USA TODAY ran an editorial on the gridlock in Washington. It began with this.
Americans don’t ask much from their Congress. They want it to stay out of their lives, not mess things up and, once in while, solve a problem or two.
I see. They do not ask much. The Federal Register publishes 80,000 pages a year of fine-print regulations. The federal government has run up a $16.7 trillion debt, and says it needs more to avoid a shutdown. It spends 20% of the nation’s GDP every year, and it keeps that percentage artificially low by counting federal spending in the denominator — assuming that federal spending adds to production rather than subtracting from production. Then there are the federal government’s unfunded liabilities, which now are over $200 trillion, present value. This is the off-budget federal debt: Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Off-budget debt is book-cooking on a scale unimaginable by the voters, which is why Congress keeps it off-budget.
The USA Today article then laments: “What they are getting during the debt-ceiling crisis and government shutdown is a Congress — or, to be more precise, a truculent House of Representatives — that is doing the exact opposite.”
The debate over the debt ceiling is a “foolish game of chicken being waged Tuesday on Capitol Hill.” It is foolish to imagine that the Congress should not add another $1 trillion to the on-budget debt.
Having started the crisis in a doomed bid to kill Obamacare, hard-line House Republicans scoffed at a bipartisan deal in the Senate designed to reopen the government and stave off a market-roiling default.
There was no attempt to kill ObamaCare. There was merely a demand that it be delayed for a year — something that Obama has already allowed with respect to small-business implementation.
More destructively, they pushed new limits on the Treasury secretary’s ability to use extraordinary measures to avoid default the next time a new deadline is reached, which would shut down a safety valve against Congress’ own irresponsibility.
This would have ended the Treasury’s book-cooking of the official figure for the federal debt — an exercise in public deception. The Democrats would not accept that!
The Senate’s kick-the-can-down-the-road plan — reopening the government until mid-January, extending the borrowing limit until early February and beginning broad budget talks — at least has the virtue of being better than nothing. But Senate Democrats, apparently irresistibly tempted to get a share of the blame, heaped on a new condition.
They granted a political handout to organized labor in the Senate deal, agreeing to delay a $63-a-head Obamacare tax that unions have been complaining about. This would drive up prices on the exchanges Democrats supported and put Obamacare on the political operating table, where Democrats insisted the health law shouldn’t be.
So, the talks are stalled.
Reason may yet prevail. As before, the best way out of this mess is to reopen the government, raise the debt ceiling and leave all the other issues — sequestration, Obamacare, entitlement reform, tax simplification — to the regular legislative process.
The phrase “regular legislative process” means “kick the can.”
We are warned: “When the U.S. government can’t act responsibly in the face of a common crisis, there is a great deal to be worried about.” In short, it’s federal debt forever. That’s the solution to the crisis. It’s not the crisis itself.
There are a lot of 'cans' in DC that need to be kicked. But 'we, the people' keep reelecting them.
I vote for "None of the Above" – see Brewster's Millions
We used cans for target practice down here in Texas…
Any Federal spending that buys a vote from any organization or gives a tax break thereto, must be considered a bribe and therefore must be prohibited. Hmm…that would eliminate all Federal Spending!
is that the soda cans and beer cans?
or the other kind?
Try this solution….
Name a problem that this nation is, or has, suffered through and I can show you incompetent(at best) or(more likely) CORRUPT politicians that directly caused the problem.
The technology exists to KEEP THEM HOME at 'telecommute' with all other representatives and senator.
That way, the People they are supposed to be representing can keep an eye on them every day.
Sit in their outer offices and see who goes in, how often, and who they play golf with.
Mini-theaters where the People can watch and listen to all the committee meetings and dealings with other congress critters in every local office with "Public Access channels" that carry both senate and house committee 'meetings'.
Those Republicans that stood up and tried to stop the insane governmental spending were right. But it is hard for any politician to stand in the face of the negative publicity pumped out by the liberal press. They do want to be re-elected. See my blog at http://cranky-conservative.blogspot.com
I know, Gary. I read the same, amplified, in the Portland Oregonian every day at work. It's an incredible through-the-looking-glass take on events. Article after article details how terrible the shutdown is, and how those nasty Republicans and Tea Baggers want to destroy the country.
Whoa! So "we, the people" keep electing them (whoever them are). I sure hope that goes for both so-called Democrats AND Republicans, who are just the flip-side of the same coin. Surely, all the TRUE conservatives and Republicans stood with the TRUE libertarians and supported Ron Paul or voted for Gary Johnson in the last election, right? I did, and will do so again.
Or were those conservatives and Republicans convorting with the clueless Tea Party, because they just couldn't get enough of that good ol' perpetual WAR abroad (foreign aid, military intervention, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria) and good ol' perpetual FEAR at home (drug war, surveillance)?
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: What an irreversible mess we're in. Checks and balances have been destroyed. The congress has voted away its responsibility in order to buy votes and given away its rule-making authority to a power-hungry executive branch. The sheeple demand an all-powerful king/tyrant instead of a weak presidential administrator. And the supreme court has paved the way to tax and regulate every action and transaction. Yes, what an irreversible mess we're in.
Welcome to Amerika USSA.
There was a time, in its infancy, when USA Today was NOT part of the Liberal Media, but when a nation gets dumbed down in order to make the citizenry compliant, is ANY segment of the population immune to D-U-M-B-T-H ?
The government is a wasteful, greedy pig.
Thank you, Gary, for some words of sanity in this whole bizarre caper.
Our erstwhile leaders – while they are playing their game of kick-the-can – seem to be competing to see who can be the most divorced from reality.
ln a game in which not even children can win.
YES! You are correct. Less time onThe Hill and more time at home would help things a lot.
I have ofyen mental health is contagious – being away from that odd eeird world and back among the people who elected them might clear yhese folks heads.
Typos mean I’m *really* agreeing with you.