Congress just can't do it

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Congress has just proved itself irrelevant and incapable in the effort to save this country.

It will ultimately be up to us.

The last great bipartisan moment came in the aftermath of 9-11 – more than 10 years ago – when a group of congressmen gathered on the Capitol steps to sing God Bless America. Since then, they’ve been singing a different tune and failing America. Why should God help America when it won’t help itself?

And why does it take a foreign attack to bring these people together? Can’t they see the financial 9-11 coming?

In short, no. This Congress is a disgrace.

The latest insult came Monday, when the so-called “super committee” charged with cutting the deficit before Thanksgiving – just $1.2 trillion over 10 years – had to admit abject failure. The failure is supposed to trigger automatic “stop me before I overspend again” cuts no one wants. But this Congress may even lack the will to face the consequences of its own choices: Since the draconian automatic cuts don’t take effect until 2013, they know they’ve got another year to dilly-dally and try to slink out of a tough decision.

Even if that means the nation’s finances will continue to smolder and the financial markets (i.e., our nest eggs and pocketbooks) will likely suffer as a result.

When you consider how pitifully small a task these people had – to cut less in 10 years than they overspend in one – it makes their nonperformance all the more negligent. All the while, they see the fruits of legislative cowardice withering in Europe, and yet learn not a thing. They should be too embarrassed to pick up their paychecks at this point. The lot of them ought to resign in sheer mortification of being the worst excuse for a legislative body this nation has ever seen.

You could not ask for a simpler, more profound act: Just lower, a little bit, the disastrous trajectory the country is on. They can’t even do that.

Why not? Several reasons.

First, America is, itself, undecided on what to do, and even what it is. Are we a constitutional republic with large liberties and limited government? Or are we to be a Western Europe-style social democracy with big government, stifling high taxes and unsustainable tuck-you-in-at-night rations from on high?

We’ve got one more election to decide that, it seems.

Moreover, our friends in Congress like the deal they’ve got and they don’t want to let go of it – from great perks to terrific health and retirement plans to not having to follow the laws they pass. A new book also alleges that members of Congress are enriching themselves in the financial markets through insider information they glean on Capitol Hill. For these reasons and more, there are scratch marks on the doorjambs from the few times we’ve been able to drag an incumbent out the door.

Our reflexive incumbent-electing selves are getting the kind of government we deserve.

In order to save the country, we first have to save ourselves from a dysfunctional Congress – and from ourselves.

We need a constitutional amendment limiting congressional terms, in order to relieve this professional ruling class from the burden of reaching deeper into our pockets. And we need another one to limit their spending to what we can afford – tying it to, say, the gross domestic product.

Congress is clearly incapable. Not even the wall they themselves put their backs up against could help them locate their spine.

Comments (38) Add comment
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robaroo
881
Points
robaroo 11/22/11 - 10:04 pm
0
0
Although the automatic

Although the automatic reductions aren't anywhere close to balancing the budget, I am very grateful for them this Thanksgiving.

The two major parties are way too corrupt to do the right thing. Their only goal is to make it through the next election.

The way to get elected is to overpromise what can be delivered. Socialized health care? It's your right. More tax cuts? It will help the economy. Lavish SS and Medicare? You earned it.

The automatic cuts give both parties cover going into the election.

yakirz
9
Points
yakirz 11/22/11 - 10:22 pm
0
0
Congress is bought and sold.
Unpublished

Congress is bought and sold. Some members are worse than others. But expecting these people to do anything not in the interest of their largest contributors is useless.

The worst part is that if they made all of them go home and started with all new ones, they'd eventually end up where they are now.

Stop corporations from supporting members of Congress with their money. Money is not speech, and corporations are not people. They're made up of people, but the successful ones have far more resources than most Americans ever will, and their money makes the members of Congress deaf to the individual 300 million people who live and breath, and to cater to artificial legal entities that don't deserve 1/100th the rights of a single human.

wtinney
0
Points
wtinney 11/23/11 - 12:08 am
0
0
The AC got it right...sort

The AC got it right...sort of. First, they got it wrong with..."It will ultimately be up to us" and they got it right with "America is, itself, undecided on what to do, and even what it is. Are we a constitutional republic with large liberties and limited government? Or are we to be a Western Europe-style social democracy with big government, stifling high taxes and unsustainable tuck-you-in-at-night rations from on high?". The AC is strangly inconsistent in that they realize the latter but also say the former?

I knew the super committee was going to fail from the start. If it had succeeded it would have meant higher taxes to pay for overspending. There is no revenue problem - there is a severe spending problem. Now an absurd statement has become a reality... to have a government entity pass laws, decide taxation rates, etc. is actually one of the biggest conflict of interests of all time. It is akin to the wolves watching over the chicken coop. Wow! Are we messed up or what?

