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

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Mostly cloudy
Mostly cloudy
52°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
1955 - Actor and nightclub owner Ace Cain incorporates the Rocky Springs Country Club in Sand Canyon [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
Thursday, Feb 15, 2018
There was broad public support for the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan, which struck a careful balance between lands available for large-scale renewable energy development and the environment. Now the federal government is rethinking it - putting the important and much-needed protections at risk.
Tuesday, Feb 13, 2018
You can prevent vision loss by finding and treating problems early. Medicare covers a glaucoma test once every 12 months for people at high risk for glaucoma
Wednesday, Feb 7, 2018
Sierra Club Angeles Chapter SCV Group Chair Sandra Cattell urges Santa Clarita Valley residents to contact their congressional representatives to push legislation to kill the Cemex mining project in Soledad Canyon.
Friday, Feb 2, 2018
Santa Clarita City Manager Ken Striplin highlights the city's customer service efforts in his message for February 2018.
Friday, Feb 2, 2018
If the Department of the Interior is successful in destroying this national monument, the next one slated for destruction is Grand Staircase-Escalante, then Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument along the California-Oregon border.
Friday, Feb 2, 2018
Here’s what is happening on February 24: a rally to organize students in the Los Angeles Unified School District "against" the highly effective Los Angeles School Police Department.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1955 - Actor and nightclub owner Ace Cain incorporates the Rocky Springs Country Club in Sand Canyon [story]
1949 - Short-lived oil drilling operation on Newhall's Arcadia Street ends [story]
The next meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is set for Tuesday, February 20, starting at 1 p.m.
Feb. 20: LA County Board of Supervisors Meeting
Little, Brown Books recently published CalArts alum Vashti Harrison's (Film/Video MFA 14) debut illustrated book, "Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History."
Vashti Harrison Talks ‘Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History’
UCLA's Hammer Museum has announced the 32 artists including six CalArts alumni who will participate in "Made in L.A. 2018," the fourth edition of the museum's biennial exhibition, which runs June 3 to Sept. 2 at the Westwood museum.
6 CalArtians Among Artists Selected for ‘Made in L.A. 2018’
The Isaura String Quartet will present an evening of music by CalArtians at Human Resources LA in Downtown Los Angeles on Sunday, February 18 starting at 8 p.m.
Feb. 18: Isaura String Quartet to Perform at Human Resources LA
Two films directed by alumni of California Institute of the Arts' legendary Character Animation program, "Coco" and "The Boss Baby," are nominated for "Best Animated Feature" Academy Awards.
Oscar Buzz: Will 2018 Bring Oscar No. 11 to a CalArts Animator?
Crime Prevention deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station, assisted by Crime Impact Team deputies, conducted checks on probationers at six different locations on Thursday but made no arrests.
SCV Deputies’ Latest Probation Check Nets No Arrests
Artist Bob Hernandez will give a charcoal/pastel inspirational talk at the Monday, Feb. 19 meeting of the Santa Clarita Artists Association at Barnes & Noble in Valencia starting at 6:30 p.m.
Feb. 19: Bob Hernandez Charcoal, Pastel Demo at Barnes and Noble
U.S. Air Force Airman Taylor M. Lingscheit has graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas.
West Ranch Alum Taylor Lingscheit Graduates USAF Basic Training
The city of Santa Clarita, County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, the Hart District and the Los Angeles Conservation Corps celebrated the growth and continued success of the school district’s recycling program with a media event at Valencia High School Thursday.
Santa Clarita, LA County Celebrate School Recycling Push
The Master's University women's basketball team hopes it finds its offensive mojo by Saturday evening when it takes on No. 4 Westmont College in Santa Barbara.
Master’s Seeks Offensive Mojo Ahead of Westmont Showdown
The Master's College Mustangs men's basketball team (25-1) can lock in at least a share of the program's first-ever GSAC regular-season title with a win at No. 8 Westmont College on Saturday.
Mustangs Could Clinch GSAC Title Saturday in Santa Barbara
College of the Canyons' baseball team tasted both victory and defeat on Wednesday, dropping a 6-5 extra innings decision to Cerritos College in a make-up game and following with a 4-3 win in the regularly scheduled contest.
Cougars Hold On for 4-3 Win Over Cerritos College
With a hard-fought 81-77 victory over visiting Bakersfield College on Wednesday night in the Cougar Cage, College of the Canyons' men's basketball team moved into the conference top spot one win away from winning a conference championship.
Cougars Claw Bakersfield 81-77, Move Into Conference Top Spot
College of the Canyons women's basketball team won its eighth straight game Wednesday night in the Cougar Cage, knocking off conference rival Bakersfield College 88-60 and clinching at least a share of WSC South Division championship.
