November 23, 2011Does anyone out there have the slightest doubt as to why the "Occupy Movement" or the "Tea Party" movement has occurred and is growing? Anyone?
How does the view from under the truck seem to you? It's starting to get crowded under here but at least it is not an unfamiliar place. Or we are used to it perhaps.
What the heck am I talking about? OK, since you asked, what I am talking about is the inexcusable failure of six elected Republican and six elected Democratic Congress-people to work out a bi-partisan deficit reduction plan - the failure of the so-called "Super Committee."
If these people were in the private sector they all would be looking for work tomorrow. But that would be a challenge because no one would hire them.
And why, one may ask, were they not able to come to an agreement and a plan to reduce the deficit and help the country - help you and me? That should be rather obvious.
Now that they have failed to reach an agreement, the "automatic spending cuts" will kick in - supposedly (about $1 trillion in automatic spending cuts in military and domestic government programs beginning in 2013) - which is conveniently after national elections.
That means that none of the Republicans and none of the Democrats on the committee can be blamed for their decision for the simple reason they didn't make one!
No one was willing to compromise enough to enable the "Super Committee" to agree on a plan. No one was willing to meet in the middle. And why were they not willing to make some unpopular decisions that would enable a proactive budget deal? Because it was safer to do nothing and throw you and throw me - you guessed it - under the truck. Again.
Of course both sides are blaming the other for the failure of the Super Committee - thus confirming that the exercise was never about actually reaching an agreement. Instead was a series of posturing with the goal of creating an outcome that could be used as a political weapon against the other side.
But we knew that when the Republican negotiators stood shoulder to shoulder and said they would vote as a bloc or not at all.
To say this whole charade has been a betrayal of every trust afforded to the political system by the public would be a colossal understatement.
I believe the politicians are making a huge mistake. The public's tolerance of incompetence and a congress that cannot function in a bi-partisan manner at some point will outweigh voter partisan affinity. Congress' "burn-rate" of ethical, moral, and legislative capital is clearly out of control.
Congress seems no longer to be a place where the will of anyone but the elected officials is in play. You and I no longer seem to be part of the program. It seems no longer to be the place where timely, effective decisions are made.
It no longer seems to be a place of competency or functionality. While many would argue that it has never been a place of honor or integrity, it seems to have evolved into a closed organization - the inside the Beltway mentality - where those concepts have been replaced by rabid party partisanship.
And the saddest part of all this is that by not un-electing these clowns, we are enabling them to continue to behave like this.
You expect the members of Congress to vote the party line most of the time on the major issues. But this has been raised to a level of doctrinal orthodoxy rarely found outside a soviet politburo and our system essentially no longer works.
That inherently means that they no longer vote on the merit of a bill. Even if it is a compromise bill that is best for you and is best for me.
Instead, they will vote according to the strict code of party orthodoxy. And it is a carrot and a stick. Many are rabid "I am purer than thou" who guard their "record" with care. Those who "treat with the enemy" are made pariah in their own party.
You and I are no longer relevant to their vote. They would rather make the "right" party decision than the decision that is best for you and me. Result: stalemate.
If you are fed up with a Congress that cannot act, a Congress that only deals with issues by not dealing with them, then you need to let the elected officials know.
You can do that the way the Occupy Wall Street folks do and get out in the street. Or you can do it the way the Tea Party does by bombarding elected officials with e-mails. I think the Tea Party is more effective because elected officials know it's their name at the top of the message, and it a voter's name at the bottom.
But either way, the message out to be the same: I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore.
POST THIS TO YOUR FACEBOOK IF YOU HAVE HAD IT WITH THIS DO-NOTHING CONGRESS. EMAIL IT TO YOUR PEOPLE. AND CONTACT OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS AND TELL THEM TO CLEAN UP THEIR ACT.
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