Updated 07/30/2012 09:00 AM
On the Agenda: Will elections make it even harder for DC to compromise?
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While we wait for Republicans and Democrats to pick their Senate nominees for the November election, I thought it worth taking a deep breath and a look forward.
Even if we end up with one party Republican government in DC, the odds are high Democrats in the Senate will still be able to block bills, just as the Republicans did after Senator Ted Kennedy died and Democrats lost the 60 votes necessary to prevent filibuster
We face major challenge, some of our own making and some beyond our control.
The European financial crisis, the rapidly destabilizing Middle East, Iran’s nuclear weapons development program and the slowing Chinese economy are all direct threats to the stability and prosperity of the United States.
But frankly, the thing that worries me most is what seems like increasingly adolescent dysfunction in Washington.
Last year’s debt ceiling fiasco demonstrated that Congress was actually prepared to put the country in default rather than make a decision. The now- rapidly approaching fiscal cliff of expiring tax cuts, mandated spending cuts, debt ceiling reauthorizations and more pose true peril.
If we don’t act resolutely, we risk plunging back into recession which would exacerbate our debt crisis and push us closer to a European style financial meltdown. It may not be popular to say, but the answer is somewhere in the middle. Posturing is counter-productive.
Don’t get me wrong. Brinksmanship is a time honored legislative negotiating strategy. But our history as a country has always been about the two parties finding compromise
But these days, compromise appears to be a formula for losing elections.
Standard and Poor’s downgraded the American credit rating not because of our debt levels or inability to pay our bills. They downgraded our credit rating as a vote of no-confidence in a fundamentally broken political process that rejects compromise.
Americans agree. Ever since we nearly put our own country in default last year, congressional approval has hovered at 17 percent.
We have tumultuous times ahead, mostly of our own making.
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