Monday, November 24, 2003

Does Anybody Take This Seriously Anymore?

Is the federal government now a punchline? A board game you play at home, safely free of consequences? If so, I missed the memo. How else to explain the shenanigans of Congress and the Administration. Faced with the difficult choice of setting policy, the energy bill opts to dole out tax breaks and pork to any industry which claims to produce energy. The result, $31 billion in new spending over the decade without a single discussion of revenue. The Medicare bill will add benefits ($400 billion in costs over the next 10 years, virtually none of which occurs before 2007) to a long term insolvent program without a single discussion of revenue. In the case of both bills, the leadership of the House and Senate were moving for a vote before the members could possibly have read the entire bill- drafted in secret with the, ahem, aid of lobbyists, as they were. The same sorry pattern of governance was on display in Bush's $87 billion Iraq Reconstruction bill. The three Bush tax cuts relied on sunsets and phase-ins to fit into budgetary goals. Much like luggage packed in this manner, the budget will ultimately explode from such stresses. And I will be around to see it.

Instead of a serious discussion on these matters of energy, health, war, and fiscal finance, we are treated to an even less serious discussion of gay marriage. Only this discussion is carried on as if it were a serious discussion. As I've argued previously, please. Where does one go in this country if they're interested in governance. Seriously, I'd really like to know. Mississippi is set to be run by a lobbyist (look at his experience, 56 years old and a lifelong party hack). California is in the sure and steady hands of the Governator. Alabama, much to the chagrin of all involved, is still Alabama. Poor New Hampshire is the Free State Project's mark. Where does one go for competent government?

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