The end of summer is fast approaching. I know some believe summer is officially over after Labor or when schools reconvene but for those involved in the machinations of Washington, summer is over. Congress will adjourn for it August “work period” and the President gave up doing anything to help the country months and months ago.
The list of government unfinished business-some of it urgent- is long and complicated. No budget was passed, no appropriation bills will be pass, the current tax code more or less expires at the end of the year and automatic budget reductions will also be implemented in January. It is a feckless state of affairs.
I gave up wringing my hands and worry about these types of situations many years ago. Events overtake individual effort and ability to influence how things end up. The Republic survives but in this case, there is a distinct chance that future events will damage and hurt the citizens of the country and have a profound impact on how we all live.
Drama aside, what are the lessons of the summer now that it is almost over? Here are five of them:
- 1. President Obama is incapable of leading the country, and if re-elected, his standing to positively impact our economic situation will not improve. The actions, rhetoric and attitude of the President speak for themselves. I do not see much post election coming together with him at the rudder. It is a situation of his own making.
- 2. Congressional deficit hawks have no talons and no beak. The deficit increases $4 billion a day. There has been no movement to address this problem, long term or short. The Highway bill, Farm bill (both budget busters), complaining about the sequester reduction and other things demonstrates a real lack of political will to do anything even at the margins.
- 3. The uncertainly over future tax rates has unsettled the economy and is retarding the recovery. Neither party wants to neither address nor solve the tax issue, instead believing useless banter and accusation on taxing the rich, fair share and small business will achieve a desired political result.
- 4. Pushing issues to be decided by an after-election Congress is a recipe for bad results. (Ducks deserve better than to be referred to as “lame”.) How can it be possible to make prudent decisions by a group of people who have lost or have chosen not to run and exclude those that have been elected? The time compression to address the important issues is too great. I would rather have the can kicked down the road again than have this scenario play out.
- 5. The country is divided and there is no consensus for one side to impose its solutions on the others. Each side needs to get off its tired mantra, think creatively, and find at least some common ground. Perhaps even some new approaches. The problems are known but solutions are elusive given the current composition of Congress and the White House.
The summer is over. I have survived falling trees, a 6-day power outage, sweltering heat and deer ravaging my garden this summer. Besides the vacation coming up, good riddance to this summer. The real question is what's next? We will have to wait for the answer.