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January 10, 2013

Can It Get Any Worse?

Blaine R. Young

The incompetence and downright irresponsibility of our so called “national leaders” continues to astound me. Their latest version of the children’s game of kick-the-can-down-the-road is just another example of ineffectual government to which we, unfortunately, are becoming accustomed.


While we were enjoying the holidays with our families, we were bombarded with constant reporting, updates, and sometimes shear hysteria about the “fiscal cliff.” It turned out it wasn’t a cliff at all. It was more like a speed bump, which our representatives in Washington cleared with ease, because – obviously – they could care less about the futures of our children and grandchildren.


As we saw played out over New Year’s holiday, the Congress and the president agreed to do nothing except keep tax rates the same for most everyone. Not even a word about our national debt, which is spiraling out of control, and the annual deficits which are increasing it to astronomical levels.


All this talk about a so-called “grand bargain” disappeared in the haze of accusations, personal attacks and pats on the back by these blowhards in Washington. We are told that they will address spending over the next two months. Why on earth would we possibly believe them?


In the past, as I can recall personally and have learned from history, when faced with a national crisis, Congress put political differences aside and reached a consensus on what was best for the country. We no longer have a Congress willing to do that.


A few years ago the president appointed a commission headed by former Wyoming Republican Sen. Alan Simpson and former White House Chief of Staff and Democrat Erskin Bowles. By all accounts this group worked very hard and came up with a plan that was designed to tackle the deficit through a combination of revenue enhancements and spending cuts. A lot of us disagreed with some aspects of the plan. That was intentional. It was not designed to be fully embraced by everyone, but was designed as a compromise in which everyone could find something they liked and assuredly something they didn’t like. That is what a compromise is.


The president and the Congress received the report, thanked Mr. Simpson and Mr. Bowles, and threw it in the trash can. End of discussion.


Now my complaint is not with the fact that the report was rejected. My complaint is that the incompetents running our government did not even give it a thorough review and discussion, and let us make up our own minds. They saw too many things in it that would upset key political constituencies, and therefore feared for their jobs if they even hinted that they might embrace something as ambitious and far reaching as the Simpson-Bowels plan. It was just another example of legislators and a president who are more interested in preserving their jobs than in preserving our nation.


I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been more down on our federal government. I have a hard time looking my children in the eye and telling them they will have a chance for a happy and productive life as citizens of the United States.


We might be the first generation who has ever been in the position of not being able to tell our children that their future looks bright and rosy, because they live in the greatest nation in the world. They do, but people in Washington today are trying to destroy it.


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