I have known Art Loub from Manhattan for many years. Those of you who have ties to Kansas State University should remember Art as heading the KSU Foundation for many years, now retired from that position for over fifteen years I believe. We have been friends, not close for sure, but we certainly speak to each other as we frequently cross paths. Many people in this community know a couple things for sure about Art Loub: He loves to express his feelings with letters to the Manhattan Mercury and his political philosophy clearly is far right, particularly on any budget or tax issue or anything that looks Democratic.
Recently, on the editorial page of the Manhattan Mercury, this headline caught my attention: "Local Lawmakers Derelict as National Debt Skyrockets Out of Control." Immediately I assumed that my friend would be pushing for lawmakers to slash the federal budget, cutting back on everything but the defense budget. But that was not the case. Instead, what he was pushing for was to raise taxes on the very rich and big corporations that are making millions and paying little or no taxes. I don’t expect Art to change political parties, but a lot of Democrats would be very comfortable with that direction.
Maybe even more shocking to me were his ideas about Social Security. I assumed his policy direction would be cutting the program so it would stop contributing to the deficit. Again, I was wrong. My now closer friend suggested that the ceiling limit on being taxed for Social Security should be raised to a million dollars. I agree, but in this case I think both political parties in Washington need to hear this message.
Then, an even a bigger shock for me happened in less than 24 hours when the Chief Executive of the National Chamber of Commerce announced a major political shift to move their policy more toward the middle and develop a role larger than working solely with the very wealthy and huge corporations. He even talked about accepting the fact that there are Democrats they could work with to find common ground. “Now,” as another of my friends says, “if we could just get the State Chamber of Commerce off the far, far right way of thinking, we would be on our way to a better future.”
Maybe there is more hope than I often think. I’ve said to many folks recently that I worry about my grandchildren and their future. I’m still worried, but now I have a little more hope.