“Cromnibus” spending bill threatens government shutdown: US needs to lead the global fight against dysfunctional government
The leaders of the world seem to be trapped in a vicious cycle where their ongoing failures to adequately serve the interests of their Peoples is driving dysfunctional government and social instability. On the verge of another government shutdown, the United States has become the rule and not the exception.
That said, the spontaneous and enterprising nature of the American People allows us to do the same thing over and over again for decades then wake up one morning and decide to do something completely different. As such, the latest fight over funding government is as much a flashpoint for a crisis as an opportunity for the US to lead.
Looking at the 1.1 trillion dollar so-called “Cromnibus” spending bill Congress is considering, the piece of legislation contains a multitude of policy changes forged in classic closed-door meetings between members of the GOP, Democratic Party, and the President. Unfortunately, the definition of “compromise” and “balanced” for politicians seems to mean little more than giving one side something it wants for something the other side wants.
The problem with this oversimplified interpretation of these concepts is that “compromise” and “balanced” are no good unless a resolution actually fixes the problem(s) it supposed to address. Compromise does not mean neglecting one aspect of a problem to fix another, i.e. accepting a bad deal. It means bringing opposition groups together and building solutions that thoroughly address all dimensions of the issues at hand without creating new problems.
Meanwhile, a balanced solution is one that sufficiently addresses the interests of those affected by the issue at hand. Politicians have grown increasingly shallow and short-sighted in how they measure success. Politicians like to personalize issues and demonize their opponents, because voters will then decide elections based on emotion instead of strong, rational arguments. What ultimately manners, however, is if a piece of legislation is successful in solving a problem, not whose idea it is or what party supports it.
Meanwhile, some commentators and pundits want to frame divisions within the Democratic Party over policy riders included in the “Cromnibus” spending bill as a crisis for the Party. It is, however, important to recognize the Democratic Party has long been more of a coalition than an actual political party like the GOP, where members have historically been expected to rigidly adhere to the party line. Consequently, division within Republican ranks is news; whereas, division within Democratic ranks is tradition.
Quite frankly, democracy benefits when the representatives of the American People do not simply adhere to what Party leadership wants. Congressmen and Senators are sent to Washington to ensure the interests of their constituents are represented at the bargaining table. When House and Senate members simply “go with the flow,” especially when it comes to policies that have a big impact on the lives of the American People, democracy becomes a pointless exercise.
In reality, the latest threat of a US government shutdown has been a long-time in the making. Where Democrats blame Republicans, Republicans blame President Obama and Democrats, but the truth is that no one person is to blame as Washington dysfunction has developed over decades. Even when blame can be squarely placed on a particular individual or group of individuals, it does no good to play the blame game, unless doing so leads to viable solutions.
Certainly, there are plenty of people to blame for America’s problems, as well as the problems of the world, yet the largest problems with the governments of today are systematic in nature. This means no one person or piece of legislation can solve these problems; the overall system needs fixed. In accordance, leadership is required to force the kind of culture changes in government that are long overdue.
Given a potential war with Russia and the need to address the Islamic State, among a whole slew of global crises, the potential for a government shutdown is very problematic. On the other hand, the passage of the Cromnibus spending bill will set the tone for the next Congress.
Rewarding efforts to manufacture government crises in order to push a particular policy agenda and accepting bad policies to accomplish something that must be done will only kick the can down the road and make the dysfunction worse. Moreover, it is time all the members of the US government start leading the world in tackling the global issues of dysfunctional government.
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