Monday , 18 December 2017
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A Question of Leadership

Having observed with astonishment from several thought perspectives, the recent debt limit/spending cuts/increased property confiscation (referred to as tax revenues) that went on in Washington, I have a sense of how the arguably most noted sailor of the 20th Century, Popeye, felt when he often said at the height of having taken all of Bluto:  “I’ve had all I can stanz and I can’t stanz no more.”

It is disheartening when the leader of the greatest organized society since Rome appears at the podium to scold Congress for not coming together to address a situation that, in large part, is his own making.  TARP, The Stimulus, Government Mandated Health Care and, let us not forget, Cash for Clunkers, each required the disbursement of funds not presently or even prospectively in the coffers of the Treasury.  An out of control printing press was/is the result, with a tab not only unmanageable or unsustainable, but a mortgage on the next generation of U S citizens that contracts their quality of life and a severe imposition on their individual liberties.  All the programs for what: higher unemployment, stagnant growth, pessimism not seen since the late 70s and immeasurable insecurities in the hearts and minds of the hard working individuals who still have a regular paycheck at least for now.

A true leader would have gathered all those who have the ability to get a Bill done and told them no one leaves until an agreement, which is  in the best interest of the United States as a whole, was reached.  But that requires accountability, which seems to be something he references verbally but will not accept.  The fault lies with the previous administration, the Republican House,  Wall Street speculators, Standard & Poors rating process, and/or the “rich” defined as those making $250,000 a year or more (as an aside –  who is this individual to define rich when true private sector employment is not something he has experienced?).

We often hear that history repeats itself through the ignorance of history.   The last comparable debacle to what is in place now was in the late 1970s.  Then President Jimmy Carter tried to play the blame game on Nixon, Ford and host of others.  He soon discovered the American voters will tolerate ineptness and the blame game only so long.  Former President Carter has spent over 30 years convincing anyone who will listen that he was not as weak as his record indicates.  

Absent a reversal of economic direction generated by forces other than his own, the current occupant of the Oval Office will need more time than his life expectancy to restore, or more correctly create, any creditability.  It is clear to me if this President is granted another term by the voters of this country it will speak to the weakness of his opposition and not his ability to point to any meaningful success.  



The late, great Winston Churchill once said, “Americans will make the right decision only after exhausting all other options.”  Let us hope the voters realize we are out of options with the current administration.

To point blame for the current debacle(s) at one is not completely justified.  Congressional leaders should have demanded the President take leadership in finding common ground for all to get something done for the betterment of the country.  It is Congress who enables the spending with no limits.

The “Tea Party” is often cited in media circles as a group of  some self-anointed intellectuals who believe a view other than their own is inferior and label them as “terrorists” in our governmental system.  Let us not forget the same system elected (in theory at least) all of the House Representatives and Senators (the President is elected by an electoral college that mirrors the popular vote).  Further, would there be a “Tea Party” movement of standing if proliferation of deficit spending had never occurred?  No one knows for sure, but one can say with certainty there is a reaction equal or greater to a wide move in any direction.  One has to wonder if those claiming the “Tea Party” to be “terrorists” are aware 95 House Democrats voted not to increase the debt ceiling and 26 Democratic Senators voted in like fashion.

All this said, no lasting, meaningful direction will occur in the United States until both sides of the isle recognize that there is value in listening to the positions of all sides of a problem. Solutions cannot occur without respectful discussion and progress will not occur without uniting to achieve a common goal.  The ability to listen and unite is severely lacking at the very top of our great country. 

 

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