Grandstanding is not governance – not even close

As someone who follows the news and used to hold most elected officials in higher esteem, I am continually frustrated with the absence of good governance in Washington and various state capitols. Rather than governance, I see grandstanding for sound bytes to beat the other party over the head with. The purpose is to remain or regain power, where they will be in charge of doing nothing to govern.

Several Congressional representatives and Senators have retired or are retiring. The principal reasons are the disillusionment with the open hostility between factions and the fact over 1/3 of their time (some said 40%) is fundraising for the party. Let me say that last part in a different way. We taxpayers are paying for elected officials to hit us up for money between 33% and 40% of the time.

In essence, elected officials are more interested in keeping their jobs than doing their jobs. A further frustration is the number of folks who just don’t bother to reach out to all constituents and only care about their own party. The truth has become a casualty. And, what is sad is those who pay attention to the news know many of these elected officials are lying and know they know they are lying, but they lie anyway.

Grandstanding is a pronounced way of lying drawing attention to the person so doing. To me, it is akin to a gorilla beating on its chest to make an opponent cower and not fight back. Right now, we have an entire party that is OK with the US defaulting on its debts. Increasing the debt ceiling is to address what we have already spent or decided to spend, which the same folks did not seem to mind doing. Or, they cut revenue which also increased the debt.

In fact, many of these same folks voted on a tax bill in December, 2017 that reduced taxes on corporations and wealthy individuals which raised the debt by $2 trillion, approximately. In essence, we added to debt to make a pretty good economy a little better for a little while. Per the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, we must do both – cut spending and raise revenue to address our deficit and debt. The math will otherwise not work.

I have shared with several Senators it is OK to push back on spending to make sure we consider the best investments, but grandstanding on a debt limit that you helped make worse is not the place to do it. Before the pandemic, the US was around $22 trillion in debt with a $1 trillion annual shortfall on our budget ($3.4 trillion in revenue on $4.4 trillion in expenses). After needed pandemic stimulus, we are even worse off on debt and scheduled to be even further behind.

The last time we had a debt limit standoff was about eight years ago, led by Senator Ted Cruz (who by the way voted for the tax bill increase noted above increasing the debt). Our allies pleaded with us not to renege and when the US was within twenty-four hours of defaulting, ten female Senators from both parties told Cruz and others to get out of the pool for an adult swim. These ten women resolved the matter and the US did not default.

Our debt and deficit has been caused by both parties. Do not let either party say it is the other one’s fault as that simply is not true. And, we need for both of them to be involved to remedy this. Unfortunately, no one has the stomach to do what it really takes to resolve this. Any elected official can spend money and reduce taxes. Any elected official. But, that is precisely the problem. We need serious discussion with data and not grandstanding. Grandstanding is not governance.

26 thoughts on “Grandstanding is not governance – not even close

    • Holly, thanks. It is sickening. Between Texas and Florida, there are a lot of people being deceived by the two governors and elected officials. We have too many real problems in those states to have to waste precious time and money on what they do focus on. Keith

      • Holly, that is what it looks like from afar. Plus, his climate change stance is ludicrous for a governor of a state surrounded on three sides by ocean and with the most at risk large city in the world due to rising sea levels in Miami. The water is already encroaching on Miami Beach with more “sunny day flooding.” Keith

  1. Hello Keith. Sadly the elected officials do not work for their constituents the people, instead working for legal bribery called donations. The truth is the working lower incomes cannot donate as much money to bribe a Senator or Representive, but the wealthy and large corporations do. Money has been called speech and the more money the louder the speech. So much for a government of the people for the people.

    To the current situation, you described it well on the debt ceiling. However the posturing on the infrastructure bills is misleading and disingenuous. The larger bill has ways it is all paid for so as not to raise the debt ceiling, while the smaller bipartisan bill doesn’t have the same paying mechanisms and does add to the debt. But the people now trying to get out of raising the debt love the bill that adds to it because it doesn’t cost the upper incomes and gives public infrastructure to private business. Socialism for the wealthy is loved by them. Yet they hate the paid for bill that doesn’t add to the debt because it raises taxes on those who can afford it instead and gives the benefits to the public. So because of this I have to say motives are clear, it is not the debt that is the principled stand but greed of the wealthy oligarchs running the country through their bought / bribed elected officials. Hugs

    • Scottie, I won’t argue with your comments on greed and how the oligarchs influence Congress. These oligarchs bought and paid for that tax reduction through donations. In fact, they told the GOP Senators and House members they would cease funding if the bill was not passed.

