112th Congress Out Performs Do-Nothing Congress of '48

112th Congress Out Performs Do-Nothing Congress of '48

Something funny happened to the people we sent to serve us as the 112th U.S. Congress - so far they have out performed the famous "Do-Nothing Congress of 1948." Not a very good distinction! Now, that should really please the hell out of us all given the fact that unemployment remains locked at an anemic 9.1%. Even a sweeping shift in power during the mid-term elections of 2010 hasn't paid off one iota. Congress has not made any of our everyday lives better. I don't know what it is, but Americans just can't catch a break when it comes to sending representatives to Washington DC. I guess we are just blessed to have two political parties that are more content with obstructing progress than working to resolve the ills of the country by way of diplomacy and compromise.

But, hey, I guess it is just par for the course. Hyper-partisanship has reared its ugly head before and I am sure it will again somewhere in the future. But, the anomaly here is that the so-called Tea Party candidates who swore that they would go to Washington to make thinks happen, have instead, fallen flat on their collective faces. And instead of admitting that they had seriously miscalculated on what waste Americans wanted them to slash from the Federal Budget, they have retreated into a cocoon insisting that their way is the right way even though the majority of Americans scorn their agenda.

It is kind of like what comedian George Carlin once lamented in his Seven Words You Can't Say On TV skit, "it is okay to prick your finger, but don't finger your prick." And that folks, is the current state of politics in America. Politicians presenting false illusions as to where government waste lies, isn't a way to endear yourself with the populus. The fact is, the military budget in all its forms is the greatest waste of our resources. And given we are fighting three wars and supporting umpteen of other useless regimes, that sounds like the most sensible place to begin slashing.

Politicians, especially the austerity happy GOP, must realize that when you have an anemic economy, the last thing you do is attack social programs. Common sense tells you that people across all ideologies have been forced to rely on those programs even more than ever because of it. Personally, I think any politician crazy enough to suggest that therein lies the answer will soon find themselves voted out of office.

Let's face it, people are sick and tired of being unable to find jobs. And by that I mean good jobs! Those Fast Food or part-time positions devoid of benefits that politicians point to as progress aren't good enough. Those aren't exactly the jobs people need to sustain them. They are merely temporary solutions for people who have been forced to accept something far less than their true worth.

Even the official unemployment rate is something of curiosity. What happened to the millions who have exhausted their allowable unemployment benefits? Well? Economists and politicians who are willing to tell the truth will admit that our official unemployment rate is at least 50% higher once you compensate for other economic factors. Seems to me that puts the rate at somewhere around 14%.

One thing is for sure, government assistance is on the rise as more and more are forced onto welfare and other supplemental benefits. Sadly, more and more people have been left unemployed for so long that they have gradually slid down to the lowest rungs of assistance. And with that comes an even greater drain on the economic engine. Yes Sir Bob - the top ten percent of Americans have been able to weather the storm fairly well and have even see the stock market rebound for them. But, that hasn't equated to many jobs being filtered down to the other 90%. Many people are downright down and out! How many foreclosures will see yet?

My suggestion for the 112th Congress is that they get off their collective asses and learn how to compromise. And if necessary, they can start looking into creating another New "New Deal" program. There are more than enough infrastructure repairs required all across this country and maybe it is time to address them? If the country must limp through this Second Coming of the Great Depression,well then at least give them the dignity of working for their benefits. Or do our politicians not think that that would spur somehow economic spending down the line?

Politicians have protected Big Business for far too long. They have profited throughout, yet, where is the reinvestment? It just hasn't materialized, but hey there are more mega-mergers on the way to stifle even more competition. Perhaps it is time for our politicians to stop protecting an enterprise that hasn't given back its fair share. Quite frankly, under their current watch we have seen more jobs, especially union ones, being targeted for extinction. Does it even resonate with our do-nothings that the excessive profit taking has only resulted in putting more people onto the government welfare rolls?

And what about fighting wars on three fronts? They have literally drained the life out of our economy! It seems to me that our military expenditures have been way over the top and at this point, unsustainable.

Like I said before, maybe the 112th Congress should reevaluate their priorities and get off their asses!


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  • I'm not necessarily on board. The article sort of has the sound of "production is down at the Yugo factory." Or to put it a little closer to home, I get paid by the character count, but it is supposed to meet a certain quality standard. I do, but most of the other people apparently don't.

    I also said in response to some far left foamer on a comment board after the 2010 Congressional election and during the tax cut expiration or extension debate, well, either you persist with your opinion and nothing gets done or both sides have to compromise, and Obama apparently understands that. I guess the rest don't.

