Budget Rant #1: The Federal Morass

[Climbs on soapbox] I’ve been reading news headlines over lunch and getting more and more annoyed:

USA Today: Blame game intense as government shutdown looms
NY Times: Shutdown Near, No Sign of Compromise
LA Times: Still no deal to avert government shutdown
SF Chronicle: Time’s up: shutdown looms without agreement

Have these clowns forgotten who elected them and why they were elected?

Let’s start with the “who”: Michele Bachmann, the poster-girl for the Tea Party, who thinks the GOP hard-line is not extreme, was elected by 52% of the vote. Not 100%. Just because you don’t vote for your congresscritter doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a voice. John A. Boehner, the speaker? 66% of the vote. Harry Reid, the senate majority leader? 50.24% of the vote. Not a single elected senator, congresscritter, or even the President has 100% of the vote. This means they need to represent everyone in their district, and that means compromise.

Now, let’s turn to the “why”. Congresscritters and senators are elected to do the business of government: to investigate, and to pass legislation. It is a waste of taxpayer dollars to pass legislation you know has absolutely no chance of passing the other house and the President. You heard me: a waste of money. It has to be printed, circulated, debated, researched, and so much more that to do it for something that has no passage chance is foolish. Yet what has our congress been doing? Passing bills for political showmanship that they know have no chance in the other house. Bills must be crafted to represent the needs of all Americans—even those you might personally disagree with. The bills… and the budgets and appropriations… must represent that compromise. They haven’t been, and this is why we’re in this mess.

For all the talk of Tea Parties and going back to the original spirit of America… well, America was founded on compromise. Hell, Congress was a compromise, a way to balance the power of the small states and the large states. The original constitution was a compromise. The strength of America is in the diversity of opinions we can have, and perhaps what we need to be looking for is not positions that make one group happy at the expense of another, but a solution that makes everyone equally unhappy. To put it another way: a compromise is a position where you’ll be happy about somethings, and unhappy about somethings, and those somethings will differ from person to person, but the balance is sufficient that you can accept it.

We need to do something to remind our congresscritters of this, and the fact that compromise doesn’t just come from one side. [Climbs off soapbox]