Sunday, July 31, 2011

Welcome To The Communal Trough: Budget Talks Still Stalled

The budget impasse continues this morning.  I'm disgusted by the lack of real leadership from any corner.  But I cannot say that I am at all surprised, just severely disappointed in everyone and everything in our entire political morass at the moment.

Buried in a little corner of infotainment passing as journalism at the NYTimes this morning, I stumbled across a nugget that pretty much explains it all:
Wall Street is no longer watching from the sidelines as the most polarizing political fight in years plays out on Capitol Hill. In the last few days, top executives have been in close contact with Washington in a last-ditch attempt to prod lawmakers toward a compromise by Tuesday, the administration’s deadline to reach a deal.

On Friday, Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan Chase’s chief executive, raised concerns with Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner about the standoff over the debt ceiling and its potential to disrupt the system through which JP Morgan and other big banks disburse federal payments. Mr. Geithner assured him that the Treasury and Federal Reserve had taken steps to keep the payment system functioning smoothly, according to individuals briefed on the call.
You see what I'm saying here, right?

Wall Street has not watched anything from the sidelines EVER in the history of government in this country.

Lobbyists make piles and piles of money every year for a reason -- it is profitable to have your hand in every pie in Washington at all times. Always has been, always will be. And Wall Street is all about the profit.  Always has been, always will be.

When journalists gloss over the obvious and don't bother to ask the difficult questions, we all lose.  And that's been happening far, far too often for my comfort level lately.

Sure is nice for Jamie Dimon that he can get Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner on the phone for a confab, isn't it?  Think I'll just call up as an average citizen and see if I can't do the same, right?  (Oh, I cracked myself up on that one.)

Someone needs to ask the following out loud:  who benefits from all of this public kabuki and hand-wringing?  What is getting done behind the scenes of all this confusion, because you know that someone is working the lines around the back doors, so what are they being offered and why? And, more importantly, by whom?  Because following the money trail is almost always the best way to find the motive, opportunity and intent of the actions on The Hill.

Also, why is there such a public lack of consequence for self-dealing behavior by elected officials who ostensibly work for us?  I'd argue partly because no one bothers to ask these questions publicly in the first place. 

You know who doesn't benefit from any of this? You, me and every other regular person I know.

The only people who benefit from this are the people who are keeping this charade going in the first place, so that they can slip in helpful provisions for the generous patrons and donors who fund their re-election bids and to hell with the rest of us patsies who keep voting for them.

If ever there were an argument for a wholesale "throw the bums out" mentality, this abdication of responsibility on the whole morass of this budgetary tempest would be one.  The saddest thing of all is that there are no real leaders any longer -- no one of the stature of Daniel Patrick Moynahan, who would be screaming on the steps of the capitol about now due to all the factually inaccurate public blather that passes as statesmanship these days.

I'm tired of feeling like the entire country has crouched into a defensive posture and is hunkering down for the next round of blows.  We are better than this, or we ought to be anyway.  Yes, there are difficult decisions to be made, but someone has to actually make them in order to DO anything.

Dithering is not leadership.  Neither is posturing in front of television cameras to soak in more campaign donations from the patsies who think you actually mean what you say.

For heaven's sakes, these people are supposed to be working for us, not themselves and their cronies.  Isn't it time we all stood up and reminded them -- and ourselves -- of that fact?

(YouTube is one of my favorite Bob Dylan moments "Subterranean Homesick Blues." Feels like that kind of day here.)

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