Shutdown

The Ghost Of Congress Future

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer usually includes a small segment in which he gives his personal take on the latest news. His segment yesterday moved me enough to highlight and memorialize. He takes us on a travel with the ghost of congress future where Washington, D.C. functions and works the way it was intended. The transcript is below along with the video.

I had a dream the other night. The Ghost of Congress Future took me on a flying tour of Capitol Hill and I could not believe what I saw down there. Both houses of Congress were filled with members. There were lively, spirited, informed debates going on. I am used to seeing members speak to an empty chamber. What is going on? I said. Oh, the ghost said, the people threw out the whole bunch you knew after one of those shutdown government debacles and the people demanded new rules. We pay Congress by the hour now, like most of the other government employees, and they don't get paid anymore unless they are legislating. But it is Friday afternoon, I said. Why aren't they back in their districts? Because the people stopped paying their travel expenses, the ghost said. They get one round-trip bus ticket back to their districts a year. So most of them just stay here and work. They have actually gotten to know each other and it goes a lot smoother now. Well, you must pay them well, I said. Actually, we cut their pay, the ghost said. The people decided a public office shouldn't be the most lucrative job someone ever had. We pay them about what school teachers and people at nonprofits make. It is amazing. We are getting a whole different class of candidates now, folks who do it for the same reason teachers teach. They want to help others. Then I was awakened by a noise. Some guy on TV was reciting talking points. In Washington, the nightmares don't come when you are asleep, but more often when you are awake.

The New Normal

By: Juven Jacob

The nation woke up today to a continuation of Senator Ted Cruz holding the floor of the senate in a faux filibuster. There was no legislation he was holding up. There was no vote he was preventing from happening, unlike what a filibuster is meant to do. In fact, Cruz negotiated the terms of the "speech" with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Cruz, the junior senator from Texas, just put on the biggest publicity stunt of his career for his future aspirations to be President. He turned the United States Senate into a theatrical show reading "Green Eggs and Ham" and citing references to White Castle Burger, the WWE and of course bringing up Nazi Germany and comparing fellow Senators to Nazis for not wanting to shut down the government. Ironically, I don't think Senator Cruz understand the moral of "Green Eggs and Ham," which is basically don't knock it 'till you try it. So someone should explain to Cruz that the Affordable Care Act has yet to be implemented.  

Sadly, all of this brings me to the point of all of these theatrics. Washington, D.C. seems to be in a permanent state of dysfunction. In other words, the damn thing is broke. And for the foreseeable future. Not even a national presidential election turned the tide and forced both sides to some kind of compromise. For a brief moment, we saw the GOP tiptoe towards the middle and seem to want to compromise after the shock of the election but that "rebranding" and "renewal" is officially over.  So what will the rest of the President's term look like? Most likely the economy will teeter on a painfully slow recovery, grasping for air as the sequestration cuts deal it blow after blow. The so called "Grand Bargain" on tax reform and entitlements is all but defeated along with immigration and any meaningful jobs recovery or infrastructure bill. The government will continue to function from continuing resolution to continuing resolution, which will likely bring demands from the tea party that will keep the economy and the American people on the brink of a shutdown or a government default. We have become the nation of governing by crisis. One can only hope that the next election brings about significant enough change to push both parties to the bargaining table. The economy and the American people cannot continue to live under the threat of a shutdown or a default because adults in Congress can't seem to get along and do what they were sent to do — govern.