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The Confusion of Politics Remain
As a result of the 2010 congressional mid-term election there was a dramatic shift of our national political landscape.
To the delight of voters there was a resounding message sent to Washington that business as usual was being put on notice!
In a nutshell, the political party pendulum was swung forcefully in the direction of the Republican Party.
In particular the subset of first time representatives who arrived with raving enthusiasm and unwavering support from the coalition known as the Tea Party.
The Principle of Ideology
Some assert that the sweeping victory of Tea Party candidates was a national mandate demanding immediate broad based fiscal reorganization, and adherence to a stricter interpretation of the Constitution and limited government.
Now in and of themselves these ideas and principles are arguably solid in concept, as well as worthy of healthy debate and careful consideration in the appropriate context.
The first major contentious flashpoint to the " mandate " appears to be the all out political warfare against raising the national debt ceiling.
Common sense tells us that managing ones finances in particular by cutting back on unecessary spending and keeping spending below the level of income or revenues coming in is absolutely critical as an individual.
Since a nation is made up of individual citizens, family, communities, local and state governments, the total sum of its parts should reflect the same reasoned and pragmatic understanding of reality.
In other words if we as private citizens need to balance our budgets and spend less than we make how much more should our federal government!
Despite that practical awareness, the notion of a balanced budget being tied together with the lowering of the national debt has never been a principle position of either political party’s ideology.
The feature to operate within the means of our national economic expansion and Gross Domestic Product revenue creation has been routinely partitioned into complete and separate debates.
Origin of the Debt Ceiling
This can be explained by taking a close look at the history of the national debt ceiling. According to the Congressional Research Service from the founding of our nation until just prior to World War I Congress approved all major spending for the federal government.
This responsibility transitioned upon our entrance into WWI. With the passage of the Liberty Bond Act of 1917 Congress authorized the Treasury Department to operate under a defined ceiling of public debt. The debt was secured with four issuances of bonds. These were between April 1917 and Sept 1918 for a total of 17 billion dollars to over 13.4 million Americans. Obviously times have changed, as we now face a public debt of nearly 14.5 trillion dollars!
Initially this authority was given in order to conduct the operations of the war without an over encumbrance between Congress and the military to approve spending. Later it was expanded to include other national government expenditures.
Without pointing to any particular Party culpability, Congress has routinely raised the national debt ceiling.
Since 1980, the ceiling has been raised some 40 times!
Including the following :
Ronald Reagan - 17 times
Bill Clinton - 4 times
George W. Bush - 7 times
Barak Obama - 1 time ( so far )
As a statement of fact President Obama has presided over just one rising of the debt ceiling so far which was in December 2010.
Therefore it can be said that Americas Presidents have a well-established history of raising the debt ceiling regardless of political party.
The Conflict of Governance
Therefore ALL politicians and their respective political parties have some part of the responsibility for the ugly set of circumstances we face with our national debt.
To be fair, the present administration did inherit some devastating drivers of the current predicament that were largely in place before he came into office.
For years and years under BOTH political parties have continued to raise the “ debt ceiling ” on a regular basis. When the economy was growing and expanding there was never the slightest bit of a crisis.
Just to be clear, as a veteran and generally conservative voting citizen, I agree that fundamentally America needs to get its runaway spending under control.
My issue is with the new wing of the Republican Party, which is dictating that spending cuts must be done in a draconian manner, while insinuating it’s their way or the highway!
I argue that this country is too big and too diverse for either Party’s total ideological one-dimensional solution. We need a strong, balanced and fazed in approach to getting such a huge problem solved.
It’s true we need spending cuts, and perhaps “ Obamacare” restructured and improved to insure cost controls. At the same time we also need investment in our national infrastructure, a vision for new job creation at home and across global markets. In addition we are long overdue for a balanced revision of our tax code to get our country producing and growing again.
Time to Compromise
In today’s modern political climate somehow the word compromised has been promoted as something that stands for exposure to vulnerability or danger.
As if all definitions of compromise are equivalent to a dirty word.
It is made to be synonymous with suspicion or lack of integrity as in
” there’s a compromise in the bridge ahead therefore we can’t go forward. “
I argue that the exact opposite is true in that taking a more comprehensive viewpoint to all those who have skin in the game is always the correct way forward in terms of navigating the conflict of governance. Compromise is not a dirty word!
My instincts tell me that the American people want to see their government work together and function in representation of the greatest country on earth!
We are all quite sick and tired of the status quo - polarized politics as usual.
Years ago when I learned how to type, one of the keyboard exercises we practiced was a funny little sentence which seems to fit so well regarding all of this…” Now is the time for all good men (women) to come to the aid of their country. “
Let it be shown that those elected as representatives of our great nation can compromise, come together and get through this impasse.