‘All shook up’ over the economy
Stubborn congressional liberals and “my way or the highway” Tea Party zealots are laying a heap of hurt on all of us. Hey, kids, it’s time to climb out of the sandbox.
As this is being written the stock market is bouncing around like a deranged pogo stick. Businesses, the working stiffs, retired folks— we all are wondering if our elected representatives can agree on a direction for our country.
Mr. Pearce, Mr. Lujan, Mr. Heinrich, Mr. Udall, Mr. Bingaman, we’re not buying your pap that America is worried about the deficit or the downgrade. America is worried that you guys can’t stop squabbling like junior high boys on the school playground.
America is like the scrawny kid with freckles on the first day of school wondering who’s going to beat him up next. Whoever thought the town bully would be the guy who clapped us on the back and asked for our vote?
Elvis had a song for you guys: “A little less conversation, a little more action please. All this aggravation ain’t satisfactioning me.” Enjoy your recess. Then get ready to return to Washington and cut a deal.
Congress walked to the edge of the Grand Canyon, decided it didn’t want to leap, and passed a debt reduction bill with a spending cut of $2.1 trillion. It doesn’t get the job done. Think of a guy on the fat farm eating a gallon of Rocky Road but making a big deal to cut sugar from his coffee.
Congress has to make tough decisions on the budget. Lobbyists will wander congressional hallways with padded wallets, unlimited expense accounts and promises of campaign donations. Their message? “Cut spending, just not my spending.”
You know the drill, though, fellow Americans. These lobbyists are not buying votes. They are just gaining access. They are just a valuable tool to help “educate” our elected officials. Oh, my aching butt.
Here’s the thing, Mr. Pearce, Mr. Lujan, Mr. Heinrich, Mr. Udall. Mr. Bingaman. put aside your tiresome ideological diatribe, your chest-thumping braggadocio about how you are such a champion of America. We’re sick of it. Just get the job done.
We all have to give. Health care costs have to be chopped, entitlements have to be limited. Defense spending has to be sliced and you need to finally follow through with your promise to cut waste. One year after his election, every congressman who campaigned on cutting waste should have to publish a list of projects he has cut and the jobs he has eliminated. Not in some other district, but in his own district.
You want to torpedo what some derisively call “Obamacare”? Have at it. But tell us how you plan to help that family in your district that cannot afford to get sick, the mom and dad with no recourse but an emergency room at its “walk-in clinic.”
A special message to a club where I pay dues. Please, AARP, knock off the TV ads daring Congress to mess with our 50-million member organization. How is that any better than the strong arm tactics of the health and defense industries?
There are two types of folks getting Social Security checks. Those who need the money to pay their electric bill, as opposed to the Starbucks and country club set. The latter doesn’t need cost of living increases. Ever.
There are lots of us enjoying the benefits of Medicare who could afford to pay larger deductibles. Do it.
Cutting the deficit by slashing programs for the poor without seeking tax reform that targets the rich is wrong. You folks who are sitting pretty are going to have to pay higher taxes. Sorry.
This is going to be a painful transition. We all need to share the hurt. Let us never become the country that can afford the war but can’t afford the poor.
Listen again to Elvis: “We’ve got to patch it up baby before we fall apart at the seams.”
Syndicated columnist Ned Cantwell – firstname.lastname@example.org – occasionally gets All Shook Up.