Sorry for the length, but I didn't have time to write a short blog.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Update...Do We Accept Less?

The plan to try and rig the election by changing how states cast votes for the Electoral College has basically collapsed.  Between media attention and various members of the party clearly uncomfortable with the idea the first bill to be put forward which was in Virginia died in committee.  Even governors who had first expressed mild endorsement of the idea have gone the other way in their support.  While there is cause to be glad that the Republican idea to split electoral votes is going to go nowhere, one must wonder at its meaning.

We seem to be more accepting these days of a much lower expectation in our politicians.  It's not that the plan has died, but that it was ever even considered viable.  Instead of saying good job at coming to your senses, we should still be appalled that it ever occurred.  We seem to be expecting less and less from our leaders.  They fear "being put into a primary,"  and they refuse to do the right thing or take a tough stance.  Always trying to keep the country going while playing to the base.

Take for example the House's passage of the raising of the debt ceiling until after the vote on sequester (massive cuts in government spending) and the continuing resolution (a resolution that funds the government).  While refusing to tank the economy again, which we congratulate, the house has again placed the debt ceiling in a position where it can  be used should they not get the deal they want on the next two fiscal crises.  There also seems to be little doubt that there will once again be a stop gap measure.  It seems to have become the norm.  Never before has any group threatened to use the debt ceiling as a political tool until recently.

It actually remains unclear why we have a debt ceiling because it really is, simply put, the guarantee the US will pay its debts.  It is not, except for interest on borrowed money, new spending but spending we already committed to make.  To use it and create one artificial financial crisis after another is not laudable, but any more it seems accepted. "Well done, Congress.  You didn't crash the economy" instead or "Why would you even consider doing this?"

Even Wall Street seems to have accepted that we will continue to" kick the can down the road" in finances and that this is becoming the normal way of things in Washington.   When they clearly had a chance to make a deal that would solve many problems with Washington's spending and deficit problem, a deal was made instead that set yet another self-imposed and artificial crisis. No one was outraged at the fact that congress and the president went on vacation rather than getting the job done.

Our congress works very few days for the money.  They average about 140 to 155 days per year. Although we don't actually know how many of the meetings our elected officials were suppose to attend that were actually attended by members of their staff. Last September when they could have easily been working on solving the Fiscal Cliff, they went into recess until after the election.  In other words, they created the need for the last minute deal having walked away from negotiations. Were we outraged? No, they prevented the fiscal cliff with an artificial crisis by their own creation.

We are not outraged that last year this congress accomplished about half as much as any congress before it.  We are not outraged by this obstructionist policy. We are not outraged by the gerrymandering of districts.  We are not outraged that there are suddenly voting machine shortages in districts where one party will have a higher turn out.  We are not outraged that lobby groups hold sway over preventing new laws when the majority of the nation clearly support them.  We are not outraged that congressmen and women make pledges to a single group or individual that are in conflict with the reason they were elected.

No, we've lowered our expectations of our leaders and congratulated them on not doing something they clearly should have never considered to begin with.  When will we be outraged?