Now that the supercommittee has failed to reach a budget compromise we hear about how things don’t work in D.C. any more. There is a nostalgic longing for the good old days when collegial legislators could get together and act for the benefit of the nation.
What a crock.
Another way to look at it is that finally someone stood for something and refused to compromise basic principles.
If you are looking for a golden age of politics your search will be futile. It never existed. Any study of the political history of the U.S. reveals, if anything, politics today are cleaner than they ever were. After George Washington’s presidency, it didn’t take long for the mud to fly. Crooked deals, patronage, nepotism, vote fixing, and smoke filled rooms were the rule not the exception. Jack Kennedy understood his father bought him a presidency. Lyndon Johnson was in the pocket of Brown & Root who bought his election to Congress. Spiro Agnew was taking bribes while he was Nixon’s VP. Etcetera.
It’s easy to be collegial when your party is in power as the Democrats were from 1932 (FDR) to 1968 (Nixon). In those days the Republicans were for the most part powerless and the good old boys who ran the place, Democratic Speakers from Sam Rayburn to Tip O’Neill, did what their president commanded. They didn’t lose their hold on Congress until 1994 when Gingrich pulled off a Republican victory.
So now, when Washington’s reckless fiscal stewardship of the U.S. has run us insolvent, the mainstream media complain when legislators can’t get together and “do something.” They blame these politicians for putting politics ahead of the country. La-di-da, la-di-da, la la, as Diane Keaton said in Annie Hall.
Republicans were dead set against tax increases, the third rail of right wing politics, and the Democrats wouldn’t compromise on their demand for increased taxes on the “rich.” Both parties were playing to their bases in an election year, so everything is entirely understandable.
Perhaps we should be celebrating someone on the Hill for standing up for a principle that they weren’t willing to compromise. I will assume, and the reports seem to support this, that the main problem was the Republicans who wouldn’t agree to any tax raise. If that is the case, then I salute those intransigent bastards for finally showing some courage in defense of a no tax increase pledge.
When you think about it automatic across the board spending cuts is a good thing. If they can’t figure 0ut how to cut $120 billion (3.3%) each year out of a $3.6 trillion budget, then you understand the depth of the problem.
The problem is that the federal government is too important. It was not designed that way. Originally it was the States that were important. But their power has been drained away and the Constitution has been jettisoned to create an all powerful federal government. Now money flocks to Washington to seek favors because politicians have the power to grant them.
The system is broken, but not in the way the MSM is saying. What’s broken is a system that can’t be fixed. Kumbayah is not the answer. Perhaps forced cuts are the only way to achieve fiscal sanity. The message to voters is: you decide.