Opinion: After Latest Temper Tantrum, Congress Needs Stronger Parents

Monday, July 11, 2011 - 09:35 AM

Talks between congressional leaders and the White House still haven't resulted in a compromise plan to avoid hitting the debt ceiling, and probably falling back into recession. Something struck me while reading a post on Teagan Goddard's Political Wire.

After talking about how negotiations between the White House and congressional leaders had broken down, Goddard commented that it wasn't so much surprising that the talks broke down, but more that so many thought a significant compromise deal "was even possible".

How sad is it that the people the American people have sent to represent us in Congress are so out of touch with reality that they can't even come together to make big compromises when faced with big issues?

It's as if the two major parties are teenagers, in a tussle with each other over who's turn it is to do some chore. These kids have become so unruly that the American people (parent A) just plain doesn't know what to do with them anymore, and begins to grow farther and farther apart (more people each year break with them and go independent).

President Obama (parent B) just doesn't want to get involved, like a typical workaholic parent, and by the time he notices the problem isn't being resolved, it's long past the time when the issue could have been fixed easier (like six months ago when it wasn't election season, and there was bipartisan momentum behind the Fiscal Commission's recommendations).

Problem is... this chore is averting fiscal catastrophe. President Obama appears to have failed at pushing for a bigger $4 trillion deal, which had a lot in common with the Fiscal Commission's report. Had be pushed for it during the lame duck session, it would have likely passed, or at least had a much better chance that now.

But the Devil is in the details, and Obama made a devilish move - ensuring the Fiscal Commission's recommendations would not make it to the floor for debate by requiring far more than a supermajority of the commission members support for their recommendations to be sent to the House for debate.

Given how one of the spoiled brats involved in this fight has learned that it can get what it wants by storming around and otherwise not getting along, the Republicans have upped their ante with being the party of "no."

They want everything their way, or they're going to stomp back to their room. No new revenues, or they'll just let the country default, go back into recession, and then try to convince people back home that it was somehow everyone else's fault but them, even though they're just as responsible for getting our country into this fiscal hole as the Democrats are.

Spoiled brat B happens to be closer to parent B, enabling Obama to twist their arms enough to seem to fall in line. This child apparently is failing in mathematics class though, having come up with all sorts of voodoo math to explain why they shouldn't have to bend with their sibling.

Many on this side actually proclaim that social welfare spending isn't the problem, even though every projection shows entitlement spending as, by far, the number one source of future deficits. This largely demographic driven fiscal tidal wave can only be ignored by those who's ideological blinders are so thick that they can't see more than a couple years ahead of themselves.

Just like the most obnoxious of children have that voice in the back of their heads telling them that they really should listen to mom and dad, each party has a small group of commonsensical members that have been pushing for a compromise on this for a long time now.

Lets hope the Republican adolescents listen to that voice, in this case the American people who overwhelmingly say they want compromise on this issue, and come to a deal similar to the President's offer.

Solomon Kleinsmith is a nonprofit worker, serial social entrepreneur and strident centrist independent blogger from Omaha, Nebraska. His website, Rise of the Center, is the fastest growing blog targeting centrist independents and moderates.


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Comments [2]

Jaysee from N.NJ

"Millionaire taxes" which the Pubs don't want to cut are taxes on INCOME made that year (not on how much net worth they have)...

Cutting govt. expenditures will lead to immense LAYOFFS, meaning those people will have NO INCOME and will p-ay no taxes and eventually will receive funds from govt. for unemployment, welfare, non-pay emergency rooms, etc. -- of course, this will shift the expense from federal govt. to local governments; so the millionaires AND middle-class will then get TAX HIKES on their local taxes, which are based on net wealth (property).

How dumb that those with current incomes that are humongous don't see what immense govt. layoffs will cost them in the long run, rather than sharing a little bit more of their CURRENT income as slightly higher taxes (which are only on the top-end of their large incomes).

Jul. 11 2011 11:34 AM
Jack Jackson from Central New Jersey

Problem is that one parent and kids are fact-based, the other isn't. Which side you believe is making decisions based on facts, logic and modern economic theory and which side decides on cant, ideology and prejudice encapsulates the discussion. How much of the so-called 'Independent' middle sides with one or the other will be the final call.

Jul. 11 2011 11:23 AM

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