Congress may actually pass an economic stimulus bill this week, which is good news for the short-term needs of the country.
There is no question the economy is tottering, and could easily tip over from recession to depression, so a bill that focuses on saving jobs and creating jobs is desperately needed.
The good news is that the bill will definitely help achieve some of those aims.
The bad news is that it will lay a crushing debt burden on taxpayers for the future, which can only be addressed if government becomes far more efficient in the use of tax dollars than it has in the past. That could very well force, down the road, what many of us have wanted for years, a smaller, more efficient government. But somehow, that doesn't seem likely.
Because Congress hasn't figured out that the model for government is, and should be, changing. And the best example is the stimulus package.
Despite billions of dollars in cuts, it still contains way too much pork. And some of the cuts (to make way for that pork) seem to make no sense, such as dropping $40 billion to help keep schools from having to fire teachers. That's counter-productive. The bill is supposed to save or create jobs, not leave them threatened.
Both sides of the aisle bear the blame. The Democratic leadership rolled over on way too many pet projects among its members, losing sight of the long-term goal of the bill. And Republicans kept insisting on sticking to the same failed policies of the past, and playing the same old games where personal and party political power carried more weight than the needs of the nation. One GOP leader actually admitted his goal for the bill, and the amendments he introduced, were designed to divide the Democrats and make them look bad. So much for caring about the people of this country.
Both parties should be ashamed.
It is time for Congress to look up from its myopic and petty party power games, and its proclivity for pork, and look at the desperate state of the nation, focusing solely on programs that stand a good chance of meeting the goal of keeping people working.
Making things work should be a bipartisan issue. This bill should be about America, not the Republican or Democratic parties.
-- Kelly Everitt