    The Illinois General Assembly shows what kind of legislation you get when you have one party rule. Great volume, but very little that is even constitutional. You may also remember all the side deals, such as the Ben Nelson one, that got legislation past the 60 vote requirement artificially imposed by the U.S. Senate in 2009-2010, or how that didn't lead to a real investigation of Senator Rollie.

    As to whether there is any coherent policy, and your infrastructure point, I cite (I think for the third time on Chicago Now), this article from Car & Driver about transportation policy or lack thereof. You think that would be one thing on which the pork barrel Senate would agree is a transportation policy, although maybe not on the level of the gas tax.

    As far as infrastructure stimulus, most of ARRA (at least the TIGER portion) went to bus assemblers, asphalt contractors (asphalt lasts about three years), and competitions in which most projects lost but the consultants who developed them got paid (cf. my post on Bachman). I don't think we need more of that. As far as solar or smart grid and the like, either those are or aren't worth doing, but don't offer any immediate stimulus.

    Someone should figure out how to get private companies to start hiring. However, surely neither this Congress nor the General Assembly will.

  • In reply to jack:

    Certainly I am not in favor of volume over substance. So I agree there. But here is the Big Point: ever since Paul Ryan and his Tea Party Caucus got spanked on his Path To Prosperity, the GOP has decided to shut down and obstruct. I will stick with that observation firmly. The GOP favors Austerity, where I say there is enough to cut elsewhere; i.e. that damn over-bloated military budget and all its tentacles. Even though I strongly favor a "strong military" what we are seeing is overkill and I speak from experience. The military wastes constantly.

    Austerity, meanwhile, is suicide. The economy is already in a double-dip, despite what experts and pundits want to tell you. But then again, they are part of the upper 10% to have profited off the financial markets.

    Generally I agree with you Jack, but the reality is Big Business has taken the money and run while leaving the taxpayer who paid for it once already, pay again by not expanding the economy. Our legislators need to cut to the chase and and either stop the bailouts and tax credits or demand they reinvest that taxpayer money into JOBS. In the event they don't, a New Deal scenario is acceptable since as you have said before, we print the money?

    I am tired of the set up to Election 2012 - and that is at the heart of the impasse in Congress. It just perpetuates the misery everyday people are feeling and living.

  • I guess the one thing on which we can agree is that any tax incentive should be linked to creating jobs. New jobs, not just the Illinois corporate extortion that we'll move if we don't get a tax break.

    Neither side has really proposed anything along that line yet.

  • In reply to jack:

    Absolutely Right. Hey disagreement is good too, though. It fosters debate. We average people (meaning non-politicians) seem to not shy away from asking hard questions and looking for a work around. Unfortunately, politicians would rather not for a multitude of reasons.

    I was reading something the other day about how corporate America complains of a repressive tax code, however it went on to say that none of those corporations ever pay the official rate anyhow. That is the flim-flam we get whether in state politics or national.

    I don't think, though, that there is enough evidence to support the facts in that Big Business, especially financial institutions have come out smelling like a rose in spite of creating most of the mess. Of course, most people do not like what seems like over-regulation, but I think there are cases where it is justified and needed.

    Here's an off the wall question regarding the need for stricter regulation; how does Exxon Mobil lay a pipeline underneath a freshwater river? Now, 1000 barrels of oil have been released before they found the shut off valve. Retention booms were late in being placed, but somehow someone is content because the spill is downriver from spawning grounds. Big deal! Now, wouldn't you think that someone would have looked at the obvious pitfalls before allowing a hair-brain idea to proceed? And guess who will pay for it in the end? Especially after Exxon avails itself of its tax loopholes catalog.

  • As far as the pipeline, I don't know about the present one, but if there is, for instance, a pipeline between Alberta and Whiting to process that oil, it must cross a river somewhere.

    The corporate taxes seem to be a combination of deductions, but more importantly where corporations attribute their income. In the state income tax situation, I'm sure, for instance, that Boeing earns its income in Washington, not Illinois, despite being headquartered here. On the federal level, there was the talk a couple of weeks ago about allowing corporations a tax break so that they could "bring their income home." I don't agree with the break.

    One of the more sneaky ways of exporting income is to create an "intellectual property" subsidiary in a low tax jurisdiction, and have that subsidiary charge the company for use of its trademarks. For instance, Wendy's coupons say (c)Oldemark, L.L.C. Wendy's is owned by Wendy's-Arby's Group, Inc., not Oldemark, but I'll bet 99:1 it is that sort of setup.

  • In reply to jack:

    Crossing is okay, but this one is laid in the riverbed and follows its path. Seems I would have approached that concept another way. Oil and water aren't ever a good mix as we again find out.

    Yea, I agree about the taxes and the shell companies.

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