Thursday, October 05, 2006

Nice, Reasonable and Articulate Republicans exist

After my couples' Bible study tonight, I got talking with another guy there, Tyler. He works for a Congressmen from Kansas. He enjoys his job and we got talking about the midterms and what he is hearing (Dems win House, fall short in Senate). As one thing led to another, we got talking deeper politics and policy (I know, you are shocked!), specifically farm subsidies.

Tyler grew up on a farm and his family still farms. I figured he'd be for subsidies and keeping them at current levels. I've been on record as wanting to reduce them with the hopes of abolishing them.

I saw a train wreck coming and I wanted to avoid it, so I tried to change the subject. Tyler kept right on talking about subsidies and I was drawn in. Rather than arguing, we ended up agreeing for 90% of the discussion. He agreed that US subsidies are bad for developing countries, our poor and America in the long run. He agreed that America would be better off spending that money paying down the debt, reducing taxes or many other options.

I ended up agreeing that to drop subsidies quickly would destroy entire rural communities and displace thousands of people. I ended up agreeing that if America wants to be energy independent, we will need biofuels, so that means keeping farmers farming. I did agree that some developing nations wouldn't be able to take advantage of the lower trade barriers due to issues with good governance and poor education.

In fact, we agreed on a quite a lot more. If Tyler and I had to hash out a bill, I bet we could agree on something that would work for both sides. Tyler has a little power to marginally effect a bill and I'm completely powerless, so farm subsidies are safe for now.

Yet, this 40 minute conversation did restore my faith in bipartisanship. Republicans and Democrats aren't all that far apart. Maybe with a divided government in 2007-2008, we'll see more "Tyler and me" meetings by those that do have power and America can move forward together again.

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