We are in the midst of a national crisis that makes gun violence inconsequential by comparison, no matter how tragic or heart-rending the consequences. The over $16 trillion national debt is a catastrophe so massive that it will sink this country as surely as the dialogue over controlling firearms will be used to distract us from what lawmakers and our president are failing to do: deal with spending and the federal deficit as they face another debt ceiling showdown.
Should the year end with a National Night of Anger and Outrage, a chance for Americans to show how they feel about the news coming from Washington? There are still three weeks to go before Congress and the White House misrepresent whatever groundbreaking compromise they cook up as part of a deferred decision on tax rates and spending cuts.
Federal legislators running their mouths for the media have made their biggest problem worse. Now that members of Congress are finished being thankful and have to get back to work, they must live up to several weeks of post-election hype about working together, about compromise, about setting aside partisan differences, and about doing the right thing for middle income Americans.
Remember the Republican Pledge to America, the conservative retort to the president’s failed American Promise (see: The Lie Behind the President’s American Promise)? The GOP contract talked about “unparalleled recklessness with taxpayer dollars,”¹ proclaiming:
The need for urgent action to repair our economy and reclaim our government for the people cannot be overstated.²
When Democrats gather around the campfire do they scare each other with stories about the Tea Party? The specter of fiscal responsibility has terrorized the GOP’s spendthrift opposition since 2009, a lurking reminder of Congress’s predictable failure to do anything about debt, deficit, and federal spending.
In less than three weeks Congress gets its wake up call. Campaigns will be over. For better or worse, voters will have made their decision. We will be two months away from taking a nosedive over Washington’s painstakingly constructed fiscal cliff.
How comical that our nation’s biggest bully spearheaded an anti-bullying campaign while bulldozing Americans into swallowing White House recovery spending. While the president and Mrs. Obama warned about the long-term effects that being bullied can have on our kids, we should have asked how we allowed ourselves to be forced into funding “spend and ruin” economic policy.