Jewish World Review July 29, 2011 / 27 Tamuz, 5771
A debt solution: Throw the rascals out, all of them
By Dan K. Thomasson
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | From Capitol Hill to the White House this country's government is more dysfunctional than at any time since the Civil War. If you agree with that statement, you are among a solid majority of Americans who polls show are dismayed by the inability of those they elected to cope with major issues no matter how threatening they are to the economy.
While there is an expectation among veteran Washington observers that the current debt crisis will be met once again with a temporary solution, there is little doubt that the debt crisis can be resolved for the long term without some drastic action from the electorate -- like voting against every incumbent for Congress and the president in next year's election.
That, of course, isn't going to happen. But in a perfect world a resounding message like that should be sent to those officials who see their only goal as maintaining their office. The current president doesn't seem to be able to lead and the current Congress is an ideological nightmare. The so-called tea party members elected last year have brought little but more disruption to the table and believe that their mission is to turn back the clock to another century.
The image this country is presenting to the rest of the world is simple: fiscal irresponsibility perpetuated by nitwits on both sides of the political aisle. Would you invest in such a nation? Well, many other nations and untold millions of Americans have and now face the trauma of a default. Sure, there is enough money to pay the interest on those loans for a time, but a prolonged failure to raise the debt limit would mean missed Social Security payments and the loss of basic services for many. That's why old timers familiar with the way the U.S. government works, or doesn't work, still believe some solution will be reached before the deadline.
Culprits are everywhere in this drama. House Speaker John Boehner can't control the rabble and seems almost to be held hostage by the new Republican members. An upstart GOP majority leader from Virginia, Eric Cantor, is pulling most of the strings in his party clearly looking for the next step up. His juvenile behavior in walking out on the president every whipstitch is not only tiresome but also an exercise in self-promotion. Democrats in the Senate led by Harry Reid of Nevada aren't much better.
Down at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Barack Obama waited far too long to act like a leader, spending much of his time hatching expensive, clearly unaffordable new plans like health care reform and leaving it up to someone else to sir the porridge. Every time things went wrong, he blamed his predecessor for the mess, failing to understand that his own name is indelibly stamped on this crisis and anything else that happens between now and the next election. That includes a slow growth economy and joblessness that doesn't want to budge.
Is he vulnerable? You bet he is, and there are unbiased experts who can point out just how. If the election were held today, he would lose those states that he won that normally were controlled by the Republican candidate. The old adage about not being able to beat someone with no one just may not hold true, especially if the unemployment rate doesn't decline and growth accelerate.
Inside the Washington Beltway it is not difficult for one to believe he is in a mad house with every day's headlines bringing new examples of bellicosity that shreds the art of compromise as never before. Is it 1861 or 2011? Don't ask your congressman. The chances are that he doesn't know. It might be imagined that some small accommodations among the warring political factions could stave off the wolves at the door of this democracy, that some act of statesmanship might prevail at least until a new election can restore some sanity. But even that seems unlikely.
Divided government once seemed more desirable in some respects than a solid majority. But is it? That is possible if both halves of the split can on occasion come together rationally. That hasn't been the case here. Consider throwing the rascals out -- all of them.
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