The past year has been a new low, perhaps an all-time low in Washington -- with two-thirds of the country disgusted with conditions inside the Beltway -- and neither party has distinguished itself in the process.
New Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has led a largely contentious, unproductive year of Bush-bashing. Congress hasn't done its budget work on time, and even backtracked on securing the border, but had plenty of time to investigate and hold hearings on every drop of spilled milk in the White House.
And Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, following the marching orders of the left-wing extremists that pull the strings of the Democratic Party, have tried all year to sabotage the war effort in Iraq and Afghanistan while blissfully denying any and all progress there. Reid pronounced the war lost months ago -- and was proven wrong by our troops.
Meanwhile, Republicans in Washington continued to abandon their base by helping bust the budget again and, for the longest time, ignoring the American outcry for border security and no amnesty for illegal aliens. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham famously lamented the voices of a few "loud people" who were insisting on border security.
Apparently not loud enough. After two years of public outcry, the government only pretended to build a fence, and did everything it could to drag its feet -- perhaps hoping that we'd come to our senses and see the wisdom of eschewing American sovereignty for a borderless North American Union.
And two border patrol agents continue to sit in prison for shooting an illegal border-crossing drug dealer -- one of the many reasons Republicans in Congress are regarded less positively than even Pelosi and Reid's Democrats.
"Republicans made promises they didn't keep, and Democrats made promises they couldn't keep. And now it's a pox on all their houses," summed up pollster Frank Luntz.
Not the best of years for Washington.
But Washington's biggest and worst shortcoming is that it let another year of immoral spending pass by -- as well as a golden opportunity to do something about it.
We're not even talking about the annual operating deficits, either -- which, by the way, are vastly understated by 1) using Social Security surpluses and 2) keeping a lot of things off budget.
No, we're talking about the coming tsunami of red ink in the form of entitlement spending that is on track to wash over both the federal budget and your children and grandchildren.
This is not a matter of opinion. Every expert on the left and the right that has looked at the numbers is certain of it: America's finances are absolutely, utterly and completely unsustainable.
What does that mean? It means that funding Social Security Medicare and Medicaid will someday likely require every dollar the government can obtain. It means that the country is on a track toward insolvency. It means our creditors -- places like China and Saudi Arabia -- will have increased power over us. It means the 70-million-plus baby boomers who begin retiring on Tuesday may not see the benefits they were promised.
And it means your children and grandchildren will be saddled with unspeakable debt from this generation's beach party: The national debt, which is now over $9 trillion, is only the beginning. If you count unfunded liabilities for entitlement programs -- the amount of money the government has promised retirees but hasn't budgeted for -- our debt is really over $60 trillion.
And that unfunded liability is climbing $2 trillion to $3 trillion a year, according to U.S. Comptroller General David Walker.
You are, today, this very hour, helping spend your grandchild's future paycheck.
This is the disaster that's headed for your children and grandchildren, ladies and gentlemen. And it was completely and contentedly ignored by your high-living leaders in Washington again this year.
The coming year must be different.
One would hope the presidential and congressional campaigns would highlight this coming disaster, but not thus far. In fact, Hillary Clinton is promoting more spending -- on universal health care and even universal preschool! And she just might win.
Call and write your congressional representatives and senators. Starting Jan. 2. And all year long, until they get the message. Tell them to balance the budget and reform entitlements. Tell them their jobs depend on it, because our children's and grandchildren's standard of living depends on it.
Loud people? They haven't heard anything yet.