Uncompromising politics, rhetorical and sometimes vile banter and the increasingly impossibility of producing a balanced budget came to a head last Friday as the clock neared midnight. Yet as they have done before, members of Congress struck a last-minute deal that will cut $38.5 billion from the national budget.
Government operations will be funded through September.
As gas prices tease $4 a gallon in south Louisiana; as the United States military continues to wage battle on foreign land; as millions of government employees are frantic over a potential furlough, the domestic budget turmoil was procrastinated to the final moment, with neither side wanting to lose its political clout.
Was there any chance the government would shut down? Negotiators will say yes, but some of the public is skeptical and believes it to be a pure example of political maneuvering. Whatever the case may be, it doesn’t matter.
What does matter is the oft-requested “laser-like focus.” It’s past time for meaningful action.
The House-controlling Republicans will continue their demand for a smaller government, including the blockage of the health care bill and the termination of subsidized abortions. The Democrats, with the Senate majority, will ignore these demands, drag their feet and try to maintain the status quo.
It is damaging to the country to simply kick the can down the road, as federal lawmakers have done once again, but it is the product of a spilt Congress. Once promised to the country, “Change” is on hiatus, bogged down in partisanship.
Tough days lie before the United States. The welfare of the nation’s middle class is shoddy at best, as the lingering effects of the recession, coupled with rising gas prices, have stretched our countrymen’s pockets to the limit.
Our national wallet has fared much worse, and yet, our military presence in foreign lands has continued to grow while resources have been drastically diminished. We cannot stay the course.
It’s time to be serious. It’s time to balance the budget. It’s time to stop kicking the can. If our politicians can’t compromise without using the threat of a government shutdown to save face with voters, what good can they do?