Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Merry Christmas, Congress

Just as Congress made sure it would not be inconvenienced by airports delays they caused by allowing sequestration, they have for the first time in many years stopped fighting to block legislation in order to not delay their holiday vacation.  Both sides of the aisles have suddenly learned the art of compromise, Boehner has brought bills to the floor despite Tea Party ire, and all are heading home for what Bill O'Reilly would insist on calling "Christmas break."

In this season of warmth and giving, it matters not that our Congressional leaders have performed a slight-of-hand with the budget deal which we did not believe they were clever enough to accomplish.  We are all just happy they did it.

Beyond the holiday cheer, however, is a grim look at what this new era of compromise heralds for us.  The new budget reinstates the full funding of the military, its waste and the greed of military corporate interests.  The compromise part of the budget is in non-defense spending.  Long term unemployment compensation is gone -- Happy Holidays, to the unemployed from your US Congress.  Another battle in the right-wing war on poverty has been won, with food stamp cuts over the next two years.  Government workers -- not Congress, of course -- will suffer cuts to pensions and increases in insurance premiums, but all for the good of the country and the pretend reduction of the national debt.

So here we are, folks, with the new, improved Congress, gearing up for the 2014 Election Season of Lies.  If only I believed that the Democrats would loudly denounce this plan by the Republicans that would have us forget all the damage they have done to the fabric of our democracy over the past five years.  Rather, they will modestly speak to their ability to garner cooperation from their "colleagues across the aisle" while aiding and abetting the plundering of the poor and middle class.

Meanwhile, the 2014 Congressional calendar is proof of the fact that our leaders are not expecting to do much next year other than run for re-election.  The House of Representatives, apparently having wasted too much of the 126 days they were scheduled to meet in 2013, have reduced their calendar year to 113 days, many of which no doubt will be taken up by voting to kill Obamacare.

Indeed, Congress more than ever continues to be the gift that keeps on giving.  To themselves.

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