Over the weekend, Congress had two opportunities to address our debt crisis and they failed in both attempts. The result is a stock market that is once again in free fall and predictions in the financial markets of more severe economic pain.
On Friday, the House voted on a modest balanced budget amendment. It did not contain any spending caps or restrictions on taxes and it would have not have even applied during military conflicts. The bill fell 23 votes shy of passing by the required 2/3rds majority, with our own Representative Gerry Connolly (D-VA) voting against the measure. Ironically, his justification for opposing the bill was that he was against any amendment to the Constitution; but just three days earlier, he had co-sponsored an even weaker balanced budget amendment claiming that it would require “Congress to exert fiscal discipline.” We need leaders of integrity who will say what they mean and mean what they say.
To further frighten the markets, it became clear that the deficit reduction “super-committee” would also declare failure in their efforts to trim the budget by a paltry 2.5%. Predictably, the committee broke down along party lines bickering over tax rates and entitlement reform.
We have had ample warning. Greece is collapsing. Italy and Spain are on the verge of collapse. France is now beginning to see initial signs of collapse. And we are following them into the abyss. In each case, the problem is sovereign debt and in each case career politicians have refused to make responsible decisions. To quote Rep. Connolly:
“There is ample evidence, however, that this institution lacks the will and courage to undertake the policy changes necessary to effectuate a reasoned and balanced budget. Political failure can and must be addressed here and, failing that, at the ballot box.”
Rep. Connolly has repeatedly failed to propose or support any solution to this problem. In 2012 we must elect leaders who understand how serious this problem is to both our nation and to the individuals who are constantly seeing their retirement savings destroyed. We must elect leaders who will work tirelessly to propose and find reasonable solutions.