying out a plan for his second term, he has offered no leadership toward resolving the fiscal cliff and sequestration, so we might as well do it.
The election is past, we didn’t win, let’s go forward. Let’s take the lead in offering solutions. Not talking points, not traps, not rhetoric, honest-to-goodness solutions.
And see what he does.
For example, offer to raise taxes.
Seriously. Stand up in front of the cameras and offer to agree to one dollar of new taxes for every 10 dollars of spending cuts. Democrats have mouthed platitudes about a balanced approach to the deficit, let’s offer them one.
Start at a 10-to-1 ratio and be willing to barter down to a 5-to-1 ratio.
We want to cut the deficit, they want to raise taxes, let’s find a way to make us both happy while also actually solving a problem.
Further, offer a specific reshuffling of the tax code. Don’t be vague, don’t speak in generalities, offer a lower, flatter rate and wipe away all the exemptions, credits and deductions.
Maybe leave the mortgage tax exemption, but not much else.
Lay that before the public, figure out how much it will reduce the deficit, and wait for the Democrats to respond.
Then move on to immigration.
Offer to allow all illegal aliens in the country who have been here five or more years and have not been on welfare or arrested to apply for a green card and the normal process to citizenship. Those who have been arrested or engaged in ID theft or any other inappropriate activity must be deported.
Those who have been on welfare get a three-year pass. If they stay off welfare for three years, they can stay another two. At the end of those two, if they have five years welfare free, they can apply for a green card and eventual citizenship.
If they don’t pass the welfare and good conduct standards, they get deported.
If an illegal alien enlists in the United States military, at the end of two years of honorable service – no matter how long their enlistment – that person should be allowed to become a citizen.
Republicans should put that on the table.
Throw open the door. Keep the good and throw away the bad.
And, as part of the deal, insist that the southern border by truly sealed. No more illegals, no more illegal drugs. Put the hammer down.
Republicans should take the lead on this.
Sure, it’s an amnesty, but it’s also a solution.
And we’ve all got to get into the solution business.
Republicans should also wade into welfare reform – not just by taking away, but by occasionally giving more.
For example, welfare recipients who go to work should not lose their welfare. At least not all of it, and not all at once. If you go to work, we shouldn’t yank everything. Right now, the occasional welfare recipient who tries to get ahead gets penalized. It’s financially better for many of these people to stay on welfare than to go out and get work.
Leave them Medicaid and rent assistance and babysitting and various other programs. Taper off slowly, as they get their feet under them and become accustomed to being self-reliant.
Don’t punish them or reduce their check if they save their money and buy a car or acquire other assets. Encourage thrift by not punishing it.
I hate welfare, but paying someone a little bit of welfare is better than paying them a lot of welfare.
Also, if somebody is out of work, and they honestly are working people, make it possible for them to get welfare without selling their home or liquidating their assets. If it’s temporary assistance, let’s let it be temporary assistance for working people clobbered by the recession. Let’s just help them along a little bit until they get back on their feet.
Sure, that’s a concession. Sure, it’s a position change.
But it’s also a worthwhile thing to do.
In the proposal, we also expand work requirements for welfare recipients, to begin to reforge the connection between work and money.
These are just a few ideas. They would require the Republican Party to zig when people expect it to zag.
But it’s smart.
It puts the president on the defensive.
It calls his bluff.
It extends the hand of friendship and cooperation across the aisle.
And if he doesn’t grab hold and shake, he will be the one who looks bad. He will be the one who is shown to be a hypocrite.
But until then, we should take him at his word. We should give him the benefit of the doubt.
We should put forth proposals that include concessions from us, in hopes of getting concessions from him.
It’s good politics, and it’s good governing.
It’s what America needs.
It’s called leadership, and the Republicans should seize the initiative.
Let’s make a deal.