Blogs » Politcs Plus » It's not over



As I was watching my Persian cat (Pudge) chasing dust particles this morning, it reminded me of the 112th Congress. Pudge was consumed in his ordeal, thinking that he was doing something useful. At least, he was getting some exercise. That's more than I can say about what I just witnessed in the last two or three days. My wife could continue to vacuum the house from top to bottom, but, unless we replace the door sealants, the dust will gather once again. Like our Pudge's little game, Congress manufactured the last crisis because budgetary items did not need to be attached to the debt ceiling. The stock market kept falling even though the president signed the debt ceiling bill because the problem was a weak world economy, and the fact that the United States doesn't look like it has the capacity to fix their own problem. Pudge then took one of his many power naps; and Congress left their unfinished business to take a five-week vacation.

I should be relieved since we averted a small crisis but even before the president signed the bill, the speaker of the house told CBS News that he got 98% of what he wanted, and senate minority leader Mitch McConnell told the tea party that they had won. Those statements make Stephen Colbert sound like a prophet, when he said that the republican's idea of compromise was "If you scratch my back, I got my back scratched!"

The president said that he will now focus on jobs, but it’s going to have to wait until Congress gets back. That ought a give some comfort to the 14 million that are unemployed. Congress left town without voting on a couple of trade policies that both parties agreed with. They also allowed, parts of the FAA to shut down, a move that prevents the government from collecting $200 million a week in taxes. I know those on right don't care about the 4,000 public-sector jobs that were lost, but along with those losses went to 90,000 private-sector jobs. The GOP in the senate did some procedural measures to prevent President Obama from making Richard Corday, the new head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, as a recess appointee. That’s alright because we all know Wall Street will self police. If you believe that, I still have the Guadalupe River Bridge for sale.

When Congress gets back in September the leaders of both houses will pick a super congressional committee to come up with a way to implement ideas to avoid a trigger that will call for cuts; about, 50% in discretionary spending and 50% and defense spending. Immediately, after the votes speaker Boehner said that he would not put any one on the committee that would raise taxes and this morning. I heard John Cornyn say that minority leader Mitch McConnell won't either. That leaves Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid to counter by placing people on the committee that won't touch the entitlements. We just went through that nonsense and besides, I don't think the committee can do anything about tax reform because that's left up to the House and Ways Committee. Even, if that committee voted 7 to 5 to increase taxes, the house republicans would not pass it. That's part of the problem; we did not elect our representatives to subcontract their duties to a super committee. They seem to forget that one Congress cannot bind another. The incoming Congress could vote to repeal the committee and its triggers. I bet many in Congress knew that all along, and they are enjoying a nice golf tournament in the Bahamas, courtesy of the lobbyists who support their campaigns.

I am relieved that I won't have to hear "cut, cap, and balance" or the shameless protection of the so -called" job creators." Those calling for the balance amendment or "austerity only "don't know or disagree with the definition of the paradox of thrift. They often think that we're supposed to run the Federal government like a household. It would be ideal to operate on a balanced budget but 49 states already do that, leaving the Federal government, the only one they can spend when consumers and businesses don't. The opponents of Keynesian economics ‘will say that the stimulus didn't work, but they don't know where we would be if it had not been used. Look at the temperatures across the United States; it doesn't take a genius to figure out that we will have some drought problems. A balanced budget would require that the $60 billion we provide the states would have to be met with equal spending cuts. That's what republican Erick Cantor wanted to do for the relief funds to the tornado stricken victims of Joplin Missouri. I believe a balanced budget amendment will come up for a vote, but if it has a poison pill like 2/3 of each house approval before enacting tax increases; it's dead on arrival. Perhaps now we can switch from this nearsighted focus on draconian cuts and constant worries about the $14.3 debt and start concentrating on jobs, growth, education, and things that will make Americans start spending again, because we have a world demand problem.

This morning I heard a story about an article that will be in the New Yorker magazine describing the captor of Osama Bin Laden. When the 23 Navy Seals hit Bin Laden's compound they immediately saw two women who they thought might be wearing explosive vests. Immediately two Navy Seals bear hugged the women knowing they would take the brunt of the blast but they would save the other team members. We don't have that anymore because everyone goes into their ideological corner and those who don't agree with them,really don't matter. That's what wrong with Washington, several think that only one man or one political party knows the answer; compromise is out of the question. We don’t have a team concept.