The fiscal cliff saga continues. The same casts of characters remain and the plot thickens every passing day that a resolution hasn't been passed. August 2, 2011 was a date that went down in the annals of U.S. history. It was the day where Congress and the president applied Neosporin and a band-aid on an issue that required much more than a temporary healing agent. For the first time in our history, our credit rating was downgraded. Fast forward the clock 15 months and the country is on the brink of economic devastation once again.
It has become painfully clear that the people we've elected to represent us don't have our best interests in mind. Watching congressional and senatorial representatives literally laugh in the face of danger has been quite discouraging. When the president was reelected last month, the citizens overwhelmingly spoke to the Republican party to stop the partisanship and start working together with their Democratic counterparts. But since then, all we've received in return is the same old flapdoodle and balderdash from Speaker John Boehner and his Republican base.
Political pundits have bickered back and forth about the terminology. Some have deemed it as a fiscal cliff, fiscal slope or fiscal slide. One thing we all can agree on is if Congress doesn't get their collective heads together to find a solution, we're going to be in some deep ordure. This question must be asked: Do our representatives love this country as much as they claim? Politics is a difficult game to play, but when the futures of middle class and poor people are at stake, the time for games is over. There are too many citizens who are under- or unemployed, living in poverty and drowning in debt.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower spoke on the importance of keeping our financial house in order in his farewell address to the country in 1961. Below is an excerpt from that famous speech:
As we peer into society's future, we -- you and I, and our government -- must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering for, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without asking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow. Down the long lane of the history yet to be written America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.
Fifty-one years later, our country has become the exact opposite of what President Eisenhower forewarned our generation against. The astronomical growth of the national debt has been well documented, but the blame should be placed squarely on the shoulders of President George W. Bush and his predecessors for not protecting the future assets of the United States. The incalculable amounts of debt incurred by defense spending, bailing out big businesses and giving tax breaks to the top 2 percent of our population has left our infrastructure in abysmal condition. America was a credit card everyone believed in and now it is quickly losing its value.
The Democratic Party must share an equal amount of culpability for our present predicament. Their complete unwillingness to stand up for the segments of society they supposedly represent has been beyond troubling. Democratic leaders continuously crumble under the pressure applied to them by Republicans on important matters facing their constituents on a daily basis. Many of them vote for measures and bills that inflict pain on the communities that remain blindly loyal to their base, but this type of recklessness must end.
Last summer, President Obama signed into law the debt-limit bill hours before the country was going to default on our loans. Since its implementation, many representatives have expressed their displeasure over the final product because it still left the country at a fiscal impasse. Standard & Poor's (S&P) downgraded the United States credit rating to AA from its impeccable AAA. The move was unprecedented in economic circles, but the debt-limit bill didn't properly address the longstanding monetary issues facing the U.S. over the next ten years.
So -- here we go again watching Congress work on avoiding the fiscal cliff. It has been reminiscent of watching Dwight Howard trying to shoot free throws during a Los Angeles Lakers game. When will the American people get the type of Congress we deserve? Maybe -- this is exactly what we deserve because we keep on voting for these same heinous characters posing as governmental officials. The President has said he will not sign a bill that doesn't have tax hikes on the top 2 percent of our population. He has encouraged citizens to get more engrossed in the political process by calling our representatives and letting our voices be heard. If that is what it's going to take to get Congress to mutually agree on a satisfactory bill, then we must become engaged.
For too long, theatrics and sideshow antics have gotten in the way of true governance. The United States simply can't afford to keep conducting its affairs in this dubious manner. The partisanship within one political party and these self-inflicted wounds are flat out embarrassing. The world is looking at the United States with grave apprehension because we're unable to manage our finances. Americans are sick and tired of watching the same bad show on the same bad channel.
January 1, 2013 is 25 days away. The clock is ticking. For the sake of the country, Congress please remember this one phrase: E Pluribus Unum.
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