Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Another Near Miss

Thank you all who set aside personal agendas and passed, however temporarily, the debt ceiling increase and budget issues.  No matter how queasy it makes me that you gave us a temporary fix, at least this was just another near miss instead of a disaster.

In psychology, in one layman's version, called Transactional Analysis, there is reference to impediments to problem resolution.  One such impediment causes the participants to "throw in everything but the kitchen sink".  They involve past quarrels, as well as side issues when discussing the current problem.  This makes it harder to reach resolution in the present situation.

It may be one of the reasons that progress cannot be made on budget issues.  So, how are we dealing with every sore spot but the kitchen sink?  Let's think about that for a moment. 

Why are participants throwing Social Security and Medicare into budget discussions and debt ceiling quarrels?  What do they have to do with these discussions?  Both have their separate funding.  The payroll deductions we pay for those are supposed to be in separate funds which should be safely invested so they will earn interest for future usage.  They are not budget items.  They do not come out of our income taxes.  Saving Social Security and Medicare should, therefore, be separate issues and discussions.  If they were left out of the extortion plots of Congressional members, it would be easier to fix the budget.  Fixing the budget might even lead to less raises of the debt ceiling.  Then, voila, perhaps we would have less gridlock in Congress.

Next, we have the Affordable Care Act, a. k. a, Obama Care, which also has a separate fund that was being tapped even as the rest of the non-essential government agencies had no funding.  Yet, our more naïve members of Congress were stalling the budget and debt ceiling negotiations to "stop Obama Care." 

As stated in previous blog articles, the Affordable Care Act is now a law.  This law has been upheld by the Supreme Court.  And, the majority of American voters apparently are willing to abide by this law as demonstrated by the reelection of the President whose name is part of the nickname for the insurance plan.

Now, granted, there are a lot of vocal people who don't like having to buy insurance even though they can afford it.  But a lot of insured people don't like paying higher insurance rates because deadbeats can, but don't, insure themselves.

Special interest groups, especially insurance companies, don't care much for it either.  Why?  If they could take our money for a hundred years and never have to pay our medical expenses, that they would like.  Payouts are anathema to them which is why they haven't wanted to insure people who are already sick or handicapped and why they drop people who get sick.  These special interest groups keep the opponents stirred up with negative advertising and even lies.  You should see the garbage that circulates on the internet.  Oh, yes, you probably have.

So, let the law alone.  It's bugs will show themselves as the launch persists and the kinks can be worked out in the future.  It's too late for big government, small government arguments pertaining to this issue.  Let this done deal alone so we can move on to unsolved deals. 

As to large government, small government issues, I look at it this way.  The less government institutions we have making laws and people telling us what to do, the better.  Most Americans have Federal, State, County and Local governments taxing them and pushing them around.  For me, less government would be one governing body, not four.  If you don't believe me, try living in a coop for a while and add another bunch of bullies telling everybody what to do and wasting your fees on things you don't care a fig about.

It is obvious Congress cannot move on so complex a set of issues.  So, separate the issues.  Surely members of Congress know how to do goal setting.  Set long-range goals.  From these, design short-term goals.  Break these down into smaller goals.  Prioritize these smaller steps.

When it is time to increase the debt ceiling, that is your priority goal.  Between debt ceiling crises, reduce the budget -- eliminate wasteful and unnecessary spending.  Stop pork barrel finance like Mitch McConnell's vote sold in return for Kentucky infrastructure improvements.  After all, most states need work on infrastructure.  Duh!  Won't Kentucky infrastructure improvements require taxes, that conservative Republican no-no?  Conservative Republicans don't like taxes?  Who are they kidding?  They just don't like to be taxed for someone else's needs.

Think of Congress as caught with too much to do. Because of it, they can't do anything, like a deer caught in the headlights.  To recap, they need to break their tasks down, prioritize and make small steps toward each goal.  Now, please just do it.  It will cut down on your stress level as much as ours.  And do it soon, not the day before the next debt ceiling deadline.

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