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My Turn: Enigmatic, dysfunctional Washington

By M.J. Simms Maddox

Most people do not like change, especially when it brings about adverse effects on their livelihood. Whether due to the failure to innovate, to live within our means, or to invest in education, energy and infrastructure, the American economy of yesteryear is gone. Exacerbated by the self-imposed folly of the congressional Tea Party and conservative Republicans, the American economy has been primed to worsen.
Instead of working with the president to develop a plan to shore up the economy, Congress chose to delay their responsibility and kicked that can down the road. They did agree however to pay more interest on the nation’s debt over a longer period of time. Consequently, America is adrift. Small wonder Standard and Poors reduced its credit rating.
Equally at fault are those spineless congressional Democrats who held the reins during the first two years of the Obama presidency. Most evident was their lackluster support during the healthcare reform debate and, more recently, the debacle to raise the debt ceiling.
Most startling has been America’s top congressional leader, House Speaker John Boehner, who has proclaimed, “I got 98 percent of what I wanted.” Mr. Boehner, it is not about you. Americans need jobs.
As Congress continues to play its game of ‘No,’ Germany has eked out the lead in the G7 Economic Summit —66 years after its defeat in WWII. Others such as Sweden, and several Southeast Asian and South American countries, particularly Brazil, likewise enjoy economic success.
That the Tea Party/Republicans’ primary goal is to prevent the re-election of the president is indisputable. In fewer than eight months, they have generated dissonance and divisiveness beyond comprehension and contempt. Like moles, the TP/Rs burrow about the corridors and tunnels of the nation’s capitol, rivaling reality television. This they do despite the adverse effects on the economy.
American democracy operates in tandem with capitalism. President Obama initiated the TARP and bailed out corporate America; the next move now belongs to corporate America. Mom and pop shops and ordinary people also desperately need access to capital. Those people are drowning in debt and diminished self-esteem. They are unemployed. It was they who subsidized those trillions of dollars in cash assets the corporations now sit on, not the well-to-do who enjoy wrongly sanctioned tax cuts and loopholes. Corporate America, Americans need jobs.
Where was such unwillingness to cooperate with and disapproval of President George W. Bush? Few stones were cast when the economy tanked under his watch October 2008. Few even mention the impact of the wretched Iraqi and Afghan Wars on the deficit; that would be unpatriotic. Nonetheless, by all accounts, dissonance during the Bush administration or any other in recent memory dwarfs when compared to the magnitude of outrage perpetrated against President Obama.
Plainly, American society is undergoing significant transformation, but much of its harshness is self-imposed, and its angst misdirected. Even so, whether or not President Barack Obama is re-elected, the next chief executive will surely face a similar insurgency from yet another dysfunctional Congress.
Hunker down folks! It will take a while to purge the nation’s capitol of that strange cancerous species permeating its corridors. One must remain however hopeful that the ultimate fallout will be something for the greater good. For surely, America is better than this.

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M.J. Simms Maddox is a freelance writer and associate professor of political science at Livingstone College. The views expressed herein are hers alone. 

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