by Mel Griffith
The story of an ancient Israel as told in the Old Testament is frequently a story of determined reform and firm commitments that this time reform is going to be for real and people really, really are going to be better in the future. This was usually followed by a rapid drift back into the same old habits that the reform was supposed to have put a stop to. By the way things are going in Washington, it seems that human nature hasn't changed much in the last several thousand years in spite of more knowledge and better technology. In 1994 a swarm of congressmen were sent home because Congress had gotten selfish, self centered, arrogant and disrespectful of middle American values. The new folks promised that things would never again be the same. It only took twelve years for everything to return to the way it was. Several Congressmen have resigned under fire and some headed to prison. A gay predator is ignored by the nation's guardians of morality. A Texas Congressman resigns after being bribed with an expensive trip to play golf in Scotland. Aside from the bribery, why is someone who is getting paid to represent Texans in Washington wasting his time playing golf in Scotland? It shows the same old contempt for the public who elected him that got a lot of previous officials sent home. It may also get him sent to jail. What could he have been thinking at the time? Didn't he remember that they came to Congress to reform it?
Neither party shows the slightest interest in financial responsibility. There are too busy trying to buy the next election with our grandchildren's money. Much of it is "earmarked" for unnecessary projects to win the support of some group or individual in the next election. It is promised that the deficit will be cut in half by 2009 or something like that as if that was some kind of accomplishment. What about cutting it to zero right now by cutting out useless spending? Meanwhile, liberals cynically promise to reduce the deficit by raising every tax they can find, a formula proven to make the deficit worse, not better, because high taxes stall the economy. Still, it sounds good and they hope that most folks aren't smart enough to figure out that it doesn't actually work.
What happened to all the grand plans for reforms and all the promises that things would be different? They kind of got lost in the rush to enjoy the privileges of power.
There were some good things which came about during the days of reform. Welfare was reformed. Better judges were put on the bench. Unreasonable gun laws were allowed to expire. For a brief period budgets were balanced, before new wars gave everyone an excuse to abandon all common sense in spending and started a stampede to see who could bring home the most pork under the guise of security.
There is much more that needs to be done and the chance to do it may have been lost due to greed, arrogance, and selfishness. Cuts in oppressive taxes have not been made permanent. The insane federal tax code has not been replaced by a logical one. Property rights are still being destroyed under the guise of saving the environment. A congress with a firm commitment to reform and clean personal record might have stayed around long enough to get these things and others done. The present one may not. Unfortunately, the urge to "throw the rascals out" may bring a crowd that is worse than the present one and actually undo what progress has been made.