Restore fairness for the middle class
Saturday, June 23, 2012
This column was originally published in the Kansas City Star
If there's one Missouri value I bring to the Senate, it's independence. It's never mattered if I'm pressured by the right or the left, the president or the mailman — I take my cues from Missouri. That means tackling tough issues with a heavy dose of common sense. And it's just common sense that we fight to ensure economic opportunity and fairness for Missouri families and businesses.
This work hasn't made me the most popular senator with the lobbyists, but I've never shied away from taking them head on because providing a level playing field for middle class families is a basic premise on which our country was built.
Social Security and Medicare have been a critical safety net for one million Missouri seniors, like my mom. These promises that we made to our parents need to be protected and strengthened, not privatized and subjected to Wall Street's mercy.
We're still recovering from Wall Street's recklessness and I can't agree with those who, in their rush to the far right, advocate privatizing both Social Security and Medicare. Our seniors need and deserve peace of mind, not a future of crashing markets or arm wrestling private insurance companies over paying their medical bills.
As part of our work to build opportunities for the next generation, we need to protect our kids' access to affordable student loans. There are proposals supported by others to eliminate federal student loans altogether, which means that kids from families that don't have lots of money will never qualify for private loans. Do we really want a country where only wealthy families can send their kids to college?
While we have challenges ahead, I know we can outeducate, outinnovate and invest in our infrastructure to rebuild a strong, vibrant economy. We can cut spending, stop unreasonable regulations, and make our tax system fairer to help bring down our debt.
Most of all we can get back to the table of compromise and quit with the political games played on both ends of the political spectrum. I believe compromise is cool, and it is compromise that has always been the glue in this grand and glorious democracy.
I'm convinced that we can forge compromises, and stand up to extreme special interests as we build opportunities for our kids and grandkids. Serving as Missouri's senator has been one of the greatest honors of my life. I haven't let extreme views or special interests come between me and Missouri. For more than five years, I've fought as hard as I know how for Missouri's families and businesses—with strong independence and unbending commitment to common sense.