All Politics is Loco


Today’s guest post is by our pal and regular TPC contributor, David Garber.

The late Speaker of the House, Tip O'Neill coined the phrase, "All politics is local." I think, just like Tip, that concept has gone to the great beyond. It's no longer local -- it's become loco. Crazy, loco.

Our country faces a budget crisis, dubbed with the fancy name sequestration, but it means across the board cuts. No rhyme or reason, just slice and dice. It doesn't rescue us from any imminent danger. We aren't faced with a ticking time bomb or raging mob that requires it to be instantaneously disarmed. It's more of that Alaskan bridge to nowhere.

By instigating this sequestration, we're going to face great fiscal and security unknowns. Not total chaos, but delays, late payments, furloughs to essential care providers, defensive cracks (locally and nationally) and dangers and interruptions that we surely don't need at this time, if ever. But our Congress says it's necessary, so it has to be. They wouldn't lie or create a crisis just so they could gain some political advantage to their own philosophy.

Knowing this was coming, I planned ahead. I told my wife, not to worry. We'll do like our elected officials... About a month ago, I declared personal sequestration. Self imposed -- just like the budget act of 2011 that put us into our current national critical situation. The congressional bill started with the creation of the "super committee." Funny, when it failed I don't remember anyone bringing those losers on that committee up against a firing squad -- so obviously that part of the bill meant nothing. But sequestration -- it just sounds so ominous.

When my wife asked me what I had done, I said I just cut payments across the board by 20%. I only paid 80% of that doctor's bill. And I did the same with gas and electric. Oh, and the phone, property taxes, groceries, even our accountant prepping our taxes for last year. Certainly they'll all understand. C'mon, what's a 20% cut as long as it's across the board? No favoritism. No one is more essential than anyone else.

That didn't go over too well. My wife pointed out that my action will lower our credit rating. Companies or service providers may not want to deal with us anymore. But it was too late. I already "passed" the measure and now we were locked in. I guess it was a trap I hadn't thought about. But what could I do? I made a pledge.

My adult son who still lives with us said, just pay the bills in full. Tell the companies that I'd be sending off the balance with the next payment. I tried to explain to him that it wouldn't be right. I made a pledge. I even wrote it down on my checks when I sent them with the partial payments.

"A pledge to whom?" he asked. And you know something, he was right. It really wasn't something that I couldn't reverse. All I had to do is make a new pledge, to do away with the old pledge. Loco politics once again became local. And now that I made my new pledge to pay my bills in full, everything's going back to normal. How simple was that? And you know what, I'm now a hero in my own house for having staved off a crisis. I'm going to get extra dessert tonight.

And so it is with our national Loco politics. All the politicos in Washington are running around like chickens with their heads cut off or Chicken Little feeling that the sky's falling. But it's not. If Congress wants to extricate us from this craziness, they can simply do what I did -- pass a new bill voiding the old one. And isn't passing bills what Congress is in the business of doing? Certainly passing the buck, is.