Government: System Worked: Barely.

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BrokenCapital.jpg

Broken Capital, Courtesy: Center for Public Integrity

Last night, with less than an hour to go before shutting down the U.S. Federal government, an agreement of intent was reached to avoid the shutdown. If one can call such brinkmanship up to the edge of the precipice, a working system, then our American system worked. The problem with Russian Roulette is that eventually, the chamber actually has a bullet in it when the trigger is pulled.

Rep. Rand Paul (R) has indicated absolute opposition to raising the debt ceiling at the beginning of Summer. Failure to raise the debt ceiling may cause America to default on its debt obligations. Wall Street and economists are warning that a default on our country's debt interest payments, will be catastrophic for the American economy and working American families, sending our nation back into Recession, even deeper this time.


The only way to avoid raising the debt ceiling for the federal government is to immediately and dramatically cut spending for this year, which also presents the potential of sending our economy back into recession. Either the debt ceiling will be raised, or the American people will suffer another recession, potentially worse than the last, and lasting many years. This is the corner our politicians and their political parties have painted our nation into with no way out, except through the suffering of the American people and an across the board degradation in quality of life for American families.

The system may be working, but, only barely. And it is not working for the middle class Americans who are having to work longer hours for lower real wages and less purchasing power per dollar earned, a downward trend in place since the 1970's. The thing about downward trends, is that they can become habitual, eventually leading to hitting the bottom. America's economic standing as measured by the majority of working families, is on a downward spiral. The wealthy are getting obscenely more wealthy, while the middle class is being inexorably pushed to decisions to downgrade their socio-economic status and quality of life, in order to remain financially viable.

Tons of books are, and have been, written about why these events are unfolding as they are. At the source, however, the reason is fairly simple. Our two party political system is one incapable of establishing and maintaining long term planning and implementation. For all the strengths of our Constitution and rule of law, the political system has been failing America's future by increments, until the next incremental failure pushes America off the cliff.

With each switching of Parties in control of our nation's future, the plans developed to insure our future are canceled and reversed by the new incoming party. Republicans lower taxes when in power, and Democrats raise taxes when in power. Republicans deregulate industry and consumer protections when in power, while Democrats increase them. Republicans install supply side economics favoring the wealthiest and corporations when in power, and Democrats install demand side economics and social safety nets when in power. Over time, the benefits of both parties policies to insure our nation's future are canceled out and accomplish nothing in insuring the future viability of our nation and children.

This constitutes a fundamental and potentially lethal flaw in the American system with regard to the future economic viability of our nation. Political parties did not exist when our Constitution was signed and when our first president was elected. Our founders, therefore, did not anticipate, nor compensate for, the potential chaos of a polar opposite two party political system.

In other words, there are no checks and balances on this two party system which is now incapable of following through on plans for our nation's future. This system worked, as long as America had enormous untapped resources at its disposal to employ, and carry the nation forward regardless of the political system's inadequacies.

American expansion in territories, in industrial potential, and in technological potential overcame the insufficiency of the two party system to follow through on long term policy implementation. But, those decades and centuries are behind us, and this barely working political system is doomed to fail the nation. Judging by the headlines today, that failure will arrive sooner than later, unless dramatic political reforms are implemented.

Nothing points to the failure of our political system more clearly than Republicans calling the 2010 elections a mandate for their agenda. In reality, the 2010 vote was a rejection of the sour economic conditions extant under the Democratic Party's majority. The voters rejected the Democratic party ballot option, but, had NO WHERE to go on the ballot to register than rejection but to vote Republican.

Had their been a viable third choice on America's ballots, Republicans would not now have a majority in the House of Representatives. We know this is true, because poll after poll indicated the American people as a majority have little to no confidence or trust in EITHER of the two major political parties. Hence, the 2010 election vote was NOT a vote for Republican's agenda and plans as much as it was a rejection of Democrat's oversight of the economic recovery as of election day. The elections of Gov.'s Scott Walker (Wi) and Kasich of Ohio, for example, were votes of no confidence for incumbents, in both parties, and in these two cases, the anti-incumbent vote was Republican as the only alternative to Democrat.

If Democracy is built around the idea of choice, then, limiting the American voter to only two choices, Democrat or Republican, is doomed to fail the nation. The voters are now electing politicians into power in a rotating fashion, each as a rejection of the other party's incumbent, which results in America's long term objectives and policy initiatives never reaching completion and fruition. This more than any other fundamental reason, is why America is going off the economic cliff with deficits and debt.

In parliamentary democracies, there is almost always at least 3 major parties, with one of the three always acting as an arbiter and moderating influence between the extremes of the other two parties, frequently forcing coalition governments and denying the political parties the ability to dramatically reverse course on expensive long term policy initiatives which still have a chance of bearing fruit and resolving long term issues. America's system has no such check and balance, and its one reason America's political system is becoming a standing joke for other Western democracies, who watch the folly of our two party system with intense interest, far greater than that which our own voters have as a whole.

One recent poll demonstrates this clearly. Less than 25% of Americans this year know who John Boehner is, or whether he is a Republican, Democrat, or Independent.

More than 70% of Republicans don't know if Obama is an American citizen and whether he is entitled to be president as an American citizen. Even Donald Trump doesn't know, which defines Donald Trump as a savant in marketing and dunce when it comes politics and math. Trump hasn't yet figured out that 60% of Republicans does not equal a majority of Americans, nor come close to equaling the number of Americans who know Obama is an American citizens and the rightful president of our country under the Constitution.

As with all democratically elected governments, the people get the government they voted for. Whether they assume responsibility for voting the best government possible, or not, varies widely across democratically elected nations, with American at the rear of the pack along side Greece which has also driven its nation into a debt hole so deep that it will take an entire generation or several, to dig themselves out.

America's system worked, barely, in avoiding a shut down and throwing up of the hands by the nation's leaders. The agreement however, has yet to be put in legislative format and be voted upon, so this is not yet a done deal. But, this week's legislative partisan challenge was a piece of cake compared to the challenge of passing a 2012 budget, or lifting the debt ceiling to avoid an economic collapse back into deep recession. And both of these challenges lie ahead in just the next few months. I hope America's system will be up to these challenges, but, it isn't looking promising, so far.


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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on April 9, 2011 11:41 PM.

GOP: Cut It, or Shut It. was the previous entry in this blog.

Apolitical Budget Process is the next entry in this blog.

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