As the “Super committee” (what makes it super is unclear) nears its deadline to come up with a budget proposal to prevent mandated cuts (which aren’t binding), the dysfunction of our political system is once again on display for the nation and the world.

We have two parties entrenched in their ideologies (not rationality mind you), an attitude of “us vs. them,” and an unwillingness to find real compromise.

The Evidence:

1. The fact that we have only two viable parties is obvious.  This presents us with the problem of limited choice to cover an otherwise wide range of nuanced views on our political issues.  In this case, it’s boiled down to “spending cuts” (in the government) vs. “revenue raisers” (i.e. taxes).  My daughter has more choice in her crayon box than we allow in our governance.

2. Given point 1 above, it would seem rational that compromise would be vital in order to take care of our budget crisis.  But if one party vows to vote as a block (preventing a majority through compromise), then their chances of passing legislation seem grim indeed.

3. So if they don’t reach an accord, “mandatory” cuts to entitlement programs and defense are supposed to take place.  (Rather than more thought-out cuts, these “mandatory” cuts would be “across-the-board” through sequestration).  I keep using quotes around mandatory because Congress, being Congress (i.e. the lawmakers), can find a way around these “mandatory” cuts if all else fails (and again kicking the budget problem down the road).

4. By some accounts, the approval rating of Congress is in the single digits (i.e. 9%); and while we know that there is room for error in any poll, another survey indicates 11% of its respondents think that Communism is a better political and economic system than ours.  Of course, that’s just silly, since Marx envisioned a disillusioned working class that despairs of polarizing wealth inequality and seeks to enact change against the wealth-holders.  I mean it’s not like we have people taking to the streets or anything…

The Conclusion:

So we have perpetual fund-raisers, I mean members of Congress, refusing to compromise over a national crisis.  They show more loyalty to their party than to the constituents they’re supposed to Represent (at the expense of the latter).

Again, what are we to do about it? Rotating the old guard of Congress isn’t the answer anymore.

It’s time to urge our state legislatures to reform the primary system which effectively keeps independent and third parties out of the national elections.  It’s time to put sound bites and blind-party allegiance aside, and to inject some objective rationality into our policy decisions.  It’s time to get truly informed about our political issues, feasible solutions, and vote accordingly.

It’s time for we, the people, to reassert control over our lives.

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