Regular readers here will know that I don’t often delve into political topics. But on occasion I do, especially when I find something quite troubling. With the impasse on the debt ceiling debacle, there is plenty to be troubled about.
The first is the most obvious. No one in Congress should have been surprised that this issue would be arising, and that it needed to be dealt with. No on in Congress should have been ignorant of the facts leading up to the financial problems being currently faced by our country. No one should have had a lack of understanding of the history or economics of how we got there, or a grasp of how to work ourselves out of the problem. But if one watched this melodrama unfold, that seems to be exactly the situation.
What makes it even more frustrating to us who are forced to sit on the sidelines, is that the melodrama is turning into a farce. What is making this dangerous is the fact a set of opposite ideals are butting heads with each other, while blaming either each other or the president for the impasse, or the reason they got there to begin with. It would be rather funny, if it wasn’t so damned tragic. Even worse, poll after poll, suggests that the American people do have some decent ideas to help rectify the situation, but no one who is making the actual decision is listening. Instead they are trying to do the same things over and over, in hopes that the next time it works.
No one should be surprised that either debt ceiling bill proposed by the House or Senate passed, even though there wasn’t all that much difference between the two other then one was Republican drafted,the other Democrat. What has been left out of the mix have been things that should work, like higher taxes for higher wage earners, or the phasing out of tax credits, or the ending of up to $41 billion a year in subsidies for agriculture, and energy producers, or taking a look at government contractors to see if revamping them to make true competition would help not only lower cost but help eliminate fraud and graft that seems to keep cropping up. Looking at streamlining government bureaucracy by updating communications between agencies, or combining some.
We can mostly agree that social programs like Medi-aid and Social Security take a huge bite out of our budgets. We can agree that taking a look at some segments of these programs for our poor, disabled and elderly have some inefficiency within the programs, and we don’t need a degree in accounting to realize that the rate of workers that are leaving because of age is not quite equal to the rate of people entering the work force for the first time. There are things that could be done, without making things more difficult for these folks, who’s incomes are almost always at the bottom tier of the the US population. We can and should make improvements, but lets do it because we want to make sure our most needy citizens can access aid that is quality and at a fair cost to the taxpayer. Let’s not scuttle it because it is a big ticket item on our budget, and we can make political hay doing so.
And it is the political hay in the making that is what bothers me the most. I don’t get a sense that the people who are impacted by all this, us voters, and residents of this country, really matter all that much in the scheme of the debt ceiling or other “popular” political issues. To me it seems more about getting reelected and trying to pony up to whatever group will help an individual get reelected. These groups don’t tend to represent the average voter either, nor do they really have the best interests for all Americans as part of their agendas, but for some reason they are the ones these politicians listen to.
I care about my community and my country. I want us to succeed as a people and a nation. It may sound un-american, but quite frankly, being #1 in the world in the realm of economics or military strength or anything else, should be less of a priority then making sure we take care of our own people first. Yes we have a lot to offer other nations and should. We should be open trading partners with others, be willing to offer assistance in time of need to our global neighbors, work together to help end conflict and try to bring peace to trouble regions, but the mentality of being the big dog in the world is to me a bit egotistic. Its a little silly to say “We’re number one, we’re number one” when we aren’t in terms of educating our children, or energy standards, or overall physical health of its citizens. We do tend to lead the world in some negative aspects, like being the biggest user of oil, being the one who has the most citizens who are obese, having the most divorces, spending per person for health care.
Its time like these that almost makes me want to run for office. Maybe one day I will, as I may be able to offer something to my community, at least on a local level. Until then, I’ll vote my conscious, which has never been swayed by pretty speeches and political attack ads, share my views as respectfully and eloquently as I can when I think I should, and try to refrain from beating my head against my desk when I read political news stories.