Elected federal officials from both major political parties have acknowledged that the message sent by voters in this month's election is for compromises to be made to avoid the "fiscal cliff" and to boost our sagging economy. At this point, however, it would appear that any meeting of the minds in Congress is but a pipe dream, that instead, entrenched positions are going to hold, the interest of the public to be set aside once again. As the parties pay lip service to cooperation, they are talking past each other and have placed us on a collision course with disaster.
The position of President Obama and most Congressional Democrats is that the George W. Bush tax cuts be permitted to expire at the end of the year for higher income individuals and the Republicans, led by House Speaker John Boehner, generally refuse to allow taxes to be raised on anyone. Perhaps most outrageously, it has been suggested that the can be kicked further down the road by an extension of the tax cuts for one year without putting into place any permanent policy, an action which would reward Congress for failing to do its job for years.
Mitt Romney stated within his ill-fated presidential campaign that he would not accept even one dollar in tax increases for every ten dollars in spending cuts. I do not like tax increases to be imposed on anyone either, but this type of bull-headedness is a means of ensuring stalemate and inaction.
I wonder how in heaven's name compromise is going to occur when many of the intransigent have been re-elected and new members brought to Congress based upon representations to the electorate that they will fight President Obama every step of the way, many having boxed themselves in by being signatories to Grover Norquist's unrealistic pledge that tax increases will never be implemented.
The Founding Fathers established a system of governance in which divided government would often prevail, but with the belief that those we placed in positions of authority and power would reach a meeting of the minds so that the nation would not become dysfunctional and ungovernable.
If a sufficient number of House and Senate members feel that it is their job to obstruct over the next four years, to adopt the "my way or the highway" position, then the body might as well disband and let the nation fall into an abyss because nothing will be accomplished. It would appear that the abysmal popularity of Congress in recent years causes it no fear because most of us have been brainwashed to believe that our representative is fine, that only the elected officials from other districts are flawed.
Are members of Congress willing to accept responsibility and blame for refusing to take evasive action as the economy heads into an iceberg? It would appear so. I fear for our once-great nation.
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