Opinion: Here we go again in Washington
Well, hell. Here we go again. Congress is, once again, earnestly driving the American economy off the fiscal cliff, better known as sequestration. This is a stupid way to run a country. So, what to do? First of all, I would fire all the Republicans, since their bull-headed obtuseness is the primary cause of all this nonsense. Secondly, I would fire all the Democrats, since they are sneaky in their covert attempts to trick the Republicans into committing stupid blunders – which is, unfortunately, much too easy to do these days.
Where does President Obama fit in this mess? Well, he’s not as smart as Bill Clinton, and isn’t the great communicator and leader that Ronald Reagan was. Mainly, President Obama lacks the moral courage and intellectual capacity needed to lead the Congress out of its idiotic Don Quixotic journey – wandering about, lost in the Land of Oz. What a lackluster bunch we have working in our behalf? Jeez.
This time, the Executive Branch and Legislative Branches of government are going to seriously hurt America, and that makes me angry, very angry. Enough already! Why aren’t more Americans raising hell about our inept Congress?
Not to worry. As soon as the damage caused by Washington’s inept and irresponsible lack of action becomes visible, Americans should explode with outrage and unmitigated anger. This time, Congressional obtuseness will hurt America’s economy and American lives. The question of how badly we are hurt will take a few months to be fully appreciated, but that day will come soon come.
America is a divided country and will become even more divided if we don’t make the needed personnel changes in Congress. All the Republicans do is attack government, trying desperately to neuter it. So, all the Democrats do is defend government, primarily to goad the Republicans. Grid lock sets in deeper with each passing year. This must be stopped now.
In the past two decades financial inequality has progressively gotten worse, the structural problems that slow economic growth have increased, and the national debt has exploded. Right now, our country is divided and our policies are stagnant. We continue to have these outrageous budget squabbles while our government’s dysfunction increases faster than our standard of living – which is surely going the wrong way. We must find a way to convince Congress of the need for more robust policies to solve these problems now and in the future. If we can’t convince them to do this, then we need to vote them out of office and elect more intelligent and pragmatic representatives to replace them.
Believe me, if we end up going over the fiscal cliff, it will hurt. In Texas alone, according to the Office of Management and Budget, hundreds of thousands of middles class jobs will be threatened, vital services for children, seniors, people with mental illnesses, and our men and women in the uniform will be put at risk.
If sequestration does take effect, following are a few examples of the impacts on Texas, this year:
Texas will lose about $67.8 million in funding for primary and secondary education, putting some 930 teacher and aide jobs at risk. Additionally, about 172,000 fewer students will be served and around 280 fewer schools would receive funding. Also, Texas will lose approximately $51 million in funds for 620 teachers, aides, and staff who help children with disabilities.
About 4,720 fewer low income students in Texas would receive aid to help them finance the costs of college and another 1,450 fewer students will get work-study jobs that help them pay for college.
Head Start and Early Head Start services would be eliminated for about 4,800 children in Texas.
In Texas, about 52,000 civilian Department of Defense employees will be furloughed, reducing gross pay by around $274 million, which will immediately come out of local economies.
Army: Base operation funding will be cut by $233 million in Texas.
Air Force: Air Force operations in Texas will be cut by $27 million.
Law enforcement and public safety funds for crime prevention and prosecution will lose over one million dollars – $1,103,000 to be more exact.
Border security will suffer greatly. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will have to cut the equivalent of more than 5,000 border patrol agents’ hours in the field, and the equivalent of more than 2,750 CBP officers. Already, CBP has freed hundreds of illegal detainees from detention centers in Polk County, Texas, Florida, New Orleans, N.Y., N.J., Arizona, Alabama, and Georgia.
Over 1,000 FBI and other law enforcement agents around the country will be lost. Person security will take a hit.
National Parks will be closed or suffer very limited operating hours. More importantly, there will be no grizzly bear abatement officers, and the grizzlies will have the run of the parks. Dogs and other family pets, and maybe family members, could be on their menus.
Folks will have to travel with chamber pots, since comfort stations along our interstate highways and in our national parks will be closed.
Many other disasters and inconveniences will be in play. For example, research on aging prevention will be delayed or permanently lost. We will all get much older and more stupid while Congress pontificates, tells lies, and follows “the party line.”
The silly part of all this, is that most of our fiscal problems are not the result of this discretionary spending. Our fiscal problems are the result of entitlement spending – Social Security and Medicare, plus increasing revenues through tax reform. Yet, neither party will address the areas where solutions are possible because they will not put their cozy Congressional careers on the line by addressing the really serious problems. Instead, they will happily inflict misery upon the American people just so they don’t have to inflame the voters and they can keep their jobs.
We the People need to replace the ideologues with folks who put the needs of the country ahead of the ideologies of their parties.