Op-Ed: The disaster factory rides again — US Congress fails as usual

Posted Dec 28, 2012 by Paul Wallis
If there was ever a contradiction in terms, “Congressional leadership” truly defines the expression. The disaster factory is well and truly back in business. After 5 years of massive, humiliating hits to the US economy, they’ve done it again.
The sun sets on the US Capitol on March 22  2019 in Washington  DC.
The sun sets on the US Capitol on March 22, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Brendan Smialowski, AFP
Call it cowardice, call it corruption, call it a failure to achieve puberty, Congress has been the prime mover behind blocking any and every necessary measure for the benefit of the nation for about a decade now. Apparently anything at all is more important than the best interests of the United States.
The fiscal cliff is a creation of Congress. Thanks to infantile tantrums, it was the key provision for untangling the previous mess regarding taxes and funding. Now they’ve proven that they can’t even handle their own legislation.
Adding more instability to global finance- Gee, thanks, guys
The likely effect of the fiscal cliff will be greatly exacerbated by uncertainty. It’s not just the cliff itself, it’s the very shaky-looking financial scenarios that have people worried. This is yet another outbreak of fiduciary flatulence which will go around the world with its attending stench.
The GOP is squarely in the middle of this wannabe meltdown as usual. The last meltdowns crashed the US economy squarely on its backside in 2008, and it hasn’t really got back on its feet yet. Apparently some lessons simply will not be learned.
Spending cuts and tax hikes- Simple issues for the simple-minded
The cosmetic nature of the cliff and its ideological causes is a big part of the problems. Any ideology which causes crashing banks ( 445 US banks have gone under since 2008, and if depositors had some protection, investors didn’t.) is no asset. It’s a major national liability caused by simple-minded fixes that won’t fix anything and never could.
Even the big investment banks, despite their megalomaniacal delusions, aren’t invulnerable to a real financial meltdown. The number of musical chairs is no protection if the music stops the liquidity. The dominoes still aren’t very healthy, as they’ve proved by their endlessly desperate cost cutting.
In this explosives-packed environment, Congress is playing with detonators. Whether these guys can read and write or not, this is economic dyslexia of the worst kind. The sort that assumes a happy ending when there’s not even a happy beginning. Sort of like the Seven Dwarves not knowing Snow White is a serial killer when she moves in.
Who you gonna call? The people that get everything wrong all the time!
So let’s look at the prognosis:
What basis is there for assuming that for the first time since monkeys learned to play banjos Congress will get something right?
When in anyone’s memory since Vietnam have they got anything right?
When was the last time this institutionalized do-nothing machine did something even vaguely useful?
Congress has managed to turn itself into a default version of the Vietnam war. There are no victories, no achievements, just a lot of people getting hurt. Instead of bombing Hanoi, they’re bombing the entire US economy around the clock.
Vietnam was an ideological war, too. It wasn’t very successful, was it? Unless you include a generation of maimed and neglected veterans and their families (another routine Congressional tradition) it didn’t achieve very much.
Americans are on record as despising their politicians. The reasons are all too obvious. This is an institution which delivers nothing but failure in a country where success is God.
Foreign options for the fiscal cliff
Foreigners aren’t quite as tolerant as Americans. The novelty of these routine global disasters wore off long ago. The worst is now expected on a regular basis.
The foreign options for the fiscal cliff are really pretty simple:
1. Pull every single cent out of the US before losing more money on this broken down ex-racehorse.
2. Financial trade barriers- Not the best option, but could help offset the expected toxic shock of the usual US economic crashes.
3. Asset freezes on US companies to ensure that any money payable is actually paid.
4. Any damn thing that works to minimize damage.
We’ll see what happens- Again, and again and again, until Congress grows up and realizes its responsibilities.