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  • Morning Bell: Dysfunctional Washington

    Within one year of being elected, Governor Scott Walker (R) reformed the state’s public sector pension system, eliminated a $3.6 billion budget deficit without raising taxes, saved taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars, and helped create the conditions that have allowed Wisconsin’s economy to grow again. Meanwhile, thanks to the dysfunction in Washington, America continues to suffer high unemployment, out-of-control spending, and faces a historic tax hike that could send the country over a fiscal cliff.

    Last week, Americans received more bad news on the country’s economic performance. According to the latest Department of Labor jobs report, the U.S. economy created only 69,000 net jobs in May, and the unemployment rate increased to 8.2 percent. To add insult to injury, it was also reported that employers created 49,000 fewer jobs than originally estimated in March and April. Put it all together, and we see that the U.S. economy is approaching stall speed.

    If Washington doesn’t act, things could get much worse, not better. That’s because of a massive $494 billion tax increase set to hit on January 1, 2013. Known as “Taxmageddon,” the tax hike will be the result of the expiration of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, the termination of other tax policies, and the imposition of new taxes, such as those under Obamacare. Economists say that Taxmageddon will spell further doom for the U.S. economy, and this week, even former President Bill Clinton agreed that Washington should temporarily extend the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has said the House will vote on extending the tax policies before the November election, but President Barack Obama and Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) have so far ignored the pending crisis. Meanwhile, the economy is in limbo, waiting for Taxmageddon to strike.

    On top of a massive tax burden, America is careening toward a European-style spending and debt crisis. Heritage’s Alison Fraser explains:

    The sad fact is that U.S. federal debt soon will reach economically damaging levels, and spending will be the driver of that explosion. The three major entitlements–Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid–will accelerate spending growth in the future due to demographic changes and rising health care costs. In 2012, they comprise approximately 45 percent of total federal spending, or 10 percent of GDP. By 2035, they will reach approximately 16.5 percent of GDP. Left alone, they will devour all tax revenues by 2045, assuming the historical level of taxation.

    What’s Washington doing about it? Conservative senators and representatives have put forward serious proposals to tackle the debt and spending crises, chief among them being Senator Mike Lee’s (R-UT) budget, which mirrors the bold and thorough reforms The Heritage Foundation first proposed in its Saving the American Dream plan. Though the House has passed a budget, the Senate has not passed one in 1,135 days. And as for the president’s plan, the Senate voted it down 99 to nothing.

    The dysfunction in the U.S. Senate has reached a new low under Majority Leader Reid, who is using tactics to rule with tyranny, restricting senators’ rights to participate in debate and offer amendments. Heritage’s Brian Darling explains in a new paper how this has impacted the political process:

    Stripping Senators of the right to bring issues up for debate in the form of amendments has dramatically affected the national debate from entitlement reform to gun rights. If Senators are not allowed to offer amendments to bills, those issues are often never debated by the American people. When Members chose to filibuster bills to open legislation to a free amendment process, they are demonized by leadership and left-wing groups.

    So while unemployed Americans suffer record joblessness, as families and businesses brace themselves for a massive tax increase, and as the United States heads toward a fiscal meltdown, some in Washington are unable or unwilling to take action to turn the country around. There are good and honorable leaders in our nation’s capital who have proposed the kinds of policies needed to set America on the right track, yet there are others who prefer gridlock to action. Sadly, the business-as-usual gridlock in Washington is the mirror opposite of the action taken in places like Wisconsin’s state house, and the American people are paying the price.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    32 Responses to Morning Bell: Dysfunctional Washington

    1. glynnda says:

      Not only do we have a huge budget deficit in Washington, we have a huge character deficit. The legislators for the most part are more concerned about the upcoming election than they are doing the right thing. We as a nation hold blame for allowing them to hold their seats for so long after we have witnessed they lack of character. Perhaps after seeing the massacre of a corrupt "Left" in Wisconsin legislators in DC will get the idea and begin to understand that if they begin to exhibit serious character in their actions they will get a serious backing from their character-oriented citizenry…..I highly suspect that this particular set of citizenry is indeed a sleeping giant just waiting to be led by decent men and women.

