Fiddling, fuming, prolonging a disaster

Published 12:53 am Friday, July 15, 2011

Stocks fell Monday amid news of Europe’s debt woes “and a setback in negotiations over the (U.S.) borrowing limit,” The Associated Press reported.

On Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned lawmakers that defaulting on the nation’s debt “would send ‘shock waves through the entire financial system,’” AP noted.

Nationwide, unemployment exceeds 9 percent; the jobless rate is considerably higher than that in some places.

In June, companies pulled back on hiring, pointing toward growing fears about the economy.

Anxiety persists over the future solvency of Medicare and Social Security.

But President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans can’t reach an answer to the debt-ceiling question.

Risking obsolescence, and a possible collapse of our economy, the major political parties and their leaders continue a cynical manipulation of public opinion.

Despite the tremendous risks in the debt-ceiling debate, our highest elected officials seem more concerned about scoring points with their respective bases than in solving the problem at hand.

Washington, D.C., is shot through with partisanship – that’s to be expected. What’s unfortunate, and unwarranted, is that partisan rancor is blocking progress on the No. 1 issue facing America: the national purse, our country’s ability to meet its financial obligations.

A default on U.S. debt is unthinkable; yet, another year without meaningful spending reform is unimaginable. The most practical solution will lie in an evenhanded mix of spending cuts, revenue-generation and debt control.

Compromise is – has to be – the word of the day.

As a nation, we must learn to ignore repeated blasts from the corporate-controlled media megaphones wielded by commentators on the right and left. We must urge our leaders to listen to the more moderate voices back home, the voices that matter – the average voters’ voices.

After all, the average voters – not the think tanks, the professional politicos or the big bosses – are the ones who pay the bills.

Maybe partisan gridlock isn’t too alarming in the good times when the Capitol theater is fun to watch. But, in times of crisis, this theater of the absurd must close, and there absolutely must be a meeting in the middle.

If we don’t learn this lesson soon, we might as well pack up, turn off the lights and post this sign at the coast: “America closed for business – future uncertain, dreams deferred.”