Sunday, July 17, 2011

Of Debts and Budgets

Bob Schieffer, an old journalist from the days when journalists were still objective, had an excellent comment today on Face the Nation. Since members of Congress need to raise millions of dollars to enter and stay in office, consuming nearly all their time, it’s logical that those who seek to become our representatives are good at raising money (and making promises to those who give them that money). Are they also good at negotiating, compromising, governing, being true public servants? Not so much, it seems. All that requires a different skill set.

The Congress of the United States needs to de-couple two issues the Republicans seem to be coming close to persuading the public belong together.

One issue is raising the debt ceiling. It must be done. And soon. Very, very soon! The idea that this country could become the next Greece two weeks from now is shocking beyond belief.

The other is adjusting the budget. There is no doubt that this country is spending too much money. Two wars (Afghanistan and Iraq) and another military undertaking (Libya)? Subsidies to farmers who grow corn or raise pigs? Wealthy industries that drill for oil or shave tops off mountains? American companies that do not pay taxes on extra-border earnings? It’s all too revolting to contemplate. But it must be dealt with and the sooner the better – after the debt ceiling has been raised and we can – at least for a little while again – stop living on the sharp point of the needle.

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