When I moved to Washington, D.C. in 1997, it was admittedly with bright eyes. I had just completed a master’s degree in a totally unrelated field, but in my heart of hearts, I knew that I wanted to work in Washington.
Quick talking and good timing got my foot in the door in a Senate office, launching the Capitol Hill career I wanted. Was it everything I expected? Absolutely not. It was more. Thanks to the sage guidance of the statesmen I had the honor to work for and the mentoring of the high-quality bipartisan core of staffers I spent my days with, I had a most fulfilling and eye-opening experience.
But today’s Congress is not the Congress I lived and breathed. By the way, I’m not bitter just because I am supposed to be in New York this weekend with a friend who works in House leadership. I’m not just bitter because it feels like my finances would be safer stored in my mattress than in my current investments. I’m bitter and sorely disappointed in the utter lack of cooperation and bipartisanship being displayed by today’s crop of politicians.
Let me add a side note to illustrate my point: the bill I worked tirelessly to see enacted in my early hill days, a landmark bill that provided for the restoration of the Everglades, was signed into law by President Clinton in an Oval Office ceremony which included Governor Jeb Bush, who was governor of Florida at the time, on the very day that the SCOTUS ruled on Gore v. Bush. But the bipartisan delegation present for the ceremony put aside their political differences for 45 minutes to honor this momentous step in the preservation of a national treasure.
I’m convinced that when it comes to today’s fiscal conundrum, if none of the leaders involved could tweet, post an update to Facebook, hold a press conference, issue a press statement or otherwise opine about the status of the negotiations, there would be a deal right now. But let’s not kid ourselves. Neither party has any interest in solving this issue when instead of looking at the ramifications of national default on interest rates, retirement accounts, and oh, say, the reputation of the United States, these so-called leaders are instead looking at polling numbers, the 2012 election, and the calculus of whom this battle hurts more.
August 2nd is still days away, so there is time to liquidate your assets and hide them in your preferred safe place. There is still time for a bipartisan outcome. Wouldn’t it be better if instead of posturing and politicking, we could release our leaders to strike a deal that keeps America’s credit standing and saves our face internationally? Then, afterwards, we can roll up our sleeves and decide how best to pay down America’s huge credit card debt. We might despise the federal deficit, but let’s admit it, whether your weakness is war, tax cuts or social programs, we all benefited from the running up of said debt, and we are all going to have to sacrifice something to whittle it back down.