Guts and Governing: Congressmen focused on own interests, not ours
by Tom LaBarge
Columnist
December 31, 2012 11:47 PM | 1154 views | 2 2 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
At last, thanks to the so-called “fiscal cliff,” we have incontrovertible proof of the overt inability, if not misguided character of the contemporary Political Class.

Several generations ago — and some will argue more than a century ago — the role of government was to govern via the creation and implementation of good, sound, growth oriented public policy that encouraged the economic and personal development of our society and Country. The goal was to expand opportunity across all walks of life simply by making opportunity available in a wide variety of forms. Everyone won — private and public sector. As such, for much of our national history, this strategy worked — evidenced by our eventually becoming the economic engine of the world. In the process, we created a middle class that became the envy of untold millions, in nations across the globe.

But somewhere along the way, most notably beginning during LBJ’s push for “Great Society” legislation (or perhaps FDR’s New Deal, however unintended), government morphed into a consumer of economic growth, as opposed to a creator of opportunity. The change was simple. Politicians, and their handlers, replaced long-term, strategic management aimed at strengthening our country financially as well as socially — with news cycle-based, sound-bite management targeted only at individual political advantage (or lack of political disadvantage) without any regard for proper, wise public policy benefiting our nation as a whole.

The debate in Washington regarding tax policy appears to be the endgame of the descent of our government into its current state of nothing more than bickering fourth-graders bent on claiming the win during afternoon playground recess.

Regrettably, both sides have their heels dug in, while maneuvering for the best finger-pointing opportunity — instead of simply getting down to business seeking a cooperative solution designed for the benefit of 315 million of us, as opposed to 535 of them (not to mention the Executive Branch), and their legions of supporting bureaucrats.

The focus of government has become themselves, not the country and its growth opportunities. They seek only the expansion of their influence through untouchable and uncontrollable entitlement programs, unwieldy taxation, and redundant regulation, while totally disregarding a private sector slowly being starved to death.

The cowardice of our politicians is clear in their failure to face the facts: The road they have been kicking the can along is a dead end. And their silly inability to realize this has boxed them into a corner.

But what are they doing to fix this and get on with the business of the country? Nothing — other than more blaming, bickering and finger-pointing, simply because no one has the guts to say what all of us desperately want said: “Enough, already. Just stop this nonsense.”

No one in Washington — Republicans and Democrats, as enabled by a culpable media — will admit their ever-expanding-bureaucracy / kick-the-can management / never-jeopardize-a-single-vote method of government has been a total failure. They may simply be incapable of this.

Government (at all levels) has become a business of its own. But it is an odd business: It does not create any product or revenue; it only consumes revenue by taking — ultimately in the name of expanding itself. And now, it wants an unlimited ability to borrow because it is afraid it can’t tax much more out of a fragile economy to feed its ever-growing revenue needs. In terms of economics, what part of this guaranteed failure don’t our politicians get? And why not?

This “fiscal cliff” debacle is far more than an argument between adolescents on ideology. Further, it is more than the usual Washington-style debate where facts aren’t important, nor is the welfare of individuals across the country. It is instead entirely demonstrative, and the logical result, of at least 50 years of an errant, imprudent approach to governing. The egos of our politicians have expanded into a “Government is the only solution — and we are the government” mentality.

The contrary is actually true. Politicians, and their inability to reverse the conditions they have caused, have become the root of the problem.

Therefore, the solution actually is for government — collectively — to acknowledge its short-sighted mismanagement of the world’s greatest economy, fire the political image-handlers, then get to work rebuilding a country.

But we shouldn’t look to them to realize this. They are already too busy positioning, preening, and chasing cameras for sound bite opportunities to actually understand what we — out here in “Realityville” — want them to do:

Go back to governing for the growth of our opportunities, not for theirs.

Tom LaBarge is a business analyst based in Kennesaw.
Comments
(2)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
Kevin Foley
|
January 01, 2013
I'm not sure what history you are referring to here, Tom: "Several generations ago — and some will argue more than a century ago — the role of government was to govern via the creation and implementation of good, sound, growth oriented public policy that encouraged the economic and personal development of our society and Country."

The Founders originally envisioned a nation that would benefit people like them, an elite class of white, landed men. They wished to become America's aristocratic class, not unlike the aristocratic class of England. Women, the poor, minorities were, at best, second class citizens.

For the next 125-150 years they mostly got what they wanted. The few did extremely well. The rest just got by or fell by the wayside (sound familiar?).

Teddy Roosevelt began to reform this and his cousin FDR continued the reformation after the elite class ran the country into an economic ditch (sound familiar?).

The political intransigence of which you write is a fairly new phenomenon. As recently as Ronald Reagan's terms, Democrats and Republicans worked together to solve the big problems. Cooperation and bipartisanship began to fall apart during the Clinton era, was briefly revived after 9-11, then deteriorated into what we have today.

anonymous
|
January 01, 2013
--RE: "The debate in Washington regarding tax policy appears to be the endgame of the descent of our government into its current state of nothing more than bickering fourth-graders bent on claiming the win during afternoon playground recess.--

If only it were so innocuous, Mr. La Barge. Unfortunately, I think even the republicans see the situation in exactly this way. They are stupidly clueless to the very serious and intentional drive of the leftists that we have in the WH and in congress today, who are (deliberately and very successfully)marching this country ever closer to being a subject of China and/or Russia and/or the muslim brotherhood.

The republicans are still sitting around waiting for "their turn" in power to come back around. The people of this country have been sorely served by the Republicans of the Bush years and today. If anybody is acting like four year olds, it is the majority of the Republicans - incapable of articulating a coherent and sensible thought without sounding like they are regurgitating some talking points prepped by a goofy 20 year old staffer - who think what this administration is doing is just part of "the game".

The left is acting like bold, skilled and dedicated professionals intent on pushing their leftist agenda down the throat of the people of this country...and they do not care what anyone says or thinks about it.

This "ain't a game anymore". It's time to get rid of the four year olds.

2014 is going to be a bumpy ride for the incumbent republicans - Particularly if John Boehner remains speaker and they keep listening to Karl Rove and the Steve Schmidts of the world.

*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, and spam will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides