By BRYAN GRAY
The opinions stated in this article are solely those of the author and not of The Davis County Clipper.
If you ever had any doubt that our current Congress is dysfunctional, you could see it plainly in last week’s news headlines. No wonder our elected officials have a lower approval rating than anyone, other than serial killers.
The first example came in a Salt Lake Tribune story of how Sen. Orrin Hatch and his Democratic colleague from Montana (the retiring Max Baucus) were soliciting advice from senators on simplifying the federal tax code. The senators were free to offer suggestions on which deductions and exemptions should survive and which were obsolete. As an example, most taxpayers do not spend enough on medical costs to itemize them as deduction on their income tax. Would it be fairer to allow every taxpayer to deduct a portion of medical expenses, no matter the amount and eliminate a deduction helping out only one specific industry?
Hatch and Baucus wanted a discussion. But, according to the report, “few senators wanted to participate, worried their ideas would get leaked to the news media and upset interest groups defending their pet deductions” Р even with the promise that the letters would be sealed and confidential.
In other words, the current group of senators was so afraid of special interest lobbyists, donors, and party activists (MoveOn.org and the Tea Party) they refused to even mumble a solution to a ridiculously burdensome and broken tax code.
Why did we send these guys to Washington D.C. if they are acting less like a representative and more like a deer in the headlights?
Then we have the silly boy of the Senate, our own Mike Lee. If I had continually embarrassed my parents as he had literate Utahns, I would have been sent to a foster home.
Sen. Lee Р the same guy who lost his Utah house to a short sale because he couldn’t correlate his mortgage payment to his $174,000 salary Р is threatening to close down the entire U.S. government if Congress doesn’t stop Pres. Obama’s Affordable Health Act.
Whether you hate or support the so-called “ObamaCare” plan, you should find Sen. Lee’s rhetoric disturbing and childish. It is akin to a little boy not getting his way on the playground, then picking up his marbles and crying all the way home.
Our Constitution was formed by men of good will, arguing, discussing, and compromising. Today our majority leader in the Senate is a pitiful blustering sad sack while the speaker of the house lacks the courage to whack some of his right-wing children into voting for what’s best for the country.
Congressional votes are increasingly cast along party lines, regardless of the merit of the bills and the thought that went into them. Surveys show Americans are frustrated and repulsed. They expect better. And we deserve better too.
But who is to blame? Look in the mirror. We voted for them.