The Congressional Super Committee of Twelve has failed to put together a plan to save the country’s fiscal butt before the January 2013 deadline.
Despite having specially mandated super powers to be able to speed through red tape and deliver a plan, they were unable to agree on much of anything. They have not even been able to agree on the disagreements.
Perhaps, they were too busy tweeting or checking their status, but it’s obvious no one was actually listening.
As a result, the mandated cuts to defense and domestic spending, spread equally, are scheduled to kick in, in an effort to bring down the runaway budget deficit. The cuts of 1.2 trillion are deep enough to cause concern about military operations overseas and the shelf-life of a multitude of domestic programs that rely on federal money.
Social Security, Medicaid, veterans’ benefits and food stamps are not in danger of seeing their funding cut.
In the end, though, it wasn’t political regulations that brought down the caped crusaders. It was an astounding inability to see that standing firm when faced with a 15 trillion dollar budget is no longer a virtue.
Waving around untested ideals is also not comforting the financial markets, which are reacting negatively, once again, to the standoffs.
What the American public clearly sees is that we elected people who have no idea how to govern, and instead, would rather stomp their feet in an effort to be right. Rembember what you saw around the Thanksgiving holiday table this year. Rembember the relative who has to talk louder, wave their fork around, and spit out a little mashed potato while they tell you in ever more strident tones, that what they’re saying is not only the right stance to take, it’s the only opinion that will be tolerated.
It’s not pretty.
However, unlike the blowhards who we refer to as family, the Super Committee’s inability to act is going to have very real and painful consequences for the rest of us. Not only will the automatic spending cuts kick in, the financial markets will continue to react negatively, businesses will be shy about hiring new workers and buyers will think twice about looking for a new home.
Everything will slow down even further in what is already a fragile economy. We’re still not so far away from the edge of a double-dip recession or even the greater worry, an actual depression that we can afford to let our political leaders spend much more time ignoring each other.
There are still things the average voter can do besides waiting for another election cycle. First, write down all of the political views you have that mean the most to you. Number them in order of importance. Keep in mind that you’d like to preserve this country and the democratic way we do things for future generations.
Keep whatever’s at the top of the list and become willing to deeply compromise with your fellow Americans on the entire rest of the list.
Show our representatives that we are capable of what they can’t do, and demand they pay attention. Not to some long list of rants about the way things ought to be, but some solid compromises that deal with the mess that is right in front of us.
Compare your list with your neighbor’s with the idea that your goal is to find the middle and not to win.
The complicated, financial mess we have all found ourselves in is too deep to still be walking around with the delusion that winning is a sensible game plan. Surviving all of this with our democracy, our economy and our peace of mind intact is a more viable goal. You can find your representative’s e-mail address at https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml.
Let future generations get back to taking things for granted and throwing their weight around to get their way, and only their way. Let us stand as an example of what’s actually possible in a democracy when we realize what’s really at stake. More adventures to follow.
Tweet me @MarthaRandolph with what you’re willing to compromise. www.MarthaCarr.com.
Martha’s column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc., newspaper syndicate. E-mail Martha at Martha@caglecartoons.com.