[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Clear
Clear
90°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
October 16
1853 - Sarah Gifford, community leader and wife of Newhall's first railroad station agent, born in England [story]


The Rational Center | Commentary by John Zaring
| Tuesday, Jan 1, 2013

johnzaring2012Happy New Year! While most people were watching the ball drop in Times Square, I was watching a ball of a different kind being dropped in Washington: the “fiscal cliff” ball.

Somehow, despite the fact that in every corner of our great country Americans knew just how enormous the fiscal cliff stakes were, in Washington, not surprisingly, it came down to a mad scramble the final night of the year. Even though Congress had well over a year to settle this – plenty of time to craft a bipartisan agreement – they simply couldn’t do it.

And so last night, over the cliff we went.

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin said it best: “The biggest danger to the American economy is the American Congress.”

No kidding.

As you read this, America is technically over the fiscal cliff. By the time the Senate got around to approving a deal forged between the key players – President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid – the House wasn’t even in session to vote.

Boehner had recessed his chamber hours earlier, deciding to adjourn until noon today.

I suspect Boehner’s move was more of a publicity ploy than a procedural move. By voting after the Bush tax rates expired, House Republicans can spin it as a vote for a tax cut instead of an increase – because, you see, officially everyone’s taxes had already gone up once the clock struck midnight.

Of course, this is making the leap that the House will ratify the deal today with a vote of its own, which is anything but certain.

I don’t know about you, but I’m so sick and tired of the 112th Congress that their final, closing gavel cannot come soon enough. The stubborn intransigence of this particular group of morons – and let me be very clear, so you tea party types don’t miss my point and attack me for being a “crazy liberal” or some such nonsense: they are ALL morons – is beyond anything I’ve seen in my half century on this earth.

What’s wrong with these people? Why do they refuse to put our country before their party?

I have one theory, and you might not want to hear it.

It is your fault. All of you. We Americans live our lives in blissful apathy, trying to get through each day in our own little bubble with as little drama as possible. As a nation, we don’t pay close enough attention to the politics of the day, and we demand nothing of our elected leaders. And as a result, they do pretty much nothing.

Then, despite their appalling lack of results, we go ahead and reelect these people – career politicians like our own 20-year representative in Congress, Howard “Buck” McKeon – even though most of them have done little to earn a return to Washington.

Where is the outrage? Why do we tolerate this?

Well, for one thing, congressional districts have been rigged in favor of the incumbent. Over the years, districts were snaked, sometimes comically, through neighborhoods simply to create a constituency of the like-minded. As a result, our two-party system often looks more like a one-party monopoly. Again, this applies to both Republicans and Democrats.

As a result, the politicians move farther and farther to the extremes of their parties, leaving those of us in the rational center unrepresented, frustrated, and lately just plain annoyed. As the right and left drift farther and farther apart, the political mood has soured, making compromise all but impossible.

You’ll surely remember when, in August 2011, Congress argued over raising the debt ceiling up until the very last minute and ultimately shirked its responsibility to legislate and did little more than kick the can down the proverbial road. Now they’ve kicked the can again, setting up what will surely be another high drama in just weeks.

Unfortunately, this Band-Aid approach to governance breeds uncertainty the economy can’t handle. Fixing our fiscal issues in stages leaves everything muddled, and investors, businesses and the markets demand clarity in order to operate effectively. While we might be getting a bipartisan solution to the tax increase today, it is not a grand bargain, not even close. We needed something to tackle the debt ceiling and spending cuts and all of the other systemic issues wreaking havoc on consumer confidence and instead, we got more of the same.

It appears everyone who voted for this bill has something they dislike about it, which to me is a good sign, since everyone is so entrenched in their ideology. However, this means that 2013 will be troublesome at best, and at worst, littered with a series of self-made disasters involving incessant squabbles, procedural fights and quorum calls.

With so much left unresolved, the next Congress will go right back into trench warfare, making bold, bipartisan compromise little more than a pipe dream. Until Congress gets past the debt ceiling and sequestration, it will be all but impossible to clear the deck to address the other important issues which demand attention, such as immigration and tax code reform.

Our leaders apparently enjoy playing with fire, so folks, buckle your seat beats and settle in for another tumultuous year watching the partisans (yes, from both sides) prevent the moderates from getting anything done.

To be blunt, this is your fault. You sent these morons to Washington. Happy New Year.

 

John Zaring describes himself as a reformed Republican turned moderate Democrat who believes democracy works best when its government actually functions because its leaders are working together. He serves on the Castaic Area Town Council’s Land Use Committee, Castaic Middle School’s Site Council, the Hart District’s WiSH Education Foundation, and he is the West Ranch High School representative on the Hart District’s Advisory Council. A self-proclaimed “New Democrat” a la Bill Clinton, he lives in Castaic with his wife of 21 years and their daughters, Fiona, 16, and Kylie, 12. His commentary publishes Tuesdays.

