Who is to Blame? Steve Moore.

Recently someone asked my to comment on a Wall Street Journal article titled "The Pelosi-Reid Deficits" by Steve Moore.


In speaking of the nations debt problem, Moore knows who to blame. "The real culprits are Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid." The article is one of the many "It's their fault" pieces that come out of both sides of the political spectrum. All these arguments are backed with facts on who was in charge when and numerous facts on the debt. Both sides reach opposite conclusions with the same data set; how surprising. Each focus on figures that make them look better than the other guy.

Moore says. "Of course, Mr. Bush sponsored or signed into law many of these deficit-raising bills, such as the bank bailouts and effective tax rebates of 2008. But the Democratic Congress passed them." He says many things that you can read in article. Apparently he does not think the Democrats are very good for the country.

I have a different perspective and it has nothing to do with liberal/conservative or Republican/Democrats or Capitalist/Socialist ideologies; it has to do with human nature and who we are as a culture. Bear with me as I paint the picture before I hang it on the wall.

First of all, I have not checked the election data that I present here as they fit my preconceived notion. I do not know the following site; it presents some interesting concepts, none of which are included in my argument. If the numbers are completely wrong, I would love to hear about it. Otherwise, no.

http://www.innerself.com/Commentary/Congress_for_Life.htm says:

"For our first 125 years, about 35 percent of the members of the House retired before every election."
"Average turnover in the House for the entire first century of our government was 43 percent in every election."
"Reelection rates have risen, but not sharply. In the first 102 years of our history beginning in 1790 (the second election), the reelection rate in the House was 82.5 percent, overall. In the first 13 elections, 1790 - 1812, the average reelection rate was a very modern number of 93.7 percent."

I gather that when the country was formed, elected positions were not, in general "career positions" and for whatever reason we had large turnover in our Representatives. At the present time, being a congressman is more of a "civil service" post; it is a career with retirement benefits (really good ones) and all.

A necessary goal of a career representative is "getting reelected." that takes lots of time, money (mostly money) and effort which is not spent on the job of legislation; it is spent on finding money and pleasing constituencies; two items that are not necessarily in concert. Hence, we see our politicians molding their "ideas" into whatever the particular constituency wants to hear, rather than what makes sense for the country as a whole or is internally consistent as a philosophy. At the same time we see them accepting money from groups that would like to have like minded thinkers elected to office. Money often wins elections. You can extrapolate the implications of this process for yourselves.

The easiest way for politicians to make people happy is to give them money or advantages. This plays a major role in what we see going on today. It is also one of the reasons they do not have control of the money supply. Politicians everywhere keep trying to buy votes and printing money to "pay" for it. This, of course, destroys the economy. So, they borrow the money instead, with interest; it is less transparent. The end result is the same, they get reelected and debt builds. This has been going on for a long time and it transcends political party or "ideology," regardless of the brand name.

Recently large numbers of people have noticed that the hole we have dug for ourselves is deep enough to damage/destroy the entire economy of the country. It is worrisome and has colored the pants of many people; and that was before the recession. It is an emotional issue and we see emotional responses.

The voting population of the US is about 120 million people. We elect our representatives every few years. This process almost guarantees that the majority of our elected representatives cannot stray too far from the will of the people for too long or they will not keep their jobs and keep their jobs they do. There is very little "turnover" on either side and it is independent of party or liberal/conservative ideology. Many of the people who currently hold office are "career politicians" who elected time and time again.

The House and the Senate are a reflection of who we (Americans in the statistical whole) are as a people. There are anomalies, of course, but in the larger sense, the House and the Senate do represent who and what we are as a nation. As a culture we have been quite content with the system of buying votes in this way; we keep reelecting people that do this. We have been doing it for a long time, certainly since before I was born (1948).

Politicians have just been giving "we the people" what we wanted (it gets them reelected). It is not just the politicians that have been digging the hole. Individuals have been doing it as well with their personal lives and businesses for years. "Hey! buy now pay later." this is ingrained in our culture. Americans (in the statistical whole) are NOT fiscally conservative, quite the contrary, neither are our representatives; they are a reflection of us.

So, with a culture like this, what do you expect after a couple of generations? Now people are naming names and blaming the most recent politicians of the opposite side of the political spectrum. "It is their fault!" referring to the "other side." No, it is not their fault, we have bred them carefully. We have chosen them specifically because this is what they do; they bring home the bacon, we can pay for it latter.

So, what do I think of the article? I think it is shallow and stupid and the same old blame game nonsense that both sides are using to defend themselves. It is part of the same cloth that led us into the mess. It is shallow thinking designed to please certain "readership constituencies." It is what the politicians are doing, now the pundits are doing it as well. They make money off the system too.

It is not Obamas, or Pelosi, or Bush, or Clinton, or... fault; they have been giving "we the people" what we wanted. It is now time to pay the piper and dig ourselves out of this hole. The article was destructive in that it hides the real issue. We will either stop believing this nonsense and discern out what is really important or will whither and become a second rate nation. The latter seems likely. Too bad. I kind of liked America when it was powerful and well respected.

That is what I thought of the article.