Vito45
-2
Points
Vito45 11/23/11 - 12:49 am
0
0
wtinney, I think the problem

wtinney, I think the problem we have is one no one will face up to. First, yes, we do have a spending problem; a huge one. Second, we have spent ourselves into such a hole that cuts alone won't solve the problem. There must be large spending cuts and modest tax increases if we are to get out of this jam. Neither side is willing to concede and it is dooming us all.

I just heard a news blurb not more than an hour ago about Obama appealing for the payroll tax cut to be extended and how crucial it was to the average American family to have that extra $935; blah, blah, blah. WHAT!!!!!!!!! $900 is not Monopoly money, but I wager 99%+ of the people posting or reading this would not miss a car payment if they had $75 less per month. Good Lord! Last night my wife and I had to visit a store over on R.C. Daniel for a special item and decided to grab a bite to eat. On Monday night @ 6pm, every restaurant in that area had a full parking lot. For that matter, don't even think about eating out without a wait most anywhere on Friday or Saturday night. $75/mo going to make a significant difference for middle America? Yea, and I'm the dad gum Easter Bunny. Look around at the cars, cellphone, wheels, bling, stereos, houses, etc and tell me that the Payroll tax break is nothing more than an election tool that COULD be put in the bank where it belongs for the people promised the benefits. Now, he has to figure out a way to take MORE money from the working folks to pay for that missing money.

copperhead
1035
Points
copperhead 11/23/11 - 01:28 am
0
0
hussein can and will save us!

hussein can and will save us! grant him absolute power and we will be fine.

Riverman1
93630
Points
Riverman1 11/23/11 - 03:35 am
0
0
The Republicans had a

The Republicans had a majority in the House, yet agreed to this idea of a super committee that has the same number of Democrats and Republicans. Not a good idea.

You are right, the people haven't decided what they want. It could be they want to take everything some have and share it with all...ala Zimbabwe, in the misguided belief we are all created equal and deserve the same rewards.

Techfan
6462
Points
Techfan 11/23/11 - 04:00 am
0
0
Strange, no mention of Grover

Strange, no mention of Grover Norquist in the editorial.

carcraft
28457
Points
carcraft 11/23/11 - 04:28 am
0
0
Where was Obama during all

Where was Obama during all this?-To cool to be involved as ussual, even little Chrissy Mathews of leg tingle fame has started to notice..

Riverman1
93630
Points
Riverman1 11/23/11 - 04:55 am
0
0
Grover Norquist and the

Grover Norquist and the automatic cuts are actually on the same page. There is a bottom line that has to kick in. Figure out how to spend without new taxes and if you can't, cut spending.

Techfan
6462
Points
Techfan 11/23/11 - 06:11 am
0
0
There is no way to cover the

There is no way to cover the amount of military spending we have now, interest on the debt, SS, and Medicare without increased revenue. Current revenue barely equals these with none left for any other government function. The Bush tax cuts have already cost over $2 trillion in lost revenue, and by 2018 will have cost $8.4 trillion (including interest on the debt). Add in around $3 trillion for the war costs and you can see why we have a deficit and debt.

carcraft
28457
Points
carcraft 11/23/11 - 06:25 am
0
0
Techfan-How do you know, we

Techfan-How do you know, we have never even tried to cut spending. We have increased taxes and the spending just keeps going up. No new taxes until spending is cut, PERIOD. Blame Bush, Obama has doubled the deficit. Spent $800 billion on a stimulus package, health care costs are increasing and the health care reform package hasn't even kicked in yet..It is like telling a drug addict, you have to cut down your crack use , you can still use it but control it, yeh, right!

dade30906
258
Points
dade30906 11/23/11 - 06:54 am
0
0
The super committee

The super committee negotiations have failed. Why? Because Republicans simply REFUSED to make billionaires and big corporations lift even one finger to help reduce the debt. In fact, they are demanding TAX CUTS for their biggest benefactors, the top 1%.

Street smart
77
Points
Street smart 11/23/11 - 07:10 am
0
0
If Congress doesn't act soon,

If Congress doesn't act soon, middle - class Americans will see their taxes go up starting on January 1st, taking almost $ 1,000 out of the pockets of a typical family next year. Last year, President Obama and member of both parties in Congress cut the payroll tax for 155 million workers, putting money in your pockets. Now, that tax cut is expiring. Soon September, the President proposed extending that tax cut and cutting your taxes even further! giving the typical family a $1,500 tax cut.
Republicans in Congress, some of whom have pledged not to raise taxes by a penny, oppose extending the same tax cuts they just passed? But after years of protecting expensive tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, many Republicans now say we should let this middle - class tax cut expire. There's a lot a stake here for you and your family, and the better folks understand how much more they may have to pay, the easier it will be to get Congress to do the right thing.

