Friday, February 12, 2016

That Damn Debt Duel!

The debt ceiling fight in Washington is but another example of everything that's wrong with Washington.

That Damn Debt Duel!


I am so sick of Washington's never-ending, self-absorbed caterwauling over each and every issue it undertakes, the debt ceiling duel included, and its insistence on wasting its time and our money (even in the face of looming deadlines) on stuff going nowhere.

Today, for example, the Republican-run House, with the debt clock ticking, is to vote on a tea party debt bill that includes more borrowing, deep spending cuts and a balanced-budget amendment.

This is a bill the Democratic-controlled Senate already proclaimed DOA and the president already said he'd veto.

But that won't stop the show or the posturing or the gabfest.

I'm not alone in D.C. disgust. A new USA Today/Gallup Poll says half of Americans surveyed think the president and Congress are doing a lousy job and 4 in 10 say they can't remember a time when Washington was worse.

This at a time when 14.1 million are unemployed, when a record 44 million are on food stamps and when what we get out of Washington is talk -- whether fear-mongering or fact -- of economic Armageddon: further job loss, big hits to pensions and 401ks, a steep stock market slump and possible stoppage of Social Security checks.

All of this while those we elect and pay to lead live comfortably under a blanket of full protection that WE provide. Our problems are NOT their problems. If they were, there would be solutions.

If THEY didn't have steady income with automatic raises, if THEY didn't have all-inclusive health-care benefits and fat government pensions, if THEY faced less pay, job loss, reduced retirement, there would be incentives to act in the interest of the whole rather than -- as is clearly the case -- their own political interests.

There's a real world outside Washington that never gets invited to White House picnics where the president, as he did last month, tells guests and members of Congess, "I want you guys to eat until you can't eat any more."

Even if the debt ceiling thing gets temporarily resolved (as I assume it will), the larger issue of our elected officials serving all classes of citizens instead of only the political class remains, sadly, unresolved. Grrrr.





Daily News Political Columnist
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About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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