    2. toledofan says:

      The government has gotten so big and their appetite for more money has just gotten out of control. The more they take from us, the more they spend, and the more waste they create. Obama's digging in on not extending the Bush tax cuts is just appaling and it's obvious that he actually wants the economy to go into the tank. So, here's Mr. hope and change, our President, purposefully doing everything he can to ruin the economy and the recovery. In the same breath, he says, I need four more years to finish what I started and really create more suffering for America. If we re-elect this guy we're all nuts.

    3. Frank says:

      "On top of a massive tax burden, America is careening toward a European-style spending and debt crisis. " <– Yep, that about sums it up! Will Washington politicians address the grave problems by doing what's necessary: cut the budget, balance the budget asap, cut red tape & regulations, end corporate crony capitalism & union thuggery, return to sound (gold/silver) money? Basically: end the out of control welfare/warfare/Police State!? Will they do it? Probably not! The short term goals of unions, big corporations & career politicians wanting big campaign contributions to get re-elected & the big donors expecting political "payback" won't let long term reason & goals prevail. The USA will collapse.

    4. Johncdavidson says:

      Is there any doubt in any rational thinker's mind that the 17th amendment must be repealed if the Senate is ever going to be able to function properly again!.

      • Jeanne Stotler says:

        It's nt he 17th admendment that's at fault, it the GREED of those elected, who think this should betheir career. Our founding Fathers thought that Sen. and Reps would be part time and they'd go home end their home area businesses and farms. What we need is a 28th admendment, repaeal the27th (Congress pay) A 28th admendment would set term limits an eliminate the excessive retirement and health Insurance, making Congress come under the very laws they inact. Senators would serve no more than 2 terms, Reps, would serve no more than 4 terms.

    5. There are good and honorable leaders in Washington indeed. They are in the majority of the House and the minority of the Senate. You essentially blame both parties and here is where your article fails. The House has forwarded 30 bills to the Senate addressing these issues, 17 of them directly addressing that pesky budget thing. Harry Reid is obeying the dictates of his Lord and Master, Obama, in preventing anything from happening in the Senate. This will not change until the American people change the makeup of the Senate and replace the President.

    6. Charlie says:

      Obama makes me want to puke.

    7. Bob says:

      There is a book that forsees all of this and it is in the making. The book I refer to is the bokk of Revolations in the King James version of the Holy Bible. It clearing states that this kind of thing is going to take place all over the planet and that it is inevitable that all empires fall to their greed and folly. Yes I know not all believe that but look at what is going on. Our Government is not broken. It has become virtually usless with the exception of self service, just as the book claims. Wars and pestulants all over the planet. No I am not preaching doom and gloom. More over I am preaching that this is going to happen regardless of what we do or how we do it as it is design by the ultimate power! So buckle up and get ready for a bumpy ride!

      • Bobbie says:

        With all due respect, It wasn't "designed" by the ultimate power, Bob. It's commenced by man's free will who also read the words and are up for the part. It's all the test of men that flunk by free will to call it to be. Promoting the fall of men where the weak follow the lead as the world experiences the weakest of humanity in high places…

        All free will as America is forcefully left to deal with the freedom of will that isn't apart of God's good but of man's arrogant, egotistical own, who refuse the good God gave them and choose cowardice instead. The book of revelation is what it says it is as we do witness man's fall by free will but our part is not to fall short in continuing the building of inner strength where men still have the ability to reason…

    8. Curt Krehbiel says:

      "Meanwhile, thanks to the dysfunction in Washington, America continues to suffer high unemployment, out-of-control spending, and faces a historic tax hike that could send the country over a fiscal cliff."

      All by design by the Obama administration to relegate this country to third world status and communism.

    9. Bob says:

      Leave us not forget folks. A mere 236 years ago we faught to get away from this kind of oppressive taxation and other things. So here we go again!

    10. Lloyd Scallan says:

      Again Mr. Brownfield is missing the point. This is not "dysfunction"! This is a president and a political party deliberately attempting to distroy this nation and it's economical system. How can any free thinking American look at what Obama, the Dems, and a few RINO's are doing and suggest dysfunctionallity is the cause? No living human is that out of touch with reality.

      • Wayne Peterkin says:

        I'm not sure that Mr. Brownfield meant that dysfunction is the cause, rather it's the result.

    11. Jack Becker says:

      time for a change!