 

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


Opinion Section Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
RECENT COMMENTARY
Tuesday, Oct 10, 2017
It was 10 years ago this fall semester that we opened the Canyon Country Campus on Sierra Highway. We are celebrating a decade of academic excellence and community impact. What a difference a decade makes.
Tuesday, Oct 3, 2017
The Trump budget proposes decreasing funding to the Department of the Interior by $1.5 billion. Trump is calling for more drilling in national parks and monuments. He plans to open BLM land to drilling and fracking.
Tuesday, Oct 3, 2017
We are quickly approaching the culmination of the year-long celebration of our city’s 30th anniversary. It is truly a time to celebrate all the hard work, dedication, perseverance and passion that took our City from being a tiny portion of Los Angeles County to the thriving third largest city in the county.
Tuesday, Oct 3, 2017
This month marks an exciting milestone for the premier arts and entertainment district in Santa Clarita.
Friday, Sep 29, 2017
Kaepernick has never spoken of personally experiencing any negative interactions with the police. Appearances are he had a pretty nice life provided by people with white skin while living in a country that presented him with obvious, mind-boggling opportunities.
Thursday, Sep 28, 2017
Despite its close proximity to the city of Barstow, Rainbow Basin remains virtually undiscovered. It is well worth a visit. Visitors to the area can find scenic opportunities for hiking, rock scrambling, camping, photography, sightseeing and horseback riding.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, Governor Brown signed off on a new bill that will change local water retailers distribute water in SCV. Plus, a spicy and savory Saturday for charity. Watch these stories and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Monday, October 16, 2017
The Newhall School District's next Regular Board Meeting is Tuesday, October 17 at 6:15 p.m., and consideration of Newhall Family Theater approvals are on the agenda.
Oct. 17: Newhall School District Considers Newhall Family Theater OK
Master’s and Westmont College needed more than 90 minutes again Saturday to settle a Golden State Athletic Conference showdown in Santa Barbara.
Master’s Men Soccer Players Fall to Westmont in OT
Leaders from the CLWA and NCWC will meet in October, November and December to discuss their merger, which creates the Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency as of Jan. 1.
Next Step: Water Agency Officials to Share Merger Details
Master’s women soccer players and coaches alike were adamant after Saturday’s top-10 matchup that Westmont’s 5-2 win wasn’t nearly as lopsided as the score suggests.
Westmont Tops Master’s Women’s Soccer 5-2
Although Friday the 13th is a day generally associated with bad luck, CalArts turned the superstition on its ear as the community celebrated the inauguration of its fourth president, Ravi S. Rajan.
CalArts Inaugurates Ravi S. Rajan as Fourth President
CalArts School of Theater faculty Janie Geiser brings her collage film program "Double Vision" to REDCAT in downtown Los Angeles on Monday, Oct. 16 at 8:30 p.m.
Oct 16: ‘Double Vision’: Recent Films by Janie Geiser at REDCAT
The promising signs the Mustangs showed in their Missouri opener paid off in the evening Friday when Master’s women’s volleyball picked up its first road win of the season.
Master’s Rallies on the Road, Nets Season’s First Win
College of the Canyons' women's volleyball team opened Western State Conference play in style, as the Cougars swept visiting West L.A. College in straight sets.
No. 11 Canyons Sweeps West L.A. at the Cougar Cage
Route 66 Classic Grill in Canyon Country will host a fundraiser for local victims of the October 1 Las Vegas shootings on Saturday, October 28, from noon to 4 p.m.
Oct. 28: Route 66 Hosts Benefit for Las Vegas Shooting Victims
A roundup of the Santa Clarita arts-related events for Oct. 16-20, 2017.
Oct. 16-20: Santa Clarita Arts Upcoming Events
The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce's October mixer is set for Wednesday, October 18 at Atria Senior Living in Newhall starting at 5:30 p.m.
Oct. 18: SCV Chamber October Mixer at Atria
The Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley will host a series of "Great Futures" tours for local residents in an effort to get the word out about the club's programs and services.
SCV Boys & Girls Club Hosts ‘Great Futures’ Tours
A special meeting of the Santa Clarita City Council, the Planning Commission, the Parks, Recreation and Communnity Services Commission, the Arts Commission, and the Open Space Preservation District Financial Accountability and Audit Panel is set for Tuesday, October 17 at City Hall.
Oct. 17: Harassment, Abusive Conduct Prevention Training for City Officials
The Hart Indians outscored the Canyon Cowboys 35-18 at Harry Welch Stadium Friday, October 13, in the teams' 50th matchup, and Kevin Karzin, president of the SCV Photographers Association, contributed photos from the game.