      We need the infrastructure bill as we are ten years overdue on that. Yet, we need to be mindful that we need revenue to pay down current debt as well. What frustrates is we should have been paying down at least the deficit when the economy was better, but the 2017 tax reduction did the opposite. Keith

      • Hello Keith. I totally agree with you. That is what makes it so frustrating that the package that is paid for is being blocked. The bill that was claimed to be bipartisan is not paid for and adds to the debt. I wonder which one has more support in government circles. Hugs

      • Scottie, the infrastructure one will garner the most support as it is long overdue and bipartisan, regardless of its price tag. I just hope it can get across the finish line as it will help shore up deficiencies. The other bill will not get through, which is your point. It has some good things in it, but it will only fly at a reduced level. Keith

      • Hello Keith. Sort of, but not really. My point was more to your post about the debt ceiling. Let me try again. I am trying to express how despite what they may say in an interview or on TV our elected officials do not seem to really care about debt or paying it down. If they did walk their talk they would pay for both bills or pass the one paid for. I don’t think they care about the debt really. Hugs

    • Bumba, I don’t doubt you heard a higher percentage. I saw a Congressman say 40% in an interview a few years ago, so maybe it has gone up. With so few bills passed, it is not like they are too busy. They do run for office 24 x 7. This one reason they changed from running on campaign BS and governing off facts to just governing off the BS. Like the former president, some of these folks would not know the facts if they tripped over them. Keith

      • Campaign finance reform. Shorten time between nomination and election. De-legalize the PACs, publicly fund elections. Yikes. Hard to get the money out. How to get rid of Washington lobbies?

      • Bumba, the only way is to make them. Relying for the elected officials to fix a system they benefit from seems futile. We need a party that keeps the focus on reform and governance. If they stood for these things and kept their word, they could win. Keith

  2. Note to Readers: Certain elected officials are known for grandstanding. With social media, it is easier to garner attention to yourself. But, the grandstanding does not usually translate to governance actions. Working with others is what leads to governance.

  3. Hi Keith. I feel like the situation is becoming hopeless. Things just keep going downhill. Very scary times we’re living in.

    • MW, it is hard to be optimistic, with the tribalism in our country so heightened. We must continue to demand better from our elected officials. And, we must seek more truth in reporting. I was pleased to see Alex Jones found guilty of his defamation of the Sandy Hook parents today. This ruling needs to be well-publicized given Jones’ tendency to broadcast conspiracy theories, with one of his fans being a certain former president. Keith

  4. Note to Readers: I thanked several GOP Senators for voting to keep the government open to serve Americans. I added a variation of this post to encourage not using the debt ceiling as a means of grandstanding.

    • Thanks Roger. I think we need some more lantern oil. Have a great weekend. By the way, I love Boris blaming the media for the gas shortage. Those journalists must have drained the pumps during the night. Keith

      • A whole convoy of lantern oil.
        Regarding Boris the general refrain being…
        To paraphrase an old World War I british army song:
        ‘Blame me mother
        Me sister or me brother
        But for God’s Sake
        Don’t blame me’
        Leaving aside the obvious that anyone in government should have seen this coming since most tanker drivers come from the EU and Brexit dislocated the flow of staff.
        Now being a bit of a Devil’s advocate, the UK tabloid press, being mostly pro-government was blasting out headlines concern petrol shortages days before, thus creating a panic within its readership, which naturally spread.
        We in the Remain camp tend to:
        1. Say ‘Yep. Saw that Coming’.
        2. Condemn the Pro-Conservative press for alarmist.
        3. Naturally take a dig at those who voted Brexit now panicking with its consequences.
        Actually where I live (North East Wales) after a brief spasm, it’s back to business as usual at petrol stations.
        The main crisis in in the South East of England where the population density is higher and local public transport not as frequent. (And an area which mostly voted for Brexit and Boris)

      • Roger, thanks for the added context and history. People who get their news from the tabloid press should give anyone else concern as that news should be severely discounted. It is the precursor and sister to social media news.

        What will continue to happen with Brexit is not a surprise as much of this was predicted by financial analysts before the election. Yet, people who wanted to leave were more passionate, so they easily believed the rose colored glass version of what would happen. It is apropos that Boris is overseeing this mess, as he was one of the biggest instigators of it.

        I am glad where you are is more back to normal. Keith

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