Congress - Coalition Of The Unwilling And Unable

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Copyright (c) 2010 Scott F Paradis

As the sanctimonious fervor raging around the tax rates extension subsides, and we breathe a collective sigh of relief as presumably more dollars will flow to our own pockets, we find our nation accelerating down a path of self-destruction. Like addicts intent on maintaining a state of drug induced euphoria, we need ever greater doses of the choice elixir. Congress, made up of the surrogates we prefer to blame, is a coalition united in its unwillingness to cut spending, unwillingness to raise taxes and its inability to muster a coherent rationale for pursuing the agreed upon course. Failing to recognize we have a problem, we rush headlong to the altar of debt and exacerbate our predicament.

Given the myriad of arguments for and against: the rich, the poor, the working class, corporate executives, financiers, Wall Street speculators, the political class, and everyone in between we still prefer to address symptoms (shifting deck chairs on the Titanic) rather than deal with the cause.

Our grand political and economic system built over the course of two hundred plus years is dysfunctional to the point of disaster. In a system portending to be self-governing we have removed the governor and are hell bent on calamity. Every man for himself!

The founding fathers wisely understood that people with a stake in government were much more likely to cooperate and collaborate to achieve diverse self-interests. A system of government advancing the interests of the people would and could only work by distributing power amongst citizens to the maximum extent possible. Only those responsible for liabilities incurred would be prudent and judicious committing resources. People invested in government, would carefully and knowingly weigh every cost associated with any sought after benefit.

For various reasons, some good and some not so good, the United States increasingly and mistakenly centralized power in the federal government. Where formerly the people made decisions about the direction of their lives through markets and communities, today the federal government controls virtually all aspects of the economy. The power of life, death and taxes all resides in Washington.

This concentration of power divorced people from governing and increasingly obscured responsibility for liabilities incurred. The politics of government promoting the interests of citizens metastasized into the politics of special interests. The tenet of 21st Century representative democracy has become a competition of special interests - following the money. The arena for this competition is the U.S. Capitol. The vast majority of citizens are relegated to the role of spectators, while only those with big money or large voting blocks to commit influence the game.

Through this system, we, the special interests, seek to leverage the money flowing through Washington while simultaneously divesting ourselves of responsibility. We have finally found a way to create something from nothing. Our representatives, seeing no way out, bank on the United States hard-won reputation for integrity and industry and rather choose to promote a culture of indulgence.

Congress represents, we the people, as the coalition of the unwilling and unable. Not willing to face the facts we are unable to change direction. The ultimate debt is coming due. It is time we change the system.


Scott F. Paradis, author of "Promise and Potential: A Life of Wisdom, Courage, Strength and Will" publishes "Insights" and a free weekly ezine, "Money, Power and the True Path to Prosperity", subscribe now at

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