Thursday, February 28, 2013
I’ve recently enjoyed some time on Holland America’s Eurodam. Being at sea is how I relax, and I’m really lucky that (so far) I’ve been on 16 cruises, spending nearly 5 months of my life off of dry land. The merits of cruising aren’t the ship to focus on this week. Instead we have to look at the lack of statesmanship of our political leaders as they play brinksmanship once again with the economy.
Surface tension is required to keep ships afloat – the phenomenon where water pushes back on the boat with a force equal to the weight of the water that is displaced. Similarly in politics a tension must exist between the force of two extremes --- in this case having the government continue to spend like a drunken sailor versus the other side that wants to dry dock the government. Compromise … or accommodation even … is essentially that surface tension.
I like to be right. We all do. More importantly than being right, I want results. I won’t stand rigid just to prove that I’m right. I’ll cajole, arm-twist (write blogs) and do a variety of other things to bring people around to my way of thinking – and then I’ll look at the situation and decide whether standing on principal is more important than getting something done.
Washington DC has 435 members of the House, 100 members of the Senate, a President and Vice President – along with some 17,000 lobbyists. Coming to a balance between all of these competing interests has proven to be nearly impossible.
Each elected leader from President to Congressman to Senator has promised to be a person of action – when in fact they must work together to accomplish anything. In our democracy nobody can rule by fiat.
Imagine you’re hiring legislators. The job description that would be put together would say “must work well with others” and “ability to find common ground” as requirements. Yet Americans continue to place people in the job who insist on adhering to their own beliefs first.
I’m as fiscally conservative as they come. This ‘sequestration’ nonsense is just 2.5% of the budget, pennies. Granted it’s not being implemented in a smart way – but that’s all politics. The nation must only spend what it brings in, and if that happened there’d still be this $17 trillion deficit that would have to be paid off. While more cuts are needed – and more revenue too – for now a fair tension would be some small cut in expenses 1% or 2%.
Unless something gives even at a miniscule percentage – the call you hear from the bridge will be to the lifeboat station.