You Children in DC – Out of the Pool!

If you have ever belonged to a swimming pool organization, the last part of the title may echo in your brain. When the kids get too out of hand in the pool, a parent or lifeguard will utter to everyone “out of the pool.” Bill Cosby even used this in a comedy routine when God got frustrated with what was going on and uttered these remarks to his earthly children. As I have been watching the umpteenth chapter of children in leadership not getting along in Washington, I keep coming back to this analogy. Everyone, get out of the legislative pool. 

A community group held a session in my city last night and three congressmen were there (the gender reference is specific). There were former leaders, including one of the most collaborative governors NC has ever had – Jim Martin, a former Davidson professor – in attendance. The audience cheered when people said to ignore previous pledges and collaborate with the other side. Two of the congressmen said they still would not compromise on taxes, so I guess they chose not to listen. While this was going on the Senate Democratic leadership decided we need to change the filibuster laws and other processes. Note, the Republicans are against this, but proposed something similar seven years ago, so the two sides have flipped. My question is “Why Now?”

If that were not enough our President, whom I voted for is doing a tour of the country to speak to the American people. The Speaker of the House, who is in a tough position and is also obstinate, is correct in saying let’s start talking to each other. On that point, I agree with the Speaker. So, we need to have done what Senator Bob Dole and other collaborators used to do – get behind closed doors and hash it out.

Not to be outdone, an action by Senator McConnell in October was overshadowed by the election, yet shows how Machiavellian politics can be. The Senator had a report by a non-partisan agency in Washington buried because the data and analysis concluded that trickle down economics does not work. This goes against the grain of what the Republicans are proposing. He cited bias, but I have noted before the definition of bias for non-partisan groups hinges on whether the group agrees with your point. If they agree with you, they are unbiased.

So, everyone out of the pool. Here are a few recommendations to consider before you are allowed to swim again.

– I strongly recommended that both Senators McConnell and Reid be demoted from their leadership positions. After seeing them on “60 Minutes” their effectiveness as leaders, which was poor in my mind to begin with, was shown to have subsided.

– I strongly recommend the President get back to Washington and roll up your sleeves. It is time to get to work on the fiscal cliff. We know where you stand and support the increase in revenue. We need you to negotiate other changes to spending to make the deal happen. Get in a room and hash it out.

– I strongly recommend the GOP kick the Norquist pledge to the curb. We are one of the least taxed countries in the world and were so in 2000 when out budget was last balanced before the Bush tax cuts, which were not needed then or now. Truth be told, both sides are misleading the American public. We need to increase taxes on everyone not just the top 2%. People don’t want to hear that, but that is the truth. At least the President is addressing some of this.

– I strongly recommend you listen to your leaders of departments who have recommended cuts, especially in defense spending. We can cut defense and stay strong. And, we need to cut judiciously on social programs. But, cut we must.

– I strongly recommend you reshuffle seating in Congress and have a permanent mixer. This was suggested by a retired congressman. If people mix together, they may start talking more. People in Washington used to have friends across the aisle. Well, let’s start with eliminating this “across the aisle” geography, so more dialogue occurs. On a side note, I want news organizations to stop mentioning party in their narrative. Just say Senator or Representative and where they come from, not what party they belong to.

– I strongly recommend the Speaker continue down the path he started. I saw a willingness to negotiate. Although I disagree with some of his positions, he is wanting to be at the table. In some respects I feel sorry for Boehner as he has to herd some hard-headed extremists in his own party and deal with Norquist and his pledge.

– I strongly urge Democratic leadership to listen to the real mandate they got from the public and that is to cooperate and lead. The GOP got the same mandate and should be doing the same thing. So, stop posturing and get to the table. We need revenue increases and spending cuts. The math does not work otherwise.

A blogging friend who writes under has argued to let us going over the fiscal cliff. It abruptly does what needs to be done with revenue increases and significant spending cuts. Also, the 2% FICA payroll tax abatement expires along with other changes. Intellectually, it would be interesting to see that happen, as long term that is what we need. Smarter people than me have said the abruptness may send us back into a recession, including Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, two of the saner people in this debate on what to do.

Yet, there is an optical problem that goes with going over the cliff which is noted above. If you cannot agree on something when people say the result of inaction is a crisis, how can we expect you to act when it is less of one? So, irrespective of whether going over the cliff will cause a recession, the inaction is a leadership crisis. So, you cannot get back in the pool unless you heed some or all of these suggestions and get with it. I honestly am tired of reading about the posturing. I don’t want to read anymore until you emerge from a room with a deal. Work it out for all of our sakes.


4 thoughts on “You Children in DC – Out of the Pool!

  1. I agree with you, but I expect they will not talk until after we go over the cliff. Then they can make serious compromises without losing face. That is to say, IF they are ever going to talk it will not be until then. But some great suggestions here, BTG!

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