Monday, November 21, 2011


I can't say I'm terribly surprised that the debt-reducation "super-committee" did not accomplish their task. Congress, whether as a complete body, the house, the senate, committees, subcommittees, or super committees, have been completely unable to accomplish anything substantial in the past couple of years, especially with regard to the the debt and deficit, and tax policy.
Congressional Democrats and Republicans have diametrically opposed views with regard to debt-reduction and taxes, and therefore it is understandable that these discussions and coming to agreement would not be an easy thing to do. However, the job of congress, of our government in general, is to serve the people in this country. So it doesn't really matter whether they disagree or not, the very nature of politics, and their responsibility as politicians, is to compromise and come to agreements regardless of their differences.
Therefore, by the simple standard of serving the citizens of this nation, and compromising to pass legislation to take care of the debt and deficit, these men and women on this committee have failed us.
But let's not let us forget that the President (regardless of his actual ability to affect legislation, or not) has also been a failure. It's a failure of a different kind, but Republicans are correct in one critique of the president - his failure of leadership. There's been a lot of hand-wringing by Republicans and Democrats, blaming the other side for the failure to pass legislation, by saying the other side is not willing to give in on anything. This would indicate to me that both sides are acting childish and obstinate. But the failure of the president has been to push congress to act, regardless of whether Democrats or Republicans are getting exactly what they want. The president has wanted to remain above the fray, but the problem is that he's been characterized as uninterested (whether fair or unfair, if people are seeing him seemingly uninvolved, it looks bad as a leader). The president needs to push the congress, house, senate, subcommittee, super committee...whatever, to get their act together and pass legislation.
So now that the super committee has failed, we're left with these "trigger" cuts that will slash funds toward both military spending and heathcare and medicare. Falling back on "trigger" cuts is totally unacceptable; not to mention the fact that Democrats and Republicans are already trying to alter the trigger, indicating that cutting military spending is a no-go (Republicans), or cutting medicare and healthcare is a no-go (Democrats).
As a liberal, I have to admit that I see a large part of the problem being Republicans standing firm on the Grover Norquist strategy of never, under any circumstances, raising taxes. We're in a MAJOR debt/deficit crisis, which is not as dire as it's made out to be, but will become so if we fail to stimulate the economy. The problem with the current tax structure, is that it continues to give tax breaks to people who do not need it, and who are hoarding the money (NOT stimulating the economy). The real tax breaks that would help the economy, should go toward the middle class who will spend the money, get the economy moving again, and then those that have the means to start or build their businesses will do so, because it will be profitable, regardless of their tax rate.
A member of congress cannot be hard-lined; especially a member of a super committee whose sole purpose is to come to an agreement about debt and deficit reduction.

Shame on you, congress.

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