Tuesday, April 25, 2017

What next for Congress?

Sorry for the delay- I was indisposed for the last two weeks, in court, experiencing first-hand the workings of the civil law system. And I can attest that the system is a conglomerate mess.  But, that is a story for another day. Or book. (My old agent called me out of the blue and we had a nice chat- so he has me on yet another project).

Speaking of messes- what is going on in Congress?  The Republicans has a numerical advantage, enough to get legislation passed, but except for slight efforts around the edges (which help everyone, losers oppose and gain support, winners win and gain support, and the rest of us sit wondering how any of it helps us in our daily lives.)

The pending budget crisis (read: raising the debt ceiling because no one, and I do mean no one, cares one whit about ever paying back what our country has collectively borrowed over decades), approaches yet again.  President Trump demands money for his wall, and Democrats, realizing that they always have the advantage opposing cuts (they are real and hurt), will stand firm.  Not on principle, but because they understand the dynamics always favor avoiding short term pain for long term gain.

The budget problems have grown so immense that we gloss over their significance.  But I think that they demonstrate the fundamental and growing realization that we have a government that does not govern.  Every decisions is kicked down the road; numbers dont matter, and there is no sensible way to measure if a program succeeds or fails.  Every program, once created, generates its own acolytes, and they mobilize to hold tight to every cent. In each annual budget that follows, the beginning numbers start at last year's ending figures, insuring increases.  Each agency insists that  every program is essential, every jet engine or toilet seat necessary for the safety and security of the Republic.  No cut (which in DC parlance means that the number arrived at is not as high as the one we first asked for, and of course, we asked for an inflated number  so we could call our increase a cut) is possible, because since that loss of dollars will cause cancer to run rampant, ISIS to rise in your neighborhood, and the air to become do dirty it will choke out the sun.

We delude ourselves and lose faith in our leaders, and then, each election, re-elect them at higher and higher rates.

Are we at the end of governance? Is every bill passage a success? Can we even measure the value of what we do, because we do not know the purpose of what we want?

The seeds of collapse are sitting right there. All it will take is one budget crisis pushed to shutdown not for days, but months, or for one T-bill sale where no buyers show up.  And we may not be all that far removed from either.