Welcome To Their World
David Horsey apparently is just as disgusted as the rest of us when it comes to the 112th Congress, surely one of the most incompetent and lazy congresses in history. What they couldn't kick down the road our congress critters simply ignored. Nothing much got done, especially this past year.
In theory, our senators and representatives are elected to promote the best interests of the people who elect them. In practice, a great deal of the elected officials’ time is spent serving the interests of the people who paid for the campaigns that got them elected. But in the past, even the most bought-and-paid-for members of Congress found ways to come together and do the right thing in times of national crisis.
The 112th Congress, though, manufactured an artificial crisis while failing to provide timely aid to people suffering from the devastation of a crisis that is all too real.
The manufactured crisis was the "fiscal cliff." In 2012, after damaging the nation’s credit by playing politics with the debt ceiling and nearly letting the government default on its debts, Congress set a time bomb for itself – big tax hikes and draconian budget cuts timed to kick in after the stroke of midnight on Jan. 1, 2013. This was supposed to focus everyone’s attention so that they would come up with a serious, bipartisan plan for reducing the ever-growing federal deficit.
We all know how that went. Nothing got done for most of the year, then weeks of squabbling and brinksmanship ensued following the November election. Only after the deadline arrived Tuesday was a bill passed that blocked most of the tax increases and delayed reconsideration of the budget cuts for two months.
In other words, Congress could summon the will to do only the very easiest thing: preserve George W. Bush-era tax cuts for about 99.5% of Americans while letting taxes rise a little for households earning more than $450,000 annually. Everything else – all the hard choices – got kicked down the road to the next Congress, thereby guaranteeing another fiscal freakout just weeks from now when the debt ceiling has to be raised again.
Yes, David, that about gets it.
And, as David mentions later in the column, the 113th Congress is pretty much the same as the 112th Congress so we can fully expect the same kind of performance for the next year at least. Oh, a little disaster aid will flow to the Northeastern states affected by Sandy, but only if there are cuts in programs to offset it. And there will be the mandatory tea bag waving (as witnessed by the introduction of a bill to repeal Obamacare in the first session of the House) just to eat up some electrons and spill some ink and flex some flaccid muscles.
While I'd love to be wrong, I am not optimistic about that.