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Band-Aids and brinkmanship

I’d love to see some headlines reporting that Congress has been hard at work for months on a well-thought-out solution for the nation’s budget woes. I’d love to read stories about lengthy meetings where the best minds in Washington and the nation, elected and non-elected, get together to find the best possible solutions and make long-term plans for a solid recovery and a prosperous future. I’d love to see legislation thoughtfully written, with careful consideration of all its ramifications, both good and bad.

bandaid-piggybank Instead, “what we have here is a failure to communicate.” An intentional failure to communicate. For two years we’ve watched self-absorbed politicians, concerned only with themselves and their respective parties, castigate the other side for its obfuscation, obstructionism, and inaction.

Now, finally, in the last weeks of the last month of a lame duck session of Congress, the principals are talking, sort of, about a quick fix, a Band-Aid, for massive budget woes that have been years in the making.

It makes one’s blood freeze. Or boil. They can’t possibly, properly, address something as complex as the national budget in a couple of quick meetings sandwiched between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Whatever legislation results can’t help but be ill-conceived and poorly considered, with little thought to its possible long-term impact and unforeseen consequences — which, when they finally become apparent, will in turn be addressed in the last weeks of the last month of some session of Congress and “fixed” with a hastily conjured Band-Aid.

And people wonder why things are in such a mess.

6 Comments »

  1. It is common, I think, to blame both sides in Congress’ gridlock, but I submit that the Democrats are much, much less to blame than the Republicans. President Obama has repeatedly asserted that he is willing to compromise and he nearly had an agreement on a grand bargain summer before last, including entitlement reform, but the deal was nixed by the Tea party. Only one party has had members surrender their autonomy by signing pledges. Only one party has held the nation’s financial reliability hostage to an arbitrary debt limit that applies only to spending-legislation already passed. Only one party stubbornly keeps repeating a mantra that is false on its face, that restoring taxes on the richest 2% will “kill jobs”.

    Allow me to attach a reply made on another blog to a commenter who insisted that,

    “. . . 75% of all income (including capital gains) is paid by 10% of taxpayers, right? Close to all federal revenues are are paid by only a relatively small number of tax payers.”

    That is part of the same mantra repeated by Mitt Romney and his cohorts during the campaign. Also, the commenter wanted to know how we could pay for all the unreasonable demands of the 75%. Here is how I replied:

    Why is this issue raised again? It appears that the 47% have now grown to 75% – interesting. Once again the clear implication is that the lower income stratum is being discounted as unproductive leeches on society – I simply don’t know what other interpretation to put on this.

    OK, let’s just imagine a society without that 75%. What would be missing? It would be most of:

    Electrical linemen to restore electricity after storms.
    Firemen to put out fires.
    Police to respond to crime scenes.
    Auto workers to make cars.
    Coal workers to dig coal.
    Cable TV installers and utility workers.
    Waitresses, waiters and cooks to supply meals.
    Butchers and meat-processing people to do the slaughtering.
    Clerks to stock shelves and check you out at Walmart and other stores.
    Nurses to tend your sickness, draw your blood and empty your bedpan.
    Maids to make up your motel bed.
    Masons to lay bricks on new houses.
    Truck drivers who deliver virtually everything we buy.
    Roofers, dry-wallers and carpenters too.
    Plumbers to respond to your leaks and cracked pipes.
    Enlisted soldiers and sailors on deployment.
    Call center people to respond to our consumer complaints.

    Never mind that these people constitute the bulk of the market for most industries and pay sales taxes, payroll taxes, property taxes, gasoline taxes, cigarette taxes, license taxes, and gasoline taxes. Oh, and they also buy a lot of lottery tickets, one of the most regressive of all tax systems.

    Man, what a bunch of leeches. Oink, oink.

    Oh, and how to pay for these leeches on society? Start with complete reform of the healthcare system by converting to a public healthcare system similar to the VA’s, pare down the bloated TSA bureaucracy, reform the DOD by eliminating unnecessary Cold War mechanisms, and finally, eliminate the absurd tax code and replace it with something simple and progressive. There will then, I predict, be money left over.

    The problem is in Congress, but its not on both sided, it’s mainly on one side.

    • Well, it takes two to tango. You can’t play chicken with yourself. If there were only one party, or no parties, in Washington, we wouldn’t have all the game-playing. We might still have delays and excuses, but there wouldn’t be anyone else to blame.

      I agree with you that the GOP bears more of the blame for the current logjam, but I blame both parties for not finding a way to work together as adults — not petulant children or reckless teens. I blame both sides for not conducting the nation’s business in a thoughtful, cooperative, timely manner. I blame both sides for putting politics and self-aggrandizement above doing the job they were elected to do. And I blame both sides for doing it session after session, year after year, presidency after presidency.

  2. I’m prepping my kids wagon for a ride down the fiscal cliff. WHEEEE! WUMP! Oh, I’m sorry, was that the economy I just rolled over? Don’t worry, it’ll catch up, and I’ll be at the bottom waiting for it.

    I just hope voters remember this crap during the next congressional election.

    • They won’t. You know they won’t. Or at least they won’t remember that their candidates, their representatives, had anything to do with it. It was all those other guys.

      (Hope you have shocks on that wagon.)

"Nothing is more dangerous than ignorance and intolerance armed with power." ~ Voltaire

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