The reoccurring nightmare

Thoughts from Behind the Pressline

Our nation is severely polarized. That’s certainly nothing new. I think we all hoped that after the election Washington would begin taking serious steps toward solving the problems facing the nation or at the very least one side or the other would have enough momentum to assume a leadership role. Unfortunately our national tug of war persists and gridlock continues to be the strategy of choice used by both parties.

Even more than the nation choosing to reelect President Obama, it seems by the choices America made, we collectively see value in maintaining this gridlock method of governing. How else can one explain the total election outcomes where neither side has gained any advantage?

Based on the current discussions, if that’s what we can call them, the parties continue to stake out their positions, and instead of working toward the middle they appear to be going farther away in the opposite direction.

Yes, Republicans have signaled a lukewarm willingness to accept tax increases. As I understand it the total of those increases will pay for eight days of federal government spending. The president has countered with the proposal of even higher tax increases than he ran on and new spending that will offset any of the reductions he is proposing. He has also suggested that in place of coming back to Congress for approval to raise the national debt each time the ceiling is reached he should just be given the authority to raise the ceiling as needed.

The game of chicken continues. The so called fiscal cliff rapidly approaches and we’ve had this nightmare before. Just before the clock ticks midnight a short term bandage deal will be approved, the big problems passed along to the next Congress, that by the way, looks and will likely act much the same as this Congress and nothing, but nothing is really solved. All they will accomplish is a brief extension and then more of the same in a few months when the ceiling is once again reached.

Dan Alexander is associate publisher of New Market Press. He may be reached at dan@newmarketpressvt.com.

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