Is anyone really that surprised? It is such a sad commentary on the lack of real statesmen and women in our federal government today from the White House to the US Senate to Congress.
They have folded their tent due to 'irreconcilable differences' between the 3 Republicans and the 3 Democrats on the committee. Sounds like a bad marriage, doesn't it?
Why didn't these leaders in Congress, which now 'enjoys' (sic?) an 8% approval rating in the American public eye, come to some agreement at the very minimum to save some face and prove that American representative democracy still offers the last great hope for mankind on earth?
We think there are a few basic reasons:
1) There was no immediate 'pain' associated with failure. The automatic 'sequesters' or spending cuts, where 50% will come from the defense department are not scheduled to take place until FY 2013, almost a year from now.
A year is a very long time in politics and government. Waiting that long gives Congress and the President every chance possible to rewrite the law; try to figure out a way to neuter the sequester and find yet another way to avoid making the tough decisions we elect them to do. They are good at that, aren't they?
We wonder what would have happened if Father Abraham (not Lincoln) had given the Hebrew men a full year to think about whether they would accept the terms of God's Covenant with them.
'Ummm, Abe, that is a mighty big sacrifice you and Jehovah are asking of us here. I mean, can't He come up with a better way of us showing our faith in Him like wearing a badge or painting something on our foreheads instead of, well, using a sharp rock or shell to circumcise us? Can you give us a full year to think about it first?(Abraham would have never become the Father of Anything under those circumstances)
2) President Obama completely abdicated his responsibility as Chief Executive Officer of this nation to work with Congress and provide leadership for this Super Committee process. He started the process when he set up the Bowles-Simpson Commission in 2010 but failed to follow through and ask his fellow Democrats to introduce the Bowles-Simpson recommendations in legislative form earlier this year.
Apparently, he completely washed his hands of this process and did not participate in any of the negotiations this summer and fall. According to Keith Hennessey, President Obama and his Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner spent more time negotiating with the European governments about reducing their budget deficits than he did with his own American government!
What is the deal, Mr. President? Is the fate of Europe more important than the fate of The United States of America, the country you took an oath to lead and protect against all danger?
3) There is not enough of a groundswell politically to rid ourselves of people now sitting in Congress who do not grasp the enormity or gravity of the fiscal and economic dilemma we now find ourselves deeply mired in.
When was the last time you got a solicitation to support a group called 'Get Rid of The Deficit, Now!'? You surely have seen commercials from the AARP growling that 'if anyone touches our Social Security or Medicare benefits, we will kill you!' or something to that effect.
You surely have seen news stories or read about Grover Norquist's 'Tax Pledge' (which makes us laugh every time we hear it as we remember Douglas C. Niedermeyer's famous words to Flounder in 'Animal House': 'A pledge pin! On your uniform? Just tell me, mister, what fraternity would pledge a man like you?')
We often wonder what would happen if a duly-elected sitting incumbent US Senator or Congressman just said: 'You know what? In the best interests of this nation that I love and have the honor or representing, I am going to vote for this package of $10 trillion in spending cuts in return for a $1 tax hike on the head of every single taxpayer in this country'.
Would Mr. Norquist be duly chastened and embarrassed? Such a simple trade-off exposes the weakness of the tax pledge; anyone who would reject such a deal would be lucky to even qualify to get into an insane asylum because people would think they were too nuts in the first place.
Or would Mr. Norquist go after said Senator or Congressman with tooth and nail like some crazed bully after he had been punched in the mouth?
No one looks good in this. Not President Obama. Not the Democrats who control the Senate. Not the GOP which controls the House. No one 'wins' when every part of our elective government looks like spoiled (and not very smart) school children hurling sand at each other in the sandbox at recess time.
We think the time has come to just unlock the floodgates to the dam that has been holding back many people from going down to their local Board of Elections today and change their registration to Independent. That way, neither the Democrats nor the AARP on the left or the Republicans and the Tax Pledgers on the right can hold you captive from supporting smart, reasonable people who can see this economic conflagration for what it truly is, which is a direct threat to the future economic health and prosperity of this nation.
And stop sending money to any organization like the AARP or Grover Norquist. Send your money only to people you think are sentient, coherent people with experience in the private sector with integrity who decide to run for public office against the seemingly brain dead people who are now representing you in Congress.
Like in 2 months. Next year is the year. Maybe, just maybe, the good people of this nation will run against every incumbent in every congressional primary and general election, maybe dozens at a time and finally get rid of the people who have gotten us into this mess and who now are not doing a darned thing to get us out of it.
Nothing. Nothing at all. Not very inspirational, is it?
Thanks, President Obama and the US Senate and Congress. For showing us how brave people in the past had to have been to make the sacrifices they did to get us to the 21st century.
Because you guys are not up to the job.