Looking back over the last two years it appears indisputable that both houses of the U. S. Congress do not deserve re-election. At the very least each of our representatives and senators up for reelection should be considered individually. You should consider their election, in part, in relation to the candidate you favor for president. We desperately need sensible and fair-minded representatives.
In the House of Representatives we may well have gone from bad to worse in 2010 by electing a sizable number of people who were among those representing the so-called Tea Party as well as others who have supported and favored the idea that there will be no new taxes. This notion is strongly supported by Grover Norquist, who has asked representatives to sign a pledge that they will not support nor will they vote for any new legislation requiring an increase in taxes. This is an interesting movement, which given the recent history of the country, is an idea that is difficult for representatives and candidates not to support in some way.
However, we have to remember also that when the financial crisis of 2008 hit and many jobs were lost, there was little doubt that the government would experience a considerable drop in revenues. In addition, bank and other bailouts as well as two land wars in the middle east and Asia specifically resulted in a considerable increase in expenditures. The cumulative effect of reduced revenues and increased expenditures has resulted in trillion dollar net yearly deficits in each of the years immediately following 2008. Far too gradually revenues have increased and expenditures have reduced. President Obama appointed a commission to deal with the ballooning debt. The so-called Bowles-Simpson Commission came up with a plan which was not sufficiently supported either by the President or by the rank in file members of the Congress to be enacted. With hindsight by-passing the budget proposals from Bowles-Simpson looks more and more like a major missed opportunity.
What the country sadly needs now is a new Congress and a fresh start. We need congressional representatives and senators willing to think about both short and longer term solutions. We have a lot to do at the same time. We have to improve our educational system, balance our energy needs against supply and achieve a greater measure of energy independence. We also probably need to revise the tax code and collect more revenue as well as achieve much more in expenditure cuts than any of us would like. We won’t be able to tackle our budgetary problems with a Congress full of linear thinkers, who each see the world from their own myopic perspective.