Friday, November 12, 2010

‘You Can NEVER Get Every Thing That You Want….”

In a democratic republic, that is.

And that is a great thing we all ought to be thankful for on this day after Veterans Day.

Click on this great early Rolling Stones song, ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’  and just let these alternative words in the title of this post seep into your consciousness as you read the rest of this and see if it doesn’t make eminent sense to you.

Who knew that a couple of hundred years from now, political archeologists are going to dig up some vinyl 45-rpm record somewhere and declare that Mick Jagger was ‘one of the foremost philosophers of the 20th century just like Aristotle and Socrates centuries before him!’

Anyway, with the Simpson-Bowles Deficit Reduction Commission coming up with their initial thoughts on how to slay this magnificent debt beast we have created all by ourselves (the nasty Rooskies didn’t make us do it and neither did the dirty red Chinese either…and not even Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda), let’s take a look at what we should reasonably expect out of the democratic process in the next 6 months or so:

1) President Obama is still in the White House whether you like it or not and he still holds the veto pens in his left hand.  (Each time he signs something, a US president now uses like 15 pens to write out each letter of his name separately.  Why?  So 15 congresspeople can hang it on the wall and say proudly:  “I got National Mule Day passed way back when.  Now vote for me again!’)

2) Republicans control the House and with some cross-over from the now-emboldened Blue Puppy Dogs (or what is left of them in Congress, that is) since they have been released from under the thumb of their former leader, Nancy Pelosi, The Speaker from the West, perhaps they could cobble together a veto-proof majority of 290 votes from time to time on big important issues.

3) The Senate remains in Democrat control and with the rules over there being what they are, ‘difficult’, it is fair to say that nothing much gets done for the next 2 years to the great advantage of either major political party.

‘Good! No, GREAT!’ our Founders James Madison and Thomas Jefferson might be shouting in their graves.  'We abhor absolute totalitarian tyranny at any level of rule…including Congress!’

As part of our on-going ‘reality-based politics’ series, let’s face the truth of the matter:

Whenever one party has had total control of the 2 main branches of the federal government lately, they have pretty much screwed things up.  The GOP had the White House and Congress from 2001-2007 and the Democrats had both from 2009-2010.   All we now have to show for it is a humongous $14 trillion national debt bomb and still ticking, up from around $5 trillion at the end of Bill Clinton’s second term.

Maybe a little, no a lot of, gridlock and compromise will help things along this time around.

Whoops!  There we went and said a bad word: ‘Compromise’.  You think it is written with only 4 letters, wouldn’t you nowadays?

But it is not, most definitely not when our Founders worked on forming the United States in the first place. They ‘compromised’ their brains out in Philadelphia in 1787!  You think the big states like Massachusetts, Virginia or South Carolina at the time were ‘wild’ about giving tiny little states such as Rhode Island 2 US Senators to vote on issues that directly affected them?  Do you think the anti-slavery forces in the North were ‘wild’ about allowing the ‘peculiar institution’ of slavery to remain intact in the South and, on top of that, include 3/5th of every slave to count for Southern presentational purposes in the House?

Nobody went home after the Constitutional Convention in 1787 completely 100% ‘thrilled’ with the results of the new thing they called the American Constitution.  No one.  James Madison probably cried himself to sleep every night because his original plan had been gutted and amended by those delegates who were ‘intellectually inferior’ to him such that ‘only’ 60% of what he proposed actually got passed.

In fact, some of the best legislation ever passed by Congress has the following characteristics:  No one is completely happy with the results of the legislation and feels somewhat disheartened by it in total.  But there is usually also something in the bill that they absolutely love and wanted to get passed somehow, someway so they negotiated it in there and went home at least 50.0000001% happy.

Would we be so fortunate as to have 60% pass of what the Bowles-Simpson Commission is going to recommend for our nation right now!  We are in a steadily declining financial situation relative to national debt buildup. Every day we wait to pass something to arrest its accumulation is a day closer we have to some really crazy economic outcomes like rampant inflation, out-of-control interest rates and further debasement of our currency.

Maybe we’ll be lucky like Philosopher-King Mick Jagger says when he sang these prophetic words:  ‘But you might find sometimes…you get what you need.’

Like hundreds of billions of dollars of spending reductions that lead to deficit-reductions of a massive scale proposed and passed by some adults in Congress.

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