Hot Topic: *@!$%$^+&$! (That’ what readers have to say about the federal government.)
James Madison’s worst nightmare has come true in the shutdown of the federal government. Writing in Federalist 10 in support of the new Constitution, Madison described the dangers of faction in a democracy. He described faction as a group sharing a common self interest working in detriment to the community.
We now have the 21st-century version of faction. The Tea Party Republicans, in their zeal to repeal Obamacare, have shut down the government and threaten default, both in detriment to the community. Madison and the rest of the framers came up with a system of government designed to curb the detrimental effect of faction, and for 223 years, for the most part, it has worked. Until now.
In 1790, we also had Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton – two men, opposed politically, who were able to put aside partisanship and do what was right for the country as a whole. In 2013, we have John Boehner and Ted Cruz. Neither one will ever be compared to Hamilton or Jefferson. The French philosopher Joseh de Maistre wrote, “ Every nation gets the government it deserves.” If that is true, this shutdown is on us. Because we do deserve better, in 2014 we must do a better job of choosing that government. One that works for, not against the people.
Albert Einstein once defined insanity as repeating the same experiment, over and over, while continuing to expect a different outcome. The Tea Party-dominated Republicans have voted 43 times in Congress to repeal Obamacare. Hasn’t happened. I’m thinking that the Tea Party Nitwits need to sign up with Obamacare to get some mental health treatment.
‘If you play with fire, you could burn our house down,” is a warning many of us received as kids. Now that axiom is haunting our nation.
I have studied dozens of civilizations and empires that have come and gone. Many agree that civilizational decay is, to a large extent, caused by a boring rot from within more than from armed threats from outside. I cannot grasp the current reality in which a small group of members of Congress are willing to play with the fire of shutting down our government so they can overturn a law passed by both houses of Congress, signed by the president and upheld by the Supreme Court.
We can already see the wreckage of this foolhardy decision: hundreds of thousands of workers laid off, basic services denied and national defense compromised. How can we ask the people of Tunisia, Egypt and Syria to look to us as the shining example of democracy?
Why are we, the most powerful nation in the world, bleeding our way to decline from self-inflicted wounds? Our GDP is $16 trillion while China, the second largest economy, is a bit more than $8 trillion. Our military forces are equal to the next 10 nations’. We lead the world in innovation. The educational systems in states like Massachusetts and North Carolina are among the best in the world. The list of our world-class assets goes on and on. If we could only look around us with ideologically cleansed eyes, we would see ourselves as a great nation that could be even greater if we worked together to build a more just society where all our kids would have a fair chance to succeed. Then we could legitimately be a shining example to the world.
GOP deserves more blame
Since we are at an impasse about Obamacare and spending money, I’d like to add my two cents:
I hold the president at fault for not being more aggressive before it came to this impasse, but the Republicans and the speaker of the House are more responsible for the following reasons.
1. John Boehner is more concerned about his title of speaker then the betterment of the country.
2. He is more afraid of the anarchists in Congress, aka Tea Party members, who want to make America into a third-world country, a direction we are already heading.
3. We hear from the speaker about compromise. But “Give us what we want and maybe we’ll give you what you want” is not compromise but a form of blackmail.
4. Even some Republicans in the House are starting to break ranks with the speaker, so he may lose anyway.
5. You wonder how important this all is when they take the weekend off and still collect their salaries and benefits. Their $174,000 salary is too much to pay them. It’s probably chump change compared to what they get from lobbyists, which should be outlawed, and big business and trade unions, which should also be outlawed. These would require a vote of Congress, and it would never happen.
Washington is full of criminals masquerading as politicians. Extortion is something the government is well-versed in, considering it has been confiscating the hard-earned wealth of Americans for well over 100 years. However, the government calls it taxes, so the average person thinks that is okay even though it is morally wrong.
Individuals in the media are placing all the blame on the Tea Party for jeopardizing the full faith and credit of the United States. However, both parties destroyed that generations ago when they thought they could create false prosperity through deficit spending. Until the corruptocrats on both sides offer up concrete proposals to cut spending and pay down the national debt, the American people should get used to the federal government being shut down.
The U.S. government is broke and cannot pay its obligations; that is why President Obama is asking Congress to raise the debt limit. After years of reckless spending on both sides of the aisle, the government has racked up a total bill of $220 trillion-plus (the $16.7 trillion Americans see on the debt clock does not include the unfunded liabilities of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid). Each year the unfunded liability portion of the national debt grows to the tune of $11 trillion. This independent analysis is based on the work of Laurence Kotlikoff, economic professor at Boston University.
Blame the media
There’s plenty of blame to go around for the government shutdown, but it’s the liberal media that’s most responsible because it doesn’t hold President Obama and the Democratic Senate accountable for their actions and inactions.
For example, a senior administration official said the following last week: “We are winning. . . . It doesn’t really matter to us” how long the shutdown lasts “because what matters is the end result.”
So Obama and his Democratic cabal in the Senate are going to hold America hostage because they know the liberal media will let the get away with just about anything.
Last week dozens of bills came out of the Republican House to keep government running. What did Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and the Democratic Senate do to keep the government running? Absolutely nothing. I admit that Obama worked real hard last week making sure that World War II veterans couldn’t see their memorial by ordering it barricaded along with other open-space national monuments and cemeteries. If Obama put as much effort as he has done to ensure that America experience as much pain as possible during this shutdown into trying to avoid it, we would be in great shape now.
Someday America will demand a responsible media where a president and his administration aren’t allowed to act like dictators. This new and responsible media will make sure that everybody is held accountable and administrations will not be allowed to get away with investigating themselves. Then all Americans will be better off.
Different cup of tea
Know what we need? A Progressive Tea Party! You know, 30 or 40 radicals. Next time Democrats are in control of the House of Representatives, we can threaten to block continuing budget resolutions and (best ever) refuse to increase the debt ceiling unless the Defense Department budget and our nuclear warheads are cut in half! After all, we American taxpayers pay to own and maintain 5,000 nuclear warheads. Then there are those pesky spare jet engines we don’t need and programs Congress insists upon which the military does not want (but benefit their districts).
It’s such a pain doing all that honest negotiating during budget fights. A Progressive Tea Party could just hold Americans and the economy hostage until we get those nukes/DOD budget, each, cut in half. Why not?