    12. Bill says:

      Too much power in one set of hands. If a bill gets forwarded from the House, there should be a deadline by which it must get voted on, in the Senate. One person should not dominate the agenda setting.

    13. Mimi says:

      I am sick and tired of Social Security referred to as an "entitlement"! I paid into it for 42 years (my husband for 51 years). Now that we receive benefits, the govt adds insult to injury by taxing us on those benefits even though we never received a dime in interest as we would had we invested it privately. Depending on who dies first, one of us will never see the money we paid into Social Security over the years — the govt will confiscate it and "redistribute" to non-retirees. The icing on the cake is that since my husband is 70-1/2, he is forced to take partial distribution on his 401k so the govt can tax it. He will be forced to do this from now on annually until we have no money left in that account, which is all the money we saved for retiremen. So much for working hard and acting responsibly all our lives.

      • ThomNJ says:

        I agree with you that social security payments should not be taxed at all – we get back inflated dollars with zero interest – we won't ever get back what we actually paid in……and the damn politicians have the nerve to take some of it back.

      • ThomNJ says:

        The "entitlement" moniker certainly does not fit for people like you and me who actually paid into the system, but it certainly applies to those who never paid a dime into it and are receiving checks. Specificity from those calling it an entitlement would help, wouldn't it?

      • pcj says:

        It's an entitlement if you don't have to pay into it but get it by simply attaining a certain age and applying for it; it's an earned benefit for those of us who worked and contributed during our working years. If we had been able to put the money into a private account, the monthly checks would be twice as much. We've been ripped off again by a government who "wants to help us" and then wants to tell us how much of our money to spend by "partial distributions".

    14. Agleh Renreow says:

      It is high time our Lord sends his son down to earth again to save us from all this evel and set us free a second time. The Devil sits in our Whitehouse and rules from there. Please God we need help. Amen

    15. Carol, AZ says:

      The actions by Governor Walker's reform measures_ supported by the voters in Michigan, is called_ leadership.
      Leadership_ during the "Budget Repair Bill" in Feb_when the State Capitol in Madison was under siege by unionist supporters.
      Leadership_ when 14 , States Dems., (cowards) fled the State_ to disallow a quorum for vote_ on the B.R. Bill.
      Leadership_when death threats were leveled against Gov. Walker and to his family members.
      Leadership_ to announce yesterday on national news: "we need to move forward now" this is behind us.
      Contrasted, per mike's description_ we are ,"demonized from D.C." on both side of the aisle.
      Fear_ has replaced leadership. Intimidation has replaced decisions making_ lack of courage, and divide through class warfare_led by coward _is collapsing our economy on every street corner.
      Nothing will change unless we change it.
      Vote out the cowards running this country in November and that would be most of them.
      Thank you, Gov.Walker for your resolve_ to analyze_ find answers_ and having the courage make the difficult decisions.
      Thank you for your leadership.

      • Andy WI says:

        Carol, the leadership and character that Walker has shown has been nothing short of inspirational. anyone living outside of Wisconsin who has been following the turmoil in our state over the last 18 months was only given a partial picture of what was really going on here. The mainstream media, and even fox news at times, were not giving a complete picture and feel for the extent of the radical behavior of the union activists and our liberal politicians, judges and government accountability board. he had to fight outside and internal attempts to do whatever it took to destroy him.
        hopefully in the weeks and months going forward the story of what he has overcome will spread across this nation and inspire other leaders, and those that support them, to stand up and say – no – DEMAND ENOUGH IS ENOUGH AND TAKE BACK OUR COUNTRY!! spread the word to those who do not know the truth and let them know it is possible. while the unions had a paid army of activists, walker relied on citizen volunteers who stepped up to the challenge. the stories of people who had not voted in decades or even their lives getting out and voting for walker were non stop all Tuesday. the silent majority has spoken.

        Andy happy to be in Wisconsin

    16. ChuckL says:

      There is one major fallacy in the presentation of the current argument. The fallacy is that this presentation indicates that some action is better than nothing. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Obamacare or as it is fallaciously named, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, is one law that I believe all of you would agree demonstrates clearly that in some cases Nothing is better than Something.

