Morning Sun
  • EDITORIAL: Ideology trumps action once again

  • If there is one word that holds the key to recovery from the recession in which we are mired, it is “confidence.”

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  • If there is one word that holds the key to recovery from the recession in which we are mired, it is “confidence.”
    Confidence among consumers that they can make purchases today because they will still have jobs tomorrow.
    Confidence among employers that the economy can support expansion and hiring.
    Confidence within the financial industry that money loaned today can be repaid.
    All of that, however, is contingent on confidence in our government to navigate our way out of the debt spiral tugging the U.S. economy ever more strongly downward. Or at least to decide on a course and follow it.
    When Congress abrogates its duty as it did this week with the so-called supercommittee’s surrender to the forces of electoral politics, it undermines all of the above.
    To those of us accustomed to following Illinois politics, the committee’s action via non-action looks very familiar. In the Illinois General Assembly, it’s customary to avoid the difficult decisions in spring sessions of even-numbered years so lawmakers won’t have to explain their votes in re-election campaigns a few months later. An extreme example was the 11th-hour passage of an income tax increase in January by a General Assembly populated by lame ducks about to leave office and those who had been safely re-elected two months earlier.
    It’s a politically expedient, and cynical, method by party leadership to minimize responsibility for tough decisions. Its message: Protect your members at all costs. The result has been almost exclusive Democratic control of a state government on the verge of financial collapse.
    And now this model is on full display at the national level, with the struggling American economy on the line. Both parties want control but are unwilling to risk action that might show why they deserve it.
    Safer to punt than risk action that the other side might exploit for political gain.
    So here’s what we, the electorate, get for our votes: “We remain hopeful that Congress can build on this committee’s work and can find a way to tackle this issue in a way that works for the American people and our economy.” Thanks to supercommittee members Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., for those reassuring words.
    Here’s our translation: “We’re rolling the dice and hoping to win big in a year. Our job security is more important than yours, America. We favor ideological purity over compromises that might make your lives better.”
    The assumption is that once the members of Congress and President Barack Obama get through the 2012 election, the lame-duck Congress — and either a lame-duck or safely re-elected president — will produce a solution to avoid the draconian cuts now scheduled to happen in January 2013.
    Page 2 of 2 - Of course, that assumption was preceded by the assumption last summer that our leaders would never, ever let things get to this point.
    Assumptions are never safe, but we’ll gamble on this one: We assume that as long as our political leaders value ideology over results and retention of power over all else, our confidence as consumers, employers and lenders will remain exactly where it is.
    — State Journal-Register

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