You’re probably as frustrated with Congress as I am, as their approval rating just sank to the lowest level since they started tracking this in the 1970s. 18% of American’s think Congress is doing a good job. 18%! Wow. that means in a room of 10 people, one or two may say that they’re happy with what is going on in Washington. I’d hazard a guess to say that these one or two people, are the 20% that don’t stay current with what is going on in the world, after all, it is a sample of the general population isn’t it? Can we go further to say that for Americans who care, that the disapproval rating is near 100%? Perhaps. So why don’t things change?
What I find interesting, is that despite the huge disapproval rating for Congress overall, the average American will still say that their Congressman or Congresswoman is different and that on an individual basis, many Americans are happy with them. This dichotomy has been true since the beginning of American politics. This is what needs to change. We need to wake up. The system is becoming to polarized, to the point that nothing gets done. I know, the system is supposed to have checks and balances, but we’ve gotten passed that point. What proof do I fall back on as I make this claim? The US Budget since the 1970s.
For most of my adult life, Congress has been arguing about the state of the US Budget. The solvency of Medicare and Social Security has been discussed for as long as I remember, with arguments going both ways. Now, I’m not an economist. However, it has been pretty easy to watch as these programs, along with others, slowly slipped into trouble. I believe that last year Medicare and Social Security started paying out more than they took in. That, is a problem. It was predicted. It was debated. Yet nothing changed.
The same can be said about the US Debt. I was happy that Standard and Poors downgraded the US credit rating. Congress and the Federal Reserve seem to think that we are too big to fail. That is a very dangerous game to play, especially for the leaders of our country. We are not too big to fail. Was the Roman Empire too big to fail? How about the Ottoman Empire? How about Japan during the late 1970s? How about the British Empire? No. They all were big. And they all failed. We can too. If you don’t think so, you have blinders on. There is a name for this and it’s called Groupthink.
Getting back to Congress, what makes matters worse is that the stupidity continues. After Standard and Poors downgraded the US credit rating, the Republican Party was quick to point out that President Obama and his administration were to blame. Mitch Romney in particular is very busy pointing an accusing finger at the Democrats. Congress needs to wake up. This problem was mishandled by both Republicans and Democrats over the last 40 years. Personally, I blame them all. Blame them for what? For not Leading With Honor.
I cannot believe that despite all the warnings about the state of the US budget, that Congress couldn’t come up with a credible plan to start us back down the road to solvency. They were all too busy sitting in their corners, refusing to budge. They are taking a short term approach to what should be a long term solution. It took us 40 years to get where we are today. It should take us 40 years to get out.
What needs to happen? We need to stop coddling our own Congressman and woman, and demand that each and every one of them start looking to the long term. A framework needs to be developed that will help them prioritize what is important to our country. For example, we cannot let the poor, the hungry, the disabled go without help. At the same time, we cannot let the wealthy not pay their fair share. Yet, we cannot help everyone and we can’t lay the entire financial burden on just the wealthy.
So, what to do? Write your Congressman and let them know that you want them to start acting in the best interest of our country. Not just their agenda. That you expect them to come to the table with an open mind looking for long term solutions. That each member of the House and Senate needs to lead with honor.
All the best!