It was a bad week for our democracy. Sure…our country narrowly averted a financial default, but the cost of this protracted distraction and last-minute rescue will be felt for years to come. It seems the public…and most of Congress…has been relegated to ‘observer’ status, concerning the most important decisions of several decades. In addition, the forced outcome runs counter to our economic recovery and our constitutional form of government. This method of governing is dangerous and costly…and it cannot be practiced for long without dire consequences. Now, more than ever…we should be certain that the deliberative and balanced governance that is our heritage and strength must be trusted to lead us into a sustainable future. Every American needs to know…THAT’S why we deliberate!
Even highly trusted conservative voices are appalled by the tone and outcome of the debt ceiling debate! If you know David Frum, you know him to be a person of impeccable, conservative credentials. If you don’t know David Frum, you need to!! His scathing assessment of the recent debt ceiling deal appeared on the CNN website…and it is a must-read! The link is available below…read it and share it. In addition, here’s a tweet from David Frum yesterday to let you know exactly how he feels: “What will US society look like post-recession? Thus far: rich exempted, poor crushed, middle class facing bleaker retirements.” THAT’S why we deliberate!
This evening we learned that our country’s credit rating has been reduced from AAA to AA…this will cost taxpayers millions of dollars in increased interest payments on our debt. Why? One primary reason lies with the bull-headed insistence by Republican leaders that no revenue increases would be included in the debt ceiling deal. When Speaker Boehner announced proudly that the deal was ‘cuts only,’ I thought to myself…there goes the credit rating! Didn’t you?? The bi-partisan Simpson- Bowles commission clearly stated in their findings that it is impossible to reduce our long-term debt without increasing revenue AND decreasing spending. Standard & Poor’s had already made their expectations clear. Everyone knew the debt ceiling deal didn’t take our debt problem seriously, because it didn’t include any revenue increases. THAT’S why we deliberate!
During the whole debt ceiling debacle, we saw nothing but back-room deals by a few politicians with over-inflated egos…yes, this includes even our President. We had lots of mystery and drama, but there was very little to give the public any confidence in the practice of democratic principles. What happened to the promise and the hope for greater transparency in government? The secretive and intrigue-filled negotiations of various ad hoc small groups created a wonderful opportunities for our news entertainment media to guess about what was or wasn’t happening, but this isn’t how we run an ‘open government.’ Transparency in critical decision-making was totally missing. THAT’S why we deliberate!
Wall Street finally woke up to the fact that the debt ceiling deal will be devastating to the economy. Duh!! During all of these D.C. negotiations, big-money investors went about their business, thinking everything would be okay…wrong! Now, they realize that perhaps 1.8 million jobs will be lost between now and the end of 2012…and somehow they were surprised. The huge cuts in federal spending will end many, many private sector jobs in infrastructure projects, research and development, and productivity advances. This kind of outcome is clearly counter-productive when our economic recovery is still incredibly fragile. At least, do no harm! THAT’S why we deliberate!
And…what’s with this ‘Super Committee?’ How does anyone think this arrangement is constitutional? Especially those who are constitutional fundamentalists…how can this work in your view of the Founding Fathers? I’m not a constitutional fundamentalist, and this makes me cringe. 535 elected representatives now entrust 12 of their colleagues to create legislations that cannot be amended…just voted up or down…with horrendous consequences if they fail. No accountability…no transparency…they just dish responsibility to a handful of people and dash! Pathetic…and I believe unconstitutional. Republicans forced us into this corner…Democrats were complicit…the President signed off. THAT’S why we deliberate!
It was a bad week for our democracy! Will we remember when we decided to do something about it? When we get downgraded to AA credit rating…when we let a handful of people decide critical public policies in secrecy…when we allow our elected leaders to damage our fragile economy…when we choose to dramatically reduce accountability and transparency for political expediency…we might be ready to shout together, “THAT’s why we deliberate!!”