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Fraser Smith's Essay: January 3, 2013
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January 3, 2013
Congress and the President have found yet another temporary fix for a long-term problem. WYPR’s Senior News Analyst Fraser Smith comments in his weekly essay.
We are left once again to contemplate our dysfunctional government. Our men and women representatives in Washington stepped back from the cliff. They have avoided sending us staggering back into recession. We are trying to move beyond punishing waves of economic turmoil. We barely have our sea legs. Our government’s answer is to flirt with deep water, a devastating relapse.
We have become a kick-the-can down the road society. We voted decisively to move beyond the government paralysis. Our ideology drive leaders have turned a deaf ear.
Few take any comfort from the temporary solutions offered by Washington this week. Some liberals hammer the President for squandering the power of our votes. The Tea Party moans about the lack of deficit reduction. The White House asks the nation to realize its hands were tied by the threat of Great Recession Redux.
The second guessing goes on and on. There was no fiscal cliff, some say. We could have allowed the automatic budget cuts to occur. We could have allowed an end to unemployment benefits for millions. It’s all a mirage, this talk of another recession. What do economists know anyway?
If you are the President maybe you don’t want to test these predictions. Maybe you think your job is to get the best deal available. Kicking the can down the road? You bet. That’s what we do now. It’s not a can-do society anymore. It’s a kick the can down the road society. It’s like a hostage rescue mission: You try to live with the least bad plan.
Which means we move on, hoping we’ve held off worse economic conditions. The price is another two months of life without anything like a grand bargain. That was something we did back in the day.
What we have now is that rolling, rattling sound of the can hopping and skipping toward the next cliff.
IN FOCUS TODAY
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WYPR's Fraser Smith and David Moon, political consultant and blogger at Maryland Juice talk...