Predictably, the U.S. House has recessed with a bunch of work left undone so its members can return home to campaign. Sadly, left on the table were such important matters as a tax-cut package to prevent an automatic across-the-board tax increase, undoing the mandatory defense cuts set to take place in a last-minute agreement on balancing the budget, rescuing the U.S. Postal Service and even approving the Farm Bill, probably the most pressing issue amid the nationwide heat stress on crops.
During this recess, while legislators will try to make their case on why they should be re-elected, the American people have the best opportunity to ask — how will that make a difference?
We have been whipsawed by Congress with temporary fixes in emergency issues and no strategy for long-term solutions, with each party blaming the other. And each party says this will only stop when they have the power — both chambers and the executive branch — to get things done.
Now is the time to ask ourselves, even the most partisan among us: Is this really what we want?
The founding fathers, in their wisdom, constructed a governance structure predicated on a balance of power whereby each pillar is a check on the other.
Wouldn't it be rational to assume that same construct is necessary for finding solutions for a nation so diverse and so intent on preserving individual liberties that we need to force each party to work together rather than seek dominance?
One party is fixated on class warfare digging in its heels to ensure the rich pay their "fair share," knowing full well that to do so will not have a significant impact on balancing the budget, but it will get a pound of flesh.
And the other party is determined to curb "runaway spending" by shrinking government and its expenditures, but failing to own up to the fact that getting that done in a substantial way is to severely reduce entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare.
Neither party has the silver bullet. But each may have enough thread of good ideas that when sewn together we get closer to a solution.
The problem is the extremes in both parties see compromise as a bad thing — either claiming compromise has gotten us in the fiscal mess we're in now or that the soul of the party gets lost when it adopts measures favorable to the other party. . . .
We have the opportunity to tell them neither party is going to get full rein because, frankly, we don't think that's going to work in our best interest. . . .
It's up to us.
The Free Press Mankato, Minn.