COC Women’s Hoops Team Wins 8th Straight, Share of WSC Title
The Los Angeles County Community Development Commission has earmarked $1.5 million in Affordable Housing Trust Funds for construction and financing of Six Four Nine Lofts, a supportive housing development for homeless military veterans and special-needs households on L.A.'s Skid Row.
LA County, City Team to House Homeless Veterans, Special Needs Households
The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station, the city of Santa Clarita and Valencia High School officials will partner to bring the “Every 15 Minutes” program to the school on Tuesday, February 20.
Feb. 20: ‘Every 15 Minutes’ Clocks in at Valencia High School
Producers Michael De Luca and Jennifer Todd have unveiled the first slate of presenters for the 90th Oscars telecast, to be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel live on Sunday, March 4, on the ABC Television Network.
Academy Names First Slate of Presenters for 90th Oscars
Arson, assault and vehicle burglary are among the crimes listed on the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station's public safety and crime information report for Newhall (Zone 6) for January 29-February 8.
Crime Blotter: Arson, Assault, Vehicle Burglary in Newhall
2000 - Rancho Camulos designated a National Historic Landmark [story]
A new electric vehicle (EV) charging station is open for business in the city of Santa Clarita.
New Electric Vehicle Charging Station Opens in Santa Clarita
In recognition of the 90th Anniversary of the St. Francis Dam Disaster, the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society will present, "The Longest Straw," Saturday, Mar. 24 at 7:00 p.m.
Mar. 24: Santa Clarita Premiere of ‘The Longest Straw’
As part of the 90th anniversary commemoration of the St. Francis Dam disaster, Santa Clarita historian Phil Scorza, host of SCVTV series “Points of Interest”, will show an exciting series of vintage newsreels from the period of the disaster, and more recent documentaries about the disaster and water history of Los Angeles.
Mar. 10: A Night of St. Francis Dam Newsreels, Documentaries
NORTHRIDGE - CSUN Men's Basketball (6-20, 3-9 BWC) led most of the game against UC Riverside Wednesday at The Matadome, but ultimately an 18-0 run by the Highlanders would prove to be too much for the shorthanded Matadors' squad as they dropped a tough decision, 69-62.
UC Riverside Bests Matadors 69-62
NORTHRIDGE - CSUN Baseball kicks off its 60th season on Friday afternoon as the Matadors open up a four-game weekend series against BYU at Matador Field.
Matadors Open Up 2018 Baseball Season Against BYU
The Governing Board of the William S. Hart Union High School District appointed four new assistant principals Wednesday night.
Four New Assistant Principals Appointed to Hart District
Saugus High School initiated a soft lockdown early Thursday morning after an unidentified male reportedly called the school office with threatening statements. The following account is from the Facebook page of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station: Soft Lockdown Initiated at Saugus High School; Lifted 30 Minutes Later
Presenter Corey Quinn, Chief Marketing Officer, Scorpion Internet Marketing will discuss how to increase the reach & visibility of your business:
Feb. 23: Digital Marketing Like a Boss
Pinot’s Palette will be joining Wolf Creek in supporting Carousel Ranch’s annual “Carousel Wishes & Valentine Kisses Campaign”, bringing their painting experience to the Brewery for this one special night.
Feb. 20: Wolf Creek Brewery’s Paint, Pint Night Benefiting Carousel Ranch
Babies born in February at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital are receiving red hats knitted and crocheted by volunteers for the American Heart Association (AHA) in celebration of Heart Month.
Henry Mayo Participating in Heart Month; Newborns Given Little Red Hats
The 40th annual St. Clare Lenten Fish Fry charity fundraiser begins at the Canyon Country church on Friday, February 16 from 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and continues the next five Friday evenings.
Feb. 16: St. Clare 40th Annual Lenten Fish Fry for Charity
Princess Cruises makes it easy to plan a summer cruise or cruisetour vacation with a sale on the lines’ most popular destinations, including Alaska, Summer Caribbean, Europe and Japan.
Princess Cruises Offering ‘Summer on Sale’ Deals
On Saturday, Feb. 10, Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies received information regarding several criminal threats that had been made against an employee, a female adult, at the Castaic Unified School District, by her estranged spouse.
Castaic Man Charged with Felony Stalking, Criminal Threats Against Wife
A 911 call came in at 2:36 a.m. on Thursday morning to dispatchers at Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.
911 Call to Sheriff’s Department Leads to 5 Arrests
Sacramento - Sen. Scott Wilk, (R-Antelope Valley), announces the introduction of Senate Bill 1198 (SB 1198), a measure to improve the state's ability to identify and manage high-risk repeat sex offenders.
Wilk Measure Seeks to Improve Management of Repeat Sex Offenders