December 9, 2009

Congressional arrogance

My first title for today’s column was much more negative and inflammatory. The initial title would have been very appropriate to the case I want to make. But this being the Christmas season, I decided I could make my point without being inappropriate. That point is that the problem with Congress and many of our national issues is a direct result of the pervasive arrogance of Congress and the majority of its members.

Every day that I leave Rotary after reciting the Four-Way Test, I wonder if any of our senators and congressmen are Rotarians? Those that are know the Four-Way Test that asks these questions:

Is it the truth?

Is it fair to all concerned?

Will it build good will and better friendships?

Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

If there are Rotarians serving in the House or Senate who do live by the Four-Way Test, they would not so arrogantly push for the extreme and ignore the critical.

Most presidential elections are decided by five percentage points or less. Congressional races, regardless of which party is in control, are won by a simple majority in most cases. Thus for any party that happens to be in the majority to act like they have a mandate to run roughshod over the other is foolish. To me, it is sheer arrogance on behalf of the offending party (Republican or Democrat) to lead in such a way. Simply put, this is not leadership. True leadership comes from a strong sense of purpose, a sense of service, and a sense of doing what is right.

Our national debt is a disaster on the horizon of our future. Even while every other organization in America is tightening their belts and reducing spending, our Congress isn’t. And I don’t mean just the current Congress and president. If memory serves, President Bush only vetoed one spending bill in eight years. In fact, the United States has had debt since its inception. Historically, our debt as a percentage of GDP has risen significantly in times of war. Most recently, the War on Terrorism has triggered a doubling of the U.S. debt from 2003 to 2008. The Congressional Budget Office is forecasting that during President Obama’s term our debt as a percentage of GDP will be 100 percent or more (equal to the years we were fighting World War II).

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