Wednesday, November 06, 2013

The Fiscal Mess in Washington

It’s been a while since I last wrote a column here.  My current educational endeavors leave precious little time for much more.  Also, I have resisted the urge to add to the chorus of left versus right, liberal versus conservative rhetoric that now constantly pollutes many news outlets.  But now, like so many other Americans, I have just about had enough!

Washington DC is broken folks.  If we can’t agree on anything else, can we at least agree on that it is difficult to get much done when our political leaders insist on making their disagreements personal?  Mr. Obama and Congress constantly blame each other for their inability to get anything meaningful done.  There is absolutely no trust between Democrats and Republicans and no sign that the most extreme elements of both parties will be giving up the reins of power in their respective parties anytime soon.

Now the most recent “deal” to reopen the government (a misnomer since only about 14% of the government was actually “shut down”) is nothing more than another kick-the-can-down-the-road deal that accomplished essentially nothing.  Yet another committee has been formed to work on some sort of budget deal.  I don’t have much hope that this committee will find much more success than the last one.  This nonsense has to stop!

The director of the White House‘s National Economic Council, Gene Sperling, said recently in Washington DC jargon that entitlement cuts were in the cards.  Democrats are going to have to accept that.  Republicans are going to have to accept tax increases.  No one knows exactly what that looks like yet and neither party is going to like the compromises that they must make.  They don’t have to like it to do their jobs and do what is necessary to get our government working properly again.   

Will Democrats and Republicans come together and actually go to work for the American people?  Will they find they find the resolve to make sensible cuts to spending that must be made?  Will they find the backbone to stand up and increase taxes in the face of certain groups who oppose any such moves no matter what?  It is difficult to be optimistic given the track record of Washington DC in recent years.

Out here in the pews, we don’t see principled positions passionately articulated by committed public servants.  We see obnoxious self-serving career politicians campaigning on the fact that they will not compromise.  They are not arguing about some tenant of the faith that is simply not open to compromise.  They are arguing about what to do about the fiscal mess this country is in.  This is not a new problem and they now have over 17 trillion reasons to come together and do something about it!

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