April 9, 2011
Shortly before 11 p.m. last night, John Boehner and Harry Reid came to a last minute agreement on a deal to not shut down the government – for now, anyway. http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/reid-says-impasse-based-on-abortion-funding-boehner-denies-it/2011/04/08/AFO40U1C_story.html?hpid=z1
A little later, Mr. Boehner proclaimed, “I’m pleased that Senator Reid and I and the White House have been able to come to an agreement that will, in fact, cut spending and keep our government open,”
Mr. Obama, then, solemnly asserted that, “Today, Americans of different beliefs came together,” that the cuts would be painful but necessary to maintain the country’s fiscal health and that, “We protected the investments we need to win the future.”
Later, on the floor of the Senate, Harry Reid said, “We didn’t do it at this late hour for drama, we did it because it’s been very hard to arrive at this point … Both sides have had to make tough choices. But tough choices is [sic] what this job’s all about.”
Umm, yeah. At the risk of sounding cynical again, the toughest choices I saw throughout this six week whine fest were how each side might blame the other if it came down to a government shutdown as, periodically, little Harry and little John crawled out of their play pens long enough to point the finger at each other and say, “It’s all his fault.” In the meantime, Mitch McConnell stood at the podium in the Senate, looking like a petulant Baby Huey to tell us that it was all President Obama’s fault for not “leading us.”
Really? The nation is engaged in three wars, the Middle East and North Africa have exploded, oil and food prices head through the roof, the horror in Japan continues and any combination of these things may still take down the world economy. Yet, for all the money we spend on our leaders, their staff and their perquisites, this is what it comes down to? The Leader of the Free World reduced to the role of pre-school teacher, expected to take by the hand the august leaders of the House and Senate of the most powerful nation on earth, lead them to the potty and tell them to make pee-pee NOW, before their little bladders burst and the whole country gets wet?
It’s said, we get the government we deserve. Maybe so, but I look around at my neighbors, at ordinary Americans – twelve million of them still out of work, eight million having lost their homes and 48 million of them still without insurance – struggling to keep their heads above water while their wages stagnate, their food and fuel bills keep rising and their medical costs bankrupt them. I’m sorry, but they don’t deserve this government.
We vote them in, that’s true, but when political campaigns become lying contests fronted by big money, when politicians pay more attention to lobbyists and the lure of the revolving door than to the general welfare of the people they were sent to serve, when the needs of the empire outweigh the needs of the nation, how do we even know who we elect and how they’ll really behave, once elected?
Presumably, in the coming week, the full House and Senate will vote the vaunted compromise into being without additional temper tantrums and will get on with the fight over a 2012 budget and whether or not to raise the debt limit.
Back in February, the President released his 2012 budget. A link to the CBO analysis can be found here: http://www.pgpf.org/Issues/Fiscal-Outlook/2011/03/21/Report-on-CBO-Budget-Analysis.aspx. This past week, Paul Ryan released his “Path to Prosperity” plan. A link to the CBO analysis can be found here: http://cbo.gov/doc.cfm?index=12128
If you read through the two analyses, it’s obvious Congress and the American people must make some serious choices – especially about the quality and amounts of “entitlements” they want and are willing to pay for. I wish I could believe our Congress would take it as seriously as it deserves, but their performances over the last six weeks do not give me hope.
So the terrible twins finally made pee-pee. Big whoop. I’m heading out to the garden, now, before I start banging my head against the wall.