Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Inmates are Running the Asylum

Well ... our nation has avoided the "debt default" debacle that was created entirely by our members of Congress.  I suppose we should all share in a collective "sigh" of relief.  Admittedly, avoiding default on U.S. Treasury bond payments (those bonds being what is 'sold' in order to raise 'cash' that the federal government can then use to pay its bills) is a good thing.  A very good thing, in fact.  Credit markets froze-up fairly significantly as a result of the implosion of our nation's banking industry in 2007.  That would be a "blip on the radar" compared to what a default on U.S. Treasury bonds would have meant for this country.  And the world would feel its horrendous effects as well.  So ... it's a good thing, in theory, that we've avoided default.  Unfortunately, our collective relief essentially gives Congress a 'pass' on their considering how and/or why the debate over raising the debt ceiling took place in the first place. 

Be that as it may, Congress and the President have told us that it's time to "Move on."  Fine.  Let's move on.  The next step in this fairly ugly spectacle will come in September when Congress puts together its' "Super Committee," which is supposed to find another $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction.  Of course, the American people are clamoring, and rightfully so, for the government to get more involved on the issue of job creation.  But wait ... Congress just passed a law which cuts (assuming the "Super Committee" does its' job) trillions of dollars from the federal budget.  How exactly is the federal government going to do much of anything with regard to job creation?  They're not.  That's how. 

But why not?!  Because ... simply put ... they've managed to allow themselves to be boxed into a corner that they're not willing to work themselves (and the nation) out of.  About the only way the federal government can actually "create" jobs is to fund some significant research and development in a whole number of sectors, along with funding some real infrastructure repair, improvement and creation.  But the only way that the government will have the funds necessary to pay for such a plan, it would mean having to cut an equal amount of already-existing spending, or raising "revenues" (aka. taxes).  Or doing some of both.  That's all well and good.  But there is noone in Congress who is willing to put forth and champion a plan like that. 

If nothing else comes of this most recent demonstration of the political dysfunctionalism of the U.S. Congress, it is my fervent wish that the American people understand and appreciate that there were (and still are) some members of Congress (heedlessly prodded by special interest groups) who were perfectly willing to subject the American people to a horrendous economic calamity ... all for the purpose of partisan politics.  Dress it up any way you'd like, but the debate over raising the debt ceiling was a false debate from the moment it began.  And the fact that Congress allowed the American economy to be held hostage by this small segment of American politics is purely an abdication of every principle that a member of Congress should embrace and demonstrate. 

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