I spent much of the weekend thinking about the fiscal cliff, which I think is misnamed. Fiscal cliff implies that the problem is related to money. The problem may end up being a financial one, but certainly the real problem is elected officials that have forgotten to check their egos at the door. They seem to believe they were elected so they can run for office and be reelected, rather than being elected to lead the country. When Zell Miller wrote Corps Values there was no lesion in the book about taking your toys and hiding in the closet. There was also no lesson about jeopardizing the economy or the reputation of the United States for self-interest. Most of the lessons seem to represent God, Country, and Family. There was no I in the equation.
Sending our country over the cliff that was created by the egos of Democrats and Republican is irresponsible. It is time to for all the politicians to remember what their mothers taught them about playing nicely with others. Maybe, Mr. President you should have the First Lady and Dr. Biden bake Congress some cookies and lead them in the Harlem Shake (since they are already acting like clowns) and then tell them play time is over and that they can’t come out of their offices until their work is done.
We need a budget. It needs to protect the least among us (the poor, children, our wounded warriors, the sick, and the elderly). It needs to ensure that we have an adequate defense budget, but one that is not loaded with planes and ships that the military says they do not need while sacrificing training they do need. We need a budget that protects our environment, encourages job formation, maintains or enhances the safety of our country, and ensures an educated workforce.
We do not need lower taxes, tax loopholes for people who are already millionaires and billionaires, or even for me. I will pay a little more to make sure others have health insurance, social security, and the other necessities of life. We do not need to subsidize oil companies, or corn growers, or sugar, or any of the many other things we still subsidize while they get richer and richer. In other words we do not need corporate welfare – the big takers. We also don’t need large discretionary funds, slush funds for governors (you know what I mean), and large travel budgets. The days are over when one must meet face-to-face. Government travel could be significantly reduced, as could lucrative contracts to beltway bandits. Let the federal employees actually do their jobs and stop insisting things be contracted out. It is no longer cheaper and everyone knows it. It is a way to make one’s friends and contributors rich.
We must also get beyond the mentality that small budget items do not matter. Small amounts added together, over time, can be substantial amounts of money. More importantly, the lax approach to small amounts puts Congress in the mind frame that a little here and a little there does not matter. Over time the concept of what is “a little” has changed significantly.
Finally, if you are going to furlough some people and not others that is not helpful. It allows Congress and the White House to pretend they are not adversely impacting the country and families, because the wages lost and the services are not “critical”. Not critical to Congress maybe, but to the people that are impacted it is critical.
If you are thinking it is the other side that is at fault consider this, it takes two to tango. You need to be friends. It is much harder to be unkind to friend, but you will not get to friendship if you don’t go to Church together, let your children play together, and break bread together. Life can be filled with joy, but Congress and Mr. President; you are making it unnecessarily stressful and unhappy for all of us.
Write your Senators and Representatives and tell them it is time to shake hands, share the toys that make up our economy, and play nice. Or, just mail them some of your favorite cookies and send me the recipe. Maybe it will sweeten their dispositions.
You can find your Senator or Representatives contact information at the link below.