      Consideration of the major financial problems that we have in this country clearly shows that first these laws all violate the limitations of Article 1, Section 8, which sets the authorized powers of the Congress. They have all been passed by relying on the "Commerce Clause, (Section 8, Clause 3) and ignoring the clear examples of commerce that exist in sections 9 and 10 and on a false interpretation of the "Necessary and Proper clause, Article 1 section 8, final clause. this has been expanded by ignoring that is t is applicable only to article 1, section 8 and that which may be done in accordance of the legal agencies of the government created under Article 1, Section 8.

      Unfortunately we have many agencies under the federal government which the federal government was never empowered to create. These agencies by not being authorized for creation as federal agencies were restricted to the power of the individual states.

      Unfortunately the Senate as the body that confirms justices to federal courts, including the Supreme Court, has absolutely refused to honor its obligation to oversee these courts and to remove justices who exhibit "BAD behaviour rather than the "GOOD behaviour that is required to retain their position.

    17. Casey Carlton says:

      It is long past time to get rid of Harry Reid. He is beyond reprehensible. I really hate to see America have to wait for his removal until 2013. Today would be better.

    18. ChuckL says:

      There is one major fallacy in the presentation of the current argument. The fallacy is that this presentation indicates that some action is better than nothing. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Obamacare or as it is fallaciously named, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, is one law that I believe all of you would agree demonstrates clearly that in some cases Nothing is better than Something.

    19. Mary Miller says:

      Could Walker run for President? Just asking?
      Thanks for all the hard work for Walker. Let's do it again come this Nov. The evil has to stop or God is going to do another shaking worse than 9-11. Get back to God America not your money God!
      May God Bless

    20. halynades says:

      Do the reported numbers of created jobs by the U.S. Department of Commerce include the Federal and States' bureaucratic positions?

    21. RennyG says:

      Hey, this guy is right on target and no one can see it. According to the Alinsky Model first comes the chaos!
      So far he has done that. He has shut down the senate, denied information to the public, bankrupt us as a country etc., etc. The next election, if he wins, comes the takeover of our country as a "king/dictator!!"
      And we say this guy has no experience, no one else could accomplish so much in shuch a short time!!!!
      Also, no one can stop him!!!!!! I am on my knees every day praying to "the one" who can stop him, our Lord!
      We need help from above because we can't do it down here!!!

    22. 2D Okie says:

      The Regressives' one talent is to create a disaster they can make a PRETENSE at fixing. A process by which they STEAL the value of whatever asset of the middle-class they have targetted. For examples: the value of ALL our real estate, the value of ALL our savings and investments. We will pay for with a greatly devalued dollar with higher taxes… and if you think that is ever even a fleeting thought in the liberal mind you're delusional! The house won't even slam the "Sloth", Eric Holder with Contempt and start the open war that needs to start with the Obama admin.. The "rank and file" of AMERICA need to wake up to reality. They work for their fellow citizens not the overcompensated jerk that runs their company,or the foul-mouthed arrogant deceitfull socialist creep that heads their union. All politicians need to remember: IF YOU DONT SERVE THE PEOPLE, WHERE CAN YOU SAFELY RETIRE?

    23. S. Gearing says:

      Re dysfunctional:
      A big part of the problem of Congressional nonfeasance lies in the Senate's rules. If a Senator cannot get an issue or proposal through a committee then, to get it considered at all, he has to offer an amendment to a bill that is under consideration on the floor, even if his matter is utterly unrelated to that bill. Since that body has no requirement that proposed amendments be germane nor any way other than cloture to shut the guy up, nor other functioning means to regulate what amendments will be considered, in order to keep stuff moving some kind of limit on what amendments will be taken up is indispensable. Senator Reid may be hurrying along lousy legislation but, sheesh, bad legislation can be repaired in conference or repealed if enacted; endless inaction cannot. For the Const. to authorize (Art. I, §5) each house to make its own rules is no warrant for it to amend the Const. by inventing requirements for supermajorities to consider and enact legislation; the document itself only requires them for overturning Presidential vetoes (Art. I, §7 – 2/3 in both Houses), for recommending amendments ( Art. 7 – 2/3 both Houses); and for declaring the President incapable of performing his duties (Amend. XXV §4). Senator Reid is not an enemy subversive, just a wrong headed Senate majority leader. The fix is not to vilify him nor to snivel that he limits debate by limiting amendments. It is to adopt, by simple majority, rules for the Senate that will let it get its business done and let the next election cure the mistakes.

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