Monday, December 13, 2010

All Wound Up - And No One To Blame But Themselves

Today may mark the beginning of a new week for most people, but the primary action most of the news and infotainment outlets will be reveling in is the same childish toy they've been playing with for several weeks - winding up Democrats against the Obama/McConnell extension plan for the Bush Tax Cuts.

We agree with many of our colleagues in the media that the tax cut debate - and the cost of any proposed tax cut - is critically important. However, we also believe that - as usual these days - much of the unnecessary media noise is pulling the focus away from several real issues.

One of those issues was displayed vigorously by Independent Senator Bernie Sanders to his colleagues on both sides of the aisle last week.

Senator Sanders gave an eight-and-a-half hour long speech on Friday, with an enormous amount of proven economic data. While it wasn't technically a filibuster, it is exactly what a real filibuster should look like. This is a key problem with the current U.S. Senate - that Senate filibusters look nothing like what Sen. Sanders did on Friday.

Currently, for a Senator to hold up any - or ALL - legislation in the U.S. Senate, they effectively only need to THREATEN a filibuster, which charges no real cost to any Senator to hold up the business of the entire country. The increasing abuse of the filibuster over the last decade - especially by Republicans - has turned the act of using a Senate rule designed for defense into an aggressive, cowardly, craven, act of bullying.

Bullies seem to have multiplied in certain corners of DC, and throughout Wall Street over the last few years. Unfortunately, so have those people who seem too willing to play the victim.

As anyone who has dealt with a bully knows, the first step to defeating them is to stand up to them. Yet, that isn't what our politicians have done as of late.

True fiscal conservatives have been as weak, wishy-washy, and mealy-mouthed over the last decade as the Congressional Democratic majority has been over the last two years. Both the Democratic majority, and the Republican minority knew that the political trap of the end of the Bush Tax Cuts was coming. All the same, both parties kept trying to put off until the third Tuesday after never an event that was - and still is - firmly scheduled for 12AM on January 01, 2011.

What Senator Sanders did on Friday was laudable for a host of reasons, not the least of which was the breadth, depth, and accuracy of his speech. However wonderful his speech was, the fact remains that equally serious and intense public debates over proper rates of taxation, as well as America's fiscal responsibilities, should have been happening throughout the last decade.

Instead, partisan bullies in Washington simply set up a faceoff of Republicans against Democrats, like a child playing war games with his new Christmas toys. Unfortunately, we have no doubt our colleagues in the media will follow a similar script this week, as they continue to wind up the Democrats against President Obama. Meanwhile, the real fiscal conservatives will likely cower in the corner offstage, as they have for most of the last decade.

Don't be surprised when we call the lot of them a bunch of spoiled, cowardly children who long ago should have put away their political toys and handled the people's business like real adults.

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