Shalom and Happy Hanukkah, Congressman Waxman.
Yehuda HaMakabi(Judas Maccabeus, or "Judah the Hammer") led the Jewish revolt against the Seleucid monarchy, under the rule of King Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who had no wisdom or insight into anything but his profane need for fame and gain. The Jewish people regained their temple, reinstated the holy customs of worship, and rejoiced to receive their homeland once more. The reinstated Jewish leaders had only one day's worth of oil, yet they were able to light the Menorah in the Temple for eight days.
Thus "Hanukkah" was born, and I do not care how you light the candles. "A Big miracle happened there", as represented by the four letters on all sides of the dreidl.
Just like the Jews who regained their homeland and their house of worship, the voters in the state of California want their state and their country back. They want an end to the tyranny from Washington (riddled with gridlock and dysfunction) and a resurrection of peace and prosperity at home and abroad. Congressman Waxman, it should not take a miracle to enlighten your colleagues and the voters not just about the problems facing this country, but to lead on real reforms and long-term solutions. It should not take a miracle to get our country's problems fixed, so I ask for the following eight things for this Hanukkah season:
1. A solution to our entitlement obligations which will honor what current recipients have already invested while permitting future retirees to choose the means for retrieving their payments. Stop treating the Ryan plan like a heathen proposition. If it's really so bad, then come up with something better, but unlike the menorah oil, the funding for our entitlements is dwindling fast without any replenishment. Any kind of voucher would expand choice for the 54 and under set, not bankrupt the elderly or throw Grandma off the cliff.
2. Comprehensive immigration reform: First, better border control. No fence please. Next, a diminution of the "white" welfare state with an emphasis on welfare-to-work and unemployment-to-work programs. The STEM Jobs Act would allow foreign nationals who have received advanced degrees in American universities to receive their green cards right away.
3. An extension of President Obama's "Race to the Top", but this time, instead of outlaying stimulus money for bits and pieces of education reform, implement a provision which will engage states to enact widespread public-private voucher programs in their respective states.
4. Get our armed forces out of Afghanistan. Our troops have fought this war long enough (Eleven years!), and the likelihood of a stable central Asian state has diminished considerably since President Obama offered to make the Afghan conflict the "good war". 2014 is not soon enough. The McLaughlin Group predicts a quicker withdrawal. Make it happen.
5. Get our homeless veterans a warm bed to sleep on. California columnist Thomas Elias has now gotten into the fray, demanding that you and your colleagues get our veterans off the street and into the Brentwood VA, where they belong. When the King of Persia wrote letters to the exiles in Jerusalem, they received full support and got busy rebuilding the Temple. What's your excuse?
6. About union power in California and the United States, start by signing Senator Rand Paul's (R-KY) "Right to Work" Petition. Since you have joined "No Labels", it's about time that you put your new allegiance to work. Everyone has the right to work, and if that means they do not want to join a union, then let them have the choice. The ILWU is bracing for another crippling strike a the Ports of LA and Long Beach in 2014. Amend the federal rules about collective bargaining and strike-threats. Why does one interest have the right to withhold trade for the entire country?
7. This fiscal cliff nonsense has got to stop. The voters do not deserve to be housed up against our will like the Israelites of Masada. Budget reform with a plan for less spending and more state power will allow the state of California to receive the entitlement funding while cutting the waste and fraud. The Daily News has claimed that you are an influential Congressman in California. Prove it by giving your state more freedom to spend its own money.
8. A few more things: Revise and amend the Clean Water Act. Why should homeowners have to tie up their resources in federal court for years just to build property om their own land? While you're at it, why not broker a leasing arrangement with private mail carriers so that the 5th Street Post Office in Santa Monica does not have to close down for good?
I know that you cannot wrap all of these gifts right away and put them under the Menorah, but at least make haste to move on them. I have lighted the first candle; when will you light the rest?