by Daniel Gardner
Frustration is unmet expectations. I believe Stephen Covey wrote something like that in one of his books. If I had to characterize our nation's attitude I'd say we were a frustrated nation. We've been frustrated a long time, more than a decade.
I believe we began to get frustrated when hanging chads held up the final vote count in the 2000 election for president. Since then we've had 911, two major wars, lots of bubbles bursting - stock market, housing, banking, etc. - TEA Parties, Occupy Wall Street, and a super committee. Yes sir, we've seen a whole lot of frustration going on.
What have we been expecting that we haven't gotten? The one thing just about everybody would agree with: we haven't had effective and responsible leadership. In 2008 we voted for hope and change and got neither. Instead we got more gridlock, more debt, triple sized deficits, and a downgrade.
The super committee was charged with reducing our national debt by $1.2 Trillion over the next ten years. That's $120 Billion per year, or about a nickel out of every dollar spent: chump change. Frankly, that paltry amount wouldn't put a dent in our debt and would almost certainly not prevent another credit downgrade.
This is not a Republican or a Democrat problem. It's a leadership problem and those in office in DC have failed to lead. It's time for another change…a real change this time.
Arguably, our mounting debt is the biggest threat we face as a nation. Contrary to partisan chattering on cable news outlets, no one in DC has cut anything. No budgets have been cut. Increases have been pared a bit, but no one in Washington has actually cut anyone's budget. So, all the harem scarem theatrics put on by partisan ideologues about cutting programs necessary to care for our elderly, children, and less fortunate are pure shams.
We need someone to set up a responsible budget for Washington that balances revenue and spending. We've overspent our revenue by nearly $1.5 Trillion each of the past three years. Those deficits are more than 50-percent more than we actually raised in revenues. Who's running our government in Washington?
We need to cut out of the budget any department or program that is not absolutely essential. We need to reform our tax code in simple terms that make sure everybody pays something into the system. At the very least we need to cap spending where it is today.
We're facing a debt threat that will undo our nation and everybody is frustrated. As Jerry Clower used to say about the coon hunter who was fighting a bobcat up a tree, "Shoot up here amongst us! One of us has got to have some relief."
That coon hunter had been expecting to roust a coon out of the tree, but ran into a surly bobcat. Talk about your unmet expectations!
American voters don't have unreasonable expectations. Washington needs to step up and meet those expectations before it's too late.