Man-oh-man, do I hate to do this to you at this time of year. However, if I get it off my chest now, at least one of us will feel better. I normally try to save my political chidings for a time other than the season of peace and good will. However, this year it cant wait.
What the H (as my mother would say) is going on in Washington? And dont go blaming it on the President. Yes, hes part of it, but there are about 535 (voting) legislators, a zillion lobbyists, and only one President. Is it just me or do the divisive, and derisive, partisan politics appear to be getting worse every year?
Every issue coming before Congress recently appears to be a battle to the finish, with nothing getting done until the very last possible moment, and only then when each side can take something back to their base. Pure political gamesmanship at its worst it makes me sick to my stomach!
You might be asking yourself what could have possibly sent this normally mild mannered columnist into orbit. Well, Ill tell you. It was the legislation just passed by the Senate which continues funding the government for the rest of this fiscal year, coupled with passing of an awe inspiring (and necessary) ONE DAY resolution for the same thing.
Then, those workaholics also passed legislation to extend the payroll tax cuts and unemployment benefits for two whole months. However, lets not forget they also reduced unemployment benefit checks from 99 to 59 weeks as a part of that last minute deal. Woohoo! With knocking out such grueling legislation day-after-day, its no wonder they need a vacation.
One issue which really pushed me over the edge was the Republicans holding up funding the government so they could protect the longevity of the now ancient and energy-wasting, 100 watt incandescent light bulb.
Yep, you heard right. This is probably the only time in the history of Congress where the Republicans have stuck up for something on the endangered species list.
Its also interesting to note they, ostensibly, did this to help the poor and down trodden, low and middle classes who apparently cant afford the more expensive, but much more efficient (energy saving), fluorescent or LED bulbs. The Republicans sticking up for the poor somebody pinch me.
The other issue which raised my hackles a pinch was tying the funding of the federal government and continuing a tax reduction to (you better sit down) construction of an oil pipeline, known as the Keystone project.
I know, I was as surprised as you. Why would they do this? Could it be their undying love for, and total commitment to, the oil industry? I suspect its more nefarious, and that they are actually trying to separate two of Obamas ardent groups of supporters - environmentalists and union workers.
This subversive action is probably a good plan, but I might suggest that the same tens of thousands of jobs being created by an oil pipe line could just as likely be created by constructing any number of much less polluting energy producers such as wind turbines and solar arrays.
Instead, our leaders choose the path of a hundred years of tradition unimpeded by progress. Way to go legislators! Thank you for your hard work and creative solutions.
Im not so naive as to think this is a one-way street. I know the Democrats had a big hand in this also, and are equally to blame. However, if I have to choose sides, Id rather fight to have a cleaner safer environment, as well as, safer food and water as opposed to air and water pollution, supporting big business, the banking industry, insurance companies and huge farms sucking up hundreds of millions in subsidies.
Finally, we have the never ending fight over increasing taxes on millionaires which the Republicans are loath to do. I was curious as to why that might be and I may have stumbled upon the answer. It seems 47% of our Congressmen ARE millionaires. Coincidence? I dont think so.
Okay, let the hate mail begin.
Thats my opinion, whats yours?
Rick Godfrey writes a regular column for fredericknewspost.com.