carcraft
28457
Points
carcraft 11/23/11 - 07:33 am
0
0
dade30906-Since the wealthest

dade30906-Since the wealthest and corperations pay most of the taxes they are the ones that get tax breaks...LOL Why won't the Democrats cut spending? There is so much wast in government it is incredible. When I worked at the VA and was in the Army budget folks use to walk around and ask us to order more equipement so we could keep our current spending levels or get spending increases. When I was at Fort Lewis they buried unused ammunition to keep the money rolling in..give me a brake. Where is Obama other than blaming..he hasn't done a thing to help this issue other than demogoge..probably doesn't even need a teleprompter to say "It's the evil Republicans fault" or "It's George Bush's fault"

southernguy08
532
Points
southernguy08 11/23/11 - 07:36 am
0
0
Funny TECH, you didn't once
Unpublished

Funny TECH, you didn't once mention the trillions we've spent in entitlements over the years. Not one mention of cutting those, just raise taxes. Again I ask, if we do raise taxes, what's to prevent this president and congress from just finding more ways to spend it? We need a Balanced Budget Amendment to mandate our money be spent wisely, something this president and ANY congress obviously doesn't want.

TParty
6004
Points
TParty 11/23/11 - 07:51 am
0
0
Vito45- I understand what

Vito45-

I understand what you're saying with $75 pay decrease a month for a lot of families wouldn't allow them to miss a car payment, or meet their obligations.

I guess I have a problem with our taxes being increased when congress cannot figure out what to cut. And I'm going to blame the republicans here, because they refuse to raise any revenue, or refuse to cut any money from defense. They are not putting everything on the table, and now our taxes are going to raise.

Anyways, multiply that $75 a month, per family in Augusta and take that away from city because people will not go out and spend money on dinner and movie, or purchase some extra luxuries. They might think again about purchasing anything. While I believe Americans are already huge consumers of things we don't need, jobs will be lost because of this.

And it is curious that Grover Norquist was not mentioned. Are people and ACES okay that republicans put Grover Norquist oath above the oath they took for office?

TParty
6004
Points
TParty 11/23/11 - 07:54 am
0
0
Carcraft- Be careful

Carcraft-

Be careful mentioning that the military wastes money; that there is a lot of fraud waste and abuse. People will come at you negatively for speaking the truth.

harley_52
25872
Points
harley_52 11/23/11 - 08:01 am
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0
TParty said "Be careful

TParty said "Be careful mentioning that the military wastes money; that there is a lot of fraud waste and abuse. People will come at you negatively for speaking the truth."

Has somebody denied there's a lot of fraud, waste, and abuse in the Defense Department?

I haven't seen anybody in here "come at you negatively for speaking the truth." I HAVE seen people take issue with others for presenting false opinions as facts, which is as it should be.

burninater
9921
Points
burninater 11/23/11 - 08:17 am
0
0
The upcoming elections will

The upcoming elections will be interesting. Polling shows a majority of Americans are repulsed by the current revenue-blind worshippers of the wealthy -- we'll have to see how it plays out come voting time.

The fact that many of these same Norquist lovers were rapt for the tax increases on the middle class contained in 999 has not been lost on the swing voters. Being against taxes is one thing. Simply being the sheepish lackeys of the super wealthy is another thing entirely.

TParty
6004
Points
TParty 11/23/11 - 08:19 am
0
0
I'm just saying to carcraft,

I'm just saying to carcraft, be careful. No need to feel guilty and get defensive, Harley_52.

Techfan
6462
Points
Techfan 11/23/11 - 08:33 am
0
0
Why don't the Republicans

Why don't the Republicans offer to cut spending on something besides, SS, Medicare, and Medicaid? They argue that the payroll tax cuts have to be offset with spending cuts, but NEVER have they, since 2001, proposed that the Bush tax cuts be offset. They claim to be against earmarks, then those like Bachmann want to change the definition of earmarks so their district still gets funds. Lindsey Graham vows to block all of the President's nominees unless he gets $$$$$ for the port in Charleston. Hypoctrites.

Jon Lester
2480
Points
Jon Lester 11/23/11 - 09:03 am
0
0
Don't let Leon Panetta's
Unpublished

Don't let Leon Panetta's nominal Democrat affiliation fool you. The military budget has plenty of room for a half trillion dollars in cuts and he knows it. For one thing, we shouldn't really need to spend $700 billion over the next 10 years on our nuclear arsenal when Russia plans to spend only a tenth as much, and the Chinese even less, while our only realistic potential adversaries have single-digit nuclear weapon inventories (if any).

