It’s official. Our government is broken. Watching the debate over the debt ceiling over the past few days, it has become more and more apparent that our government no longer works for the people. Our forefathers founded a nation “for the people, by the people.” Today, our nation has a government for the politicians, by the politicians. This is unconscionable. It is time our leaders begin to work, once again, for the people who elected them. The squabbling over the nation’s debt and deficit is not brain surgery. Whether you are liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, we can all agree that our nation has stopped working the way it was once supposed to. There was a time when the leaders who were elected may not have agreed on everything, yet they were able to come together and work for the American people. For over two hundred years, Congress has passed debt ceiling legislation to keep this country working. However, as this is being written, the extreme right-wing of the Republican Party is holding this nation hostage and making demands which most of American does not agree with. There is no longer room for compromise. There is only mine and theirs. Gone are the days of give and take and now it is only take, take, take. This is unacceptable. This should be unacceptable to all American citizens.
How did we get to this point? How did the greatest nation in the world reach a point where it could default on its financial obligations; not only to other nations but on its own citizens? It is a very long and winding road, starting in the early 90’s. In the era of President Clinton, Republicans began a sharp turn to the right. This turn right was solidified with the election of George W. Bush in 2000. He encouraged the right wing to not compromise, as he never compromised either. Add on top of that the huge tax cuts he enacted in 2001 and 2003, the two wars he started along with a brand new entitlement, which was unpaid for and the debt began to add up. Instead of paying for his cuts and wars and entitlements, he chose to pass that on to the future. Where the Republican party used to be the party of fiscal restraint, they because the party of spend, spend spend. While Democrats became the party of “tail between-the-legs.” Democrats do not have a back bone and Republicans do not have any humility. Even though they only control one house, they are acting as though they control the entire government and anyone who gets in their way, be damned.
What do we do? How do we get out of this mess? It is time the Democrats and the President stick to their guns and not allow this debate to be hijacked by the minority party. If that means this country defaults and government shuts down, so be it. The issues involved here are too grave to roll over and play dead. They should not and cannot give-up more than what they have already. It is time to be responsible for our spending. Taxes must be raised. Loopholes must be closed. Revenue must be increased. It will be a tough stance to take. Taxes are a dirty word and people are not comfortable voting for someone who raises taxes. Yet, that is what must happen. The free ride is over and our government must begin to lead and do what they were elected to do. If anyone else took a job and all they did was yell at other co-workers, they would be fired. Here they are re-elected. Protest votes do not work, that just ensures government will not work even longer. You can be a minority leader, have a voice in shaping legislation and still lead the way they were elected.