I Hate Congress
There was once a day when the people in our elected body were the most impressive resumes imaginable. Our founding fathers were successful businessmen, scientists, poets, writers, and inventors. Please note that I didn’t mean Congress was made of men in each of those crafts, I mean every last one of them was the ultimate Renaissance man and did all of those things. They didn’t serve in politics as a career. They had hugely successful careers elsewhere which they gave up briefly in order to serve the greater good. I can safely say that I don’t know anyone as impressive as Jefferson, Hamilton, Washington, or Adams, and I know some amazing people.
They won wars, shaped a nation, and developed treaties that required impeccable knowledge of various countries, personalities, and agendas. They paid attention to nuance and to the specific motivations of other congressmen to develop masterful compromises that moved the nation forward. They were, almost to a man, national heroes, who even when we disagreed with their opinion, we respected them as patriots and statesmen.
And now? Now, we universally hate Congress. 13% of Americans are happy with the job that Congress is doing, which is roughly the same percentage of people that have some form of mental illness. As Americans, we basically agree on three things: We like the Superbowl, we like Bruce Willis movies, and we fucking despise Congress. Not only that, but most Americans feel they would do a much better job than the average Congressman. Do you think that feeling was prevalent in Jefferson’s time? Think about that: we think the people we are electing to run the country have worse judgment, less intellect, and lower character than we do.
And what did we do about it? Well, for once, we all got off our asses and in the last election, we beat the crap out of the status quo and sent a clear message to both parties about our expectations of improved Congressional performance…or so we thought…
For the umpteenth time we’re sitting here with no budget. No budget. The baseline function of the legislative branch is to pass laws, develop a budget that correlates to our tax base, and spend that money for the greater good. And here we are, once again, with no budget. You guys can’t even make “hard” decisions like cutting spending on water taxis, art trails, organic food programs for public schools and skate board parks, never mind address more uncomfortable issues like the fact that social security is dying and we have a national healthcare program that no one understands and that we cannot afford. How is this possible? How do you wake up every morning, look at yourself in the mirror, and think anything other than “I am a total failure at life”. Newsflash: that’s what we all think of you.
And what happens if the budget isn’t passed by the 8th? The military doesn’t get paid, but “essential personnel” do and non-essential personnel get an unpaid vacation. Really? Who gets to decide what’s essential? Oh, that’s right. YOU. I’m assuming your offices are going to be kept in good repair, your staff will be paid, your rent for whatever apartments you hold in DC will be attended to, your transportation will continue, the people that handle your mistresses/boytoys will be taken care of, and your security will remain in place. One thing we absolutely need to ensure in all of this mess is that the incompetent people destroying our government and not performing the most basic element of their jobs are not inconvenienced!
So when the budget doesn’t pass, a population that is already stressed to the point where even the testosterone-fueled-we-don’t-feel-pain-or-admit-weakness military community has embraced the need to counsel soldiers for post-traumatic stress is now going to be tested further by not being provided with the means to pay their bills while they are deployed? This is the best we’ve got? This is what the Democrats and the Republicans have worked together to provide? They might as well just hand out a bunch of 45s with one bullet in them to everyone in uniform. We already have an enormous suicide problem, assholes. Thanks a lot.
Congress, here’s my advice based on my five years as a business owner. I fully admit I have a lot to learn, so others feel free to chime in:
1) Pass a goddam budget.
2) Better yet, how about you go for the gusto and determine an updated tax rate, forecast how much you will take in during the next year, and develop a budget equal to or less than that amount. I would prefer less, because we owe a fuckton of money to everyone, and I would like our country to not completely fall apart.
3) I realize that you can literally print money or borrow it from other nations at exorbitant interest rates, but consider, for an instant, that the long-term financial health of our nation should probably trump your ability to bolster your re-election chances by locking up loans from China so you can keep your local pork projects up and running. By way of comparison, if Ranger Up spent astronomically more than we made in even one year, not only would we go out of business, but everyone that invested in this company would be completely screwed, and we’d still owe taxes to the government(which you’d squander). So, while I realize it isn’t exactly the same thing, I can’t help but think…you know…all the spending more than our means bit…you should stop doing that…but, you know, I’m just a caveman…
4) If you completely disagree with me on points two and three, no worries. I realize there are different opinions on how much running a deficit hurts us, and I hardly claim to be an economist. Nevertheless, pass a goddam budget.
5) Another Ranger Up comparison:
While we do a whole lot more than this, in order to survive, Ranger Up has to do at least three things: Make shirts, Sell shirts, and Ship shirts. Tom, my COO, is one of my best friends. If even one day went by and he didn’t do those three things, he’d be formally counseled and kicked repeatedly in the babymaker. If two days went by and he didn’t do those things, he’d be fired, and he’d happily admit he had it coming, because his job is clear and I entrust him with a great deal of responsibility. But you know what? At the end of the day, we’re just shipping shirts.
You clowns approve the largest budget in the world and every freakin’ year it’s the same shit – a political standoff. Democrats, I’m pissed at you for not accepting the fact that the nation sent a clear message to change the financial status quo in the last election. Republicans, I’m pissed at you for being completely unreasonable and using this situation to propose a balanced budget amendment (which I would normally support) knowing that it will never pass right now. Both sides have decided to have a “big dick contest” over who is more righteous as you carefully plan your election strategy for 2012 while we have troops in Afghanistan, Iraq, Africa, Japan, Libya, and southern Africa actively engaged in combat or relief operations. Are you kidding me? Contest results: a) You’re all found wanting. b) Pass a goddam budget.
6) Psssssst, Congress…I’m whispering so no one will hear me: Being American is a pretty sweet gig. Most of us don’t appreciate it, but we have it about as good as it comes. Ask anyone who has actually been to a combat zone, third world country, peace corps mission, etc. (no your study abroad program to a western European country doesn’t count).
Our lives are so good and we have so much stuff that we pretty much ignore and accept that you are completely incompetent and corrupt. We turn our backs to the fact that both sides routinely claim to hate each other, while you hang out together, drink together, and hook each other up with ambassadorships and leadership positions in major government organizations that none of you are remotely qualified to handle. We ignore you when you espouse hardcore Christian ideology, call out others for adultery, and then get caught with three different women, two men, and a goat. We give you a pretty wide berth. All that we ask, I say again, ALL THAT WE ASK, is that you don’t completely fuck it all up, so we can continue to plan for our next weekend party instead of having to pay attention to your incompetence. Hint: We’re starting to pay attention to you. Pass a goddam budget.
7) Finally, if you really aren’t going to execute this simple and fundamental task, as is your charge, then everything, not just military pay, should be shut down. No power in government facilities, no security at the White House, Capitol, etc. No military actions of any kind. Your staff goes home. You pay for your own flight back, your own offices, your own apartment in DC. Federal school budgets go away, welfare checks cease, as does Medicare and social security. Everything comes to a screeching halt and the eyes of the country sharply turn to you. Right now you have the luxury of living an existence that even Paris Hilton doesn’t enjoy – one without consequence. You are complete failures. Do something right. Or at least give it a try. You might find that you like it.
8 ) Oops. I forgot one more thing: PASS THE GODDAM BUDGET.