Photo Gallery: Hart Indians Beat Canyon Cowboys 35-18
Gov. Brown has vetoed a President Donald Trump-inspired proposal that would have required presidential candidates to release their tax returns in order to appear on the statewide ballot.
Brown Vetoes Bill Requiring Candidates Release Tax Returns
Gov. Jerry Brown signed a series of bills on Sunday calling for criminal justice reforms, including reduction of penalties for some gun and drug crimes and changes to the Megan's Law sex offender registry.
Brown Signs Bills for Criminal Justice Reforms
1853 - Sarah Gifford, community leader and wife of Newhall's first railroad station agent, born in England [story]
With the stroke of his pen Sunday, Gov. Jerry Brown eliminated the Castaic Lake Water Agency and Newhall County Water District and replaced them with a new water agency for the Santa Clarita Valley.
Brown Signs Wilk Bill Merging SCV Water Agencies
1939 - Second, larger OLPH Catholic Church dedicated on site of first (10th & Walnut, Newhall) [story]
Santa Clarita-based Princess Cruises celebrated the New York premiere of “Born to Dance,” the latest offering from its first-of-its-kind partnership with award-winning composer Stephen Schwartz and famed director/creator Daniel C. Levine.
Princess Cruises Celebrates NY Premiere of ‘Born to Dance’ With Schwartz, Levine
1980 - Phillies beat Royals in Game 1 of World Series; Hart grad Bob Walk is winning pitcher [story]
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honored 17 student winners from colleges and universities around the world at the 44th Student Academy Awards ceremony in Beverly Hills Thursday night.
Medalists Revealed at 2017 Student Academy Awards
The Los Angeles Dodgers will play host to the Chicago Cubs in Game 1 of the 2017 NLCS at Dodger Stadium on Saturday starting at 5:08 p.m.
National League Championships Open at Dodger Stadium Saturday
Santa Clarita ranks No. 5 among Los Angeles County's 88 cities in the assessed value of all taxable real property and business personal property, according to the 2017 Annual Report released by County Assessor Jeffrey Prang today.
Santa Clarita No. 5 Highest Valued City in LA County
The U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI, and a coalition of other law enforcement agencies and community organizations will host the 9th Annual Cyber Crime Prevention Symposium in downtown Los Angeles on Monday, October 16 from 8:25 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.
Oct. 16: Cyber Crime Symposium for Educators, Parents, Students
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, locals found out what it is like to be a school principal. Plus, there are some great events to head out to this weekend. Watch these stories and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Friday, October 13, 2017
Starting Monday night, Oct. 16, the California Department of Transportation will paint new temporary lanes on a section of Interstate 5 aka the Golden State Freeway in and near the city of Santa Clarita.
New Temporary Lanes Coming Monday on Interstate 5 in SCV
The William S. Hart Union High School District is looking for someone to become a personnel commissioner to serve a three-year term beginning December 1, 2017.
Hart District Seeks Personnel Commissioner for Classified Employees
The College of the Canyons baseball program and Playa Vista Orioles youth baseball organization will host a free instructional clinic for players ages 11-14 at COC's Cougar Field in Valencia on Saturday, Oct. 21 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Oct. 21: COC Baseball, Playa Vista Orioles Youth Classic
An alumna of the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley, Cinthya Medrano, is the first recipient of a Duane R. Harte Memorial Scholarship.
Cinthya Medrano Earns First Duane R. Harte Memorial Scholarship
The non-profit Santa Clarita Coalition has created a Facebook page to aid the Evans family after the mother of six children died in a car crash on Golden Valley Road.
Facebook Page Created to Aid Evans Family
The Golden State Gateway Coalition, a non-profit transportation education and advocacy organization based in Santa Clarita, has published the fall 2017 edition of its newsletter, "Interchange."
Golden State Gateway Coalition Issues Fall 2017 Newsletter
The Castaic Lake Water Agency's Budget and Rates Committee is scheduled to meet on Tuesday, October 17 at 5:30 p.m.
Oct. 17: CLWA Budget and Rates Committee Meeting
A "Tip-a-Cop" fundraiser for the Special Olympics Santa Clarita Valley is set for the Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews restaurant in Valencia on Thursday, October 19, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Oct. 19: Tip-a-Cop at Red Robin for Special Olympics SCV
California Governor Jerry Brown declared a statewide hepatitis A outbreak on Friday, and the L.A. County Department of Public Health is on the case.
Governor Brown Declares Statewide Hepatitis A Outbreak