Image by CS Muncy via FlickrNo, really? Is America still fighting a war in two countries, and fighting terror and facing international threats? That must be all over because I can see no other reason for this incessant delay in passing the stimulus bill.
Look, I get politics and politicians. I had the privilege of serving in the Senate. I understand the need, and the responsibility more importantly to be heard and to speak up. Making law is an extremely serious responsibility that can make or break a person's life, and an entire society. I understand the need to represent your constituents. But what is going on? Is this really what you are all doing?
Honestly, I am lost. Last I heard, America was at war. Economic instability cannot be helping your military strength. You need money to fight, and economic power to negotiate. If you have economic stability in a global interconnected world, there is more incentive to find peaceful solutions since all countries have a vested interest in find opportunities for their own economies to grow - i.e., markets and people who can afford to consume their goods and services. Maybe you don't remember when the world was more polarized and we were not so interconnected - when people did not see advantages of trade. Do you remember what they did? They just preferred to conquer.
I thought the internal bickering stops at the water's edge. I thought the country was united in the face of a foreign threat. Does no one make the connection between economic stability and ability to defend themselves?
You know what the problem is? Job security. Yes, the people with the power to pass the stimulus bill have job security. Unless there is a revolution, or they are found to be corrupt, they cannot be removed. They have to be voted out on a certain date in the future by law. And that's democracy and democracy is good. But somehow, there is a major disconnect between the people who are guaranteed monthly cheques for a number of years to come and those who have lost their jobs and others who fear every moment of every day if they are going to lose their jobs tomorrow or the next day. Somehow, Congress seems to be missing the day to day reality of the rest of the population they serve who do not have job security, and are becoming paralyzed with fear of the unknown. Every day that the Congress does not act, they are making the situation worse.
Congress needs to find something that it can live with and do it quickly. Bad law is worse than no law. But no law is worse than inaction. As long as you are not behaving in an unconstitutional manner and affecting the rights of your citizens, you can find middle ground. Law is never perfect, but it can be sufficiently effective. If you don't ever get pass round 1, how will you get to round 2? When will anything else get done if the economy becomes frozen?
Here's a video of President Obama explaining what is in the stimulus and what it is intended to achieve.
You have to be independent to have a Congress. Perhaps Congress should give some thought to whether its own job security is on the line.