The Voters Speak
The voice of the American electorate was heard loud and clear in the most recent election when seven percent of voters changed their minds about who should lead the country during its seemingly inevitable decline. The sharp rightward jog the newly elected members of the legislative branch will bring to lawmaking is widely viewed as a blanket condemnation of anything done in the way of government in the last two years. The broad mandate the voters gave the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives includes bone deep aversion to taxes of any kind and an expectation that a responsible government will find them a job that pays twelve times what a better-educated resident of Mumbai would make. Conservatives hope to even roll back the signature achievement of the Obama administration, health care reform, and return to the solely profit-driven system that has never slowed its progress in bankrupting the nation. They also hope to unleash the banks from new regulations designed to prevent another meltdown and perpetuate the tax structure that has concentrated nearly half of the country’s wealth in the hands of the 1% of the population. The new direction of the nation might properly be viewed as another tack in its two-year-interval, zig-zag course toward the precipice.
Displaying perhaps one of the most consistent threads in US politics, voters approved candidates whose platforms include popular though unworkable or even contradictory elements. Successful office-seekers are subsequently divided into those who are either blinded by ideology, cynically manipulative, ignorant of the facts or simply delusional. The current crop of elected officials has representatives of all four categories. Voters approved a roster of candidates who vowed to lower taxes and eliminate the deficit while not messing with grandma’s socialist Medicare or socialist Social Security, all the while defending the border from hordes of dangerous bedmakers and leaf blowers. They greenlighted isolationists and headburyers; they validated vague notions of waste and ignored the bipartisan growth of entitlements. They elected only those who would promise the impossible and vow to ignore the inevitable. They would prefer that diametrically opposed viewpoints could reach a workable compromise. They are not concerned with a grisly war of attrition on the other side of the globe or whether humans are making the planet uninhabitable. They would prefer the government get off their backs so it will be in better position to hand out goodies with both hands. The last time the government had a “surplus” of cash, (though the outstanding long term debt was already in the trillions,) the newly elected Mr. Bush decided to send everyone a check instead of make a payment on the $20,000 that every man, woman and child in the US had borrowed from China. It was a very popular decision.
The departing, lame-duck congress managed to pass a number of significant bills before it adjourned, which may suggest a thaw in the frosty partisanship which has characterized Capitol Hill in recent years. None of the bills are an attempt to address or even acknowledge any one of the prickly, contentious and profound problems that everyone agrees the nation will face very soon. Most significantly, both houses agreed to kick the “deficit” can down the road for two more years and add another trillion dollars to its contents. “As long as we can focus on the symbolic and inconsequential we should should be able to pass a lot of legislation,” said the probable new vice-chairman of the House “Steroids in Sports” committee, Bjorn Richguy. “We plan to keep posturing for two more years, then expect the voters will return us to power, whereupon we will figure out what to do.”
In Britain, where the country that kept a stiff upper lip during Hitler’s blitzkrieg has recently owned up to decades of financial indiscretions and decided to pay them off, there is some bafflement at failure of the US to confront its spendthrift ways . “It’s too bad those tea partyers didn’t start complaining till after they’d spent all the money,” said Mick Pauper of Newcastle, “now they’re voting to not pay it back. Good luck on that one blokes. You gave King George the Credit card for eight years, and now you’re in a bloody great hole you can’t see out of. It begs the question, “What did you expect?”