Dear Congressional “Leaders,”
Please, no more—my frail heart just can’t take it. The whining; the bickering; the incessant finger-pointing. If it weren’t for the fact that my life is actually affected by your antics, I’d laugh. But it is, so I won’t.
At first, I found it absolutely darling when you and your pals discovered the wonders of crying “wolf!” at the debt ceiling. Forget that this particular “wolf” had been frivolously shooed away seven times under the prior administration alone. No, this time was different; this time the industrial cornerstone of the world actually had the potential to go bankrupt… according to you.
The melodrama became that much more gripping when Standard and Poor’s rating agency got involved. For the first time in our history, the United States of America received a credit rating downgrade—and it wasn’t even because of our credit per se. Instead, S&P couldn’t trust our leadership—excuse me, “leadership”—to handle debt issues with the least quantum of maturity and accountability.
Then there was the “treasonous” affair, in which Rick Perry thought it proper to compare Bernanke’s monetary efforts at spurring the economy in the presence of an upcoming election to an act punishable by death. You’re right, Perry: from now on, let’s just label all publically beneficial political acts as treasonous political campaigns. After the Big Bad Wolf of the debt ceiling, to see the right accuse the left of playing politics was just precious.
At that point, I thought we had reached the climax—I thought there was no way to follow an accusation of treason. Sadly, I was mistaken. In a historical moment when the struggling economy has become the centerpiece of our political discourse, you’ve now mustered up the intent to shoot down a job-creating bill. Bravo. I had truly underestimated your resolve.
Let’s set our cards on the table: are there legitimate concerns regarding the proposed American Jobs Act? Yes, of course. This is bipartisan politics; there will never be a piece of legislation that caters precisely to everyone’s desires. Some of you are worried about protecting the rich from “class warfare” in taxes to pay for the Act, some about the true efficacy of Keynesian economics (or, as you might prefer, throwing money at the economy and hoping for the best), some—Democrats included—about the hefty price tag and the salty aftertaste of the similar Recovery Act. Your concerns are duly noted.
But we simply don’t have the time to get bogged down with ideological rhetoric. No longer is it about whether payroll tax cuts and increased funding for education and infrastructure development constitute the ideal response; it’s about doing something. Something—anything—must be done to keep our economy afloat.
Right now, we need you to be what you purport to be: a leader. At the same time that you shouldn’t whimsically accept just any sophomoric jobs bill to cross your desk, we expect you to put the issues in perspective and make a mature, informed decision. I think it was posed best in the comedy-slash-social-commentary Idiocracy: “You either lead, follow, or get out of the way.” Leaders of America, it’s time for you to make a choice. If you truly can propose better legislation than the American Jobs Act (assuming this legislation will receive necessary bipartisan support, and can be passed and enacted with a sense of urgency) then step up and be a leader. If you have no plausible alternative to Obama’s plan (no, Republicans, the complete decimation of taxes and government spending is not “plausible”), then it’s time for you to make expected, reasonable compromises and follow the president’s lead. If you can do neither, maybe it’s time you get out of the way; in case you haven’t heard, we have a debt problem, and we can’t afford to be wasting money on your salary.