Also, Kyrgyzstan is about to become the first Central Asian nation to experience a peaceful transfer of power from one prime minister to another, democratically-elected one. He has promised to close the US base there. We should accept the will of the Kyrgyz people and take the savings, too.

augusta citizen
10021
Points
augusta citizen 11/23/11 - 09:05 am
0
0
Vito said, "I think the

Vito said, "I think the problem we have is one no one wants to face up to. First, yes, we do have a spending problem; a huge one. Second, we have spent ourselves into such a hole that cuts alone won't solve the problem. There must be large spending cuts and modest tax increases if we are to get out of this jam."
I'm afraid Vito is right, the hole is so deep that drastic measures are needed. I think we need to see massive spending cuts first, I think we need to change our tax codes to where all people are paying taxes. If after spending is slashed and everyone is paying, then we can look at what modest tax increases those already paying may see. I want to do my part to save my children's future, but I want to see those that pay no taxes pony up to the trough before anyone asks me to increase my already hefty taxes.

onlysane1left
223
Points
onlysane1left 11/23/11 - 09:14 am
0
0
All 435 seats in the House

All 435 seats in the House and 33 seats in the Senate are up for grabs as well as the White House, and by my perspective, there is no end in sight to this constant annoying bickering between the Democrats and Republicans. Both parties are so deep in the pockets of powerfully wealthy entities that nothing good will ever come unless we rid the system of money involved. We are not a republic with democratic tendencies. This is an oligarchy, where the corporations and wealthy, influence what goes on, and lets their money decide what happens in your lives. I never understand why people waste their time despising Obama when he is just the face of the cog in the wheel. No blame ever comes to the petroleum companies who raise your gas prices, no blame comes to the local government who force you buy their water and can take your land at any time for thier aims. No blame comes to the companies who create chemicals used for fracking that end up in water supplies that our children end up drinking. No one here every blames those people. The blame comes to the easiest target the media can put out. There are so many other things that we can rally around and push to help all of us, but when we are divided so easily (liberial/conservative views, religious views, sexual ideals, etc.), it just keeps bickering at each other going and does not give us the focus to overcome the real forces behind problems.

Term limits are needed, but they have to vote on it and 2/3 of them would have to pass it. Would you vote on how short you are going to work at a great job with terrific perks, when currently there are no limits? Hey, ACES, since you are asking for term limits, how about asking them to lower their salaries and take a benefit reduction, like the rest of the workers in the U.S. are getting, do you wonder they vote for that and pass it, too?

Once again, another wasteful op/ed that gives realistically hopeless solution, to a problem that we already know is very wrong but are helpless to fight until we band together and make them change it.

allhans
24885
Points
allhans 11/23/11 - 09:40 am
0
0
I only vaguely heard of

I only vaguely heard of Grover Norquist until the last few weeks when Dems again had to look for whipping boy and had run out of presidential candidates and conservatives members of the House.
What does the guy(Norquist) have to do with the c="Committee that failed" anyhow. He didn't have a seat at the table (Obama says he didn't either but he didn't tell you about Patty Murray who played the role of stooge like the pro she is).
I saw about 5 minutes of Norquist on TV Sun and turned him off. He is an embarrassment and only looking for his 15 mins of fame. He should shut up and go home.

allhans
24885
Points
allhans 11/23/11 - 09:43 am
0
0
I have to agree with Joe

I have to agree with Joe S..We are over-leveraged, the housing industry is over-leveraged, the government is over-leveraged, most people are over-leveraged and it will take a long =, long time and lots of suffering to get to where we have to be. Sorry Obamanites, but the hurting is yet to come.

madgerman
236
Points
madgerman 11/23/11 - 10:19 am
0
0
I think if we want to have a
Unpublished

I think if we want to have a future it starts with all meetings being open to us the people who congress is there to support. We can all speculate why the committee failed but we wern't allowed to view this critical point in our lives, first hand. That is the real faiolure in all this - we didn't demand an open congress.

allhans
24885
Points
allhans 11/23/11 - 10:43 am
0
0
We were promised transparency

We were promised transparency in 2008 and I guess we were dumb enough to believe it would happen.

eagle
94
Points
eagle 11/23/11 - 11:20 am
0
0
Is (was) the Super Committee
Unpublished

Is (was) the Super Committee even constitutional? Why will it take 10 years (seems I heard that number somewhere) to rein in the spending, etc.? Why not start with Congress and this Admin? Cut their pay, their perks, and downsize govt (many agencies overlap each other). We don't need them. Cut them...effective immediately. Then start with foreign aid, etc etc. No more bail-outs, stimulus pkgs (aka jobs plans), or Executive orders (if BHO can't get it through congress..tough).

Techfan
6462
Points
Techfan 11/23/11 - 12:19 pm
0
0
It seems the right wingers

It seems the right wingers are a tad too sensitive and can't take criticism, so yet another post gets pulled. Like to dish it out but can't take being called on their lack of knowledge, that's the right wing way. I'm sure this one will get flagged as well, but since it's generalized, maybe not.

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