Finding your place in polarized country
The politics of this diverse nation are divided many different ways. Ideological territory is more circular than linear, but choices voters must make often come down to right vs. left. After watching two intense political conventions, we thought it would be fun to take a break from serious commentary and offer readers a quiz we devised to find out where they are. Labels are misleading because you can frame an issue to make any position look foolish. With that warning, we invite you to get out a pen and circle the best answer and then perhaps reflect on the facile ways various political interests oversimplify the serious problems facing our nation. When did the nation stop investing in its children and start borrowing from them?1. You have to blame it on Jimmy Carter. 2. A few years ago, when Barack Obama exploded the deficit. 3. When George W. Bush cut taxes and fought two wars without paying for them. 4. It was Ronald Reagan's idea, and he got away with it. The money left over after paying taxes is: 1. Never enough. 2. What feeds my family. 3. An expense in the tax code. Health care is: 1. A personal and family responsibility. 2. A social need that merits some public subsidy. 3. A personal right, so give it to me free. At what point was the link broken between faster economic growth and higher family incomes? 1. It hasn't been broken. Nothing is hurting family incomes, except bad personal choices and Obama. 2. In the mid 1970s, when economic output per capita began rising faster than family incomes. 3. Don't bother me with numbers. It's Bush's fault, but I don't know which Bush. 4. Forever. It's another capitalist plot. The Federal Reserve is: 1. Dangerously debauching the currency. Ben Bernanke should be spanked. 2. Saving the nation from another depression. Give Ben a medal. 3. Not doing enough to get the economy moving. Give Ben a kick in the pants. 4. Just a tool to transfer wealth from the poor to the rich. The national debt is: 1. So high it makes me sick. 2. Temporarily high by necessity. I can live with it. 3. A problem rich taxpayers must be forced to fix. 4. Nothing to worry about. Money is theoretical. The foreclosure crisis was caused by: 1. Liberals who forced banks to give mortgages to people who couldn't repay the debts. 2. Tricky bankers who inflated the housing bubble by enticing people to borrow too much. 3. A lack of regulations that let bankers go nuts. 4. The wealthy one percent who engineered the crash to confiscate our property. Illegal immigrants: 1. Are affordable employees who should never be allowed to vote. 2. A threat to overwhelm and weaken the welfare system. 3. Should be called undocumented, not illegal. 4. Will be on our side when the revolution begins. Mitt Romney certainly has: 1. A lot to learn from Paul Ryan. 2. Useful business experience. 3. A pretty good health plan in Massachusetts. 4. Way too much money in offshore banks. Clint Eastwood at the Republican National Convention: 1. Nailed it and made my day. 2. Left me bewildered. 3 Was bone-headed when not obtuse. 4. I didn't hear him. I was in the street protesting. If your total is 11 to 17, you're on the right. From 18 to 23 and you're in the middle. A score of 24 to 29 puts you on the left. If you score 30 or higher, well, let's just say we don't trust anyone over 30.
The Daystarter: Sunny and dry Memorial Day; meet the caretaker who looks after the fallen; uncertainty over the education budget; why did St. Pete close the Albert Whitted sewage treatment plant?