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Congress isn’t working for the American people

BY DONNIE JOHNSON

Here we go again!

Congress, by doing nothing, is threatening to shut down the federal government.

How many times do we have to go through this? How many times do we have to listen to all the political rhetoric? How many times do we have to watch the Democrats and Republicans growl at each other? When will it all end?

This garbage has been going on now for more than two years. Budget cuts! Debt ceilings! Government shutdowns! Sequesters!

Remember that Joint Select Committee that was appointed in the summer of 2011? That was supposed to take care of all the federal government’s financial problems.

Remember what I prophesied back then, that a committee made up of six Republicans and six Democrats would get nowhere? Well guess how far they got? Nowhere. That group is probably still arguing about the shape of the table in the meeting room.

Congress reminds me of two old married people who hasn’t been able to stand each other for the past 30 years. They just bicker back and forth, with each doing everything possible to spite the other.

Meanwhile, the American people are like the guy in the old Meatloaf song, “Paradise by the Dashboard Light.” We’re just waiting for the end of time, hoping beyond hope that divine intervention will come up with some solution to this financial mess.

Congress is getting worse than professional sports, where the players’ unions and the owners threaten a strike or a lockout about every year.

But even the NBA hasn’t gotten so desperate as to stand in front of a microphone and read “Green Eggs and Ham,” the Dr. Seuss children’s book. That’s what Sen. Ted Cruz, R–Texas, did the other night on the Senate floor.

His filibuster was intended to put off a vote that would defund Obamacare, which, in some strange political way, is tied to debt ceilings, sequestration (whatever that is) and budget cuts.

Cruz even read from the Bible during that long and drawn-out speech, perhaps hoping for that divine intervention I was talking about. After all, if the Lord giveth the funding for Obamacare, surely the Lord could taketh it away.

Well, He didn’t, or hasn’t yet. Maybe the Lord is not a fan of “Green Eggs and Ham.”

There have now been three end-of-the-world scenarios regarding congressional financial impasse. We were all going to perish when all those financial cuts were originally supposed to take effect on Jan. 2 of this year, but Congress postponed the apocalypse until March 1.

On March 1, those cuts went into effect, but guess what? The world didn’t come to an end.

Oh, but it will this time. If Congress can’t agree on a spending bill by Oct. 1, the whole government will shut down. Military jets will freeze in midair, national parks will lock their gates and the National Security Agency will stop listening to your telephone calls.

Anybody want to bet that any of these things will actually happen? Not me. I’ve heard these hollow threats before. This stuff is just political rhetoric.

Even if the government is shut down, it will only be for a few days, with employees likely getting reimbursed for lost wages when work resumes (remember, those congressmen need their paychecks, too).

Like two old married people, this is all just a symbolic show of power, one of those “You ain’t gonna get the best of me!” situations. It is yet another classic example of Republicans and Democrats working for the good of their parties and not the American people.

You know what? Like most Americans, I’m getting sick of waiting for the end of time. I’m tired of Congress postponing the apocalypse. If Congress is going to bring the government to a halt, then just shut up and do it. Enough with the threats!

For more than two years now, Congress has addressed spending bills, debt ceilings and government shutdowns by saying, “Let us sleep on it. We’ll eventually come up with a bill that will serve us till the end of time.”

Well, we’ve all been waiting for the end of time, and now time is up.

It is time for Congress to do something or get off the pot!

Donnie Johnston:

djohnston@freelancestar.com

 

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