OUR VIEW: An all-time low for US Congress?The United States may be suffering from the worst Congress it’s ever had.
The United States may be suffering from the worst Congress it’s ever had.
What else can be said about the failure of both Congress and its so-called “supercommittee” to make any progress whatsoever on reducing the federal debt or balancing the federal budget?
The supercommittee was created during the summer and given months to come up with a plan to restrain the country’s ballooning debt. It also was given free rein to address pretty much any or all aspects of the federal budget. Yet on Monday we all learned that the supercommittee had thrown up its hands and given up, even under threat of automatic cuts that could be triggered without a supercommittee plan.
How pathetic. We realize the federal debt and deficit are large and complex problems, but we are so sorely disappointed at our elected officials and their complete failure to make even minor progress on fiscal matters.
Our own congressional delegates from South Dakota — who were not on the supercommittee roster — apparently didn’t have much of anything constructive to offer, either.
Republican Rep. Kristi Noem claimed the supercommittee’s failure was a sign of overwhelming politicization in Washington, yet she went on to claim that “Republicans were willing to meet halfway.” Republican Sen. John Thune blamed Democrats, claiming they want to “increase taxes on America’s job creators.” Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson said Congress “cannot afford to keep putting ideological purity ahead of common sense.”
In case you’re not fluent in political-speak, allow us to translate what all three said: It’s the other party’s fault.
We wish our congressional delegates and everyone else in Congress would wake up. If partisanship is really the problem, they should stop being partisan in their statements. Instead of talking about one side or the other and “ideological purity,” don’t mention politics at all. Start talking about ideas to fix problems.
Many of us outside of the Washington beltway realize that deficit and debt reduction will have to result from some combination of spending cuts and increased revenue. Our politicians on both sides of the aisle should start with that realization instead of hiding behind their sacred cows (an example is Thune’s stubborn protection of “job creators,” which is a term so overused that it’s become worthless political jargon).
We can only find solace in the calendar, which shows elections approaching in less than a year. If things haven’t changed much by then, a straight-ticket vote might be in order — not in favor of one party, but against all incumbents