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Throw the bums out

Posted: August 4, 2011 10:46 a.m.
Updated: August 5, 2011 5:00 a.m.

Back when I was in journalism school -- in the days when Gutenberg was still trying to figure out movable type and four guys named Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were just starting to jot down their thoughts -- we were always taught to be subtle when writing opinion pieces.

 “If you want to make an impression on your reading audience,” said our professors, “don’t rant and rave. Make your points smoothly and logically, without excess emotion.”

So how’s this for smooth and logical?

Those freaking, no-count, sorry, bleeping politicians in Washington ought to be shackled, drawn and quartered, and their heads thrown to the crows.

Gosh, sorry about that. Couldn’t help myself.

Discontent with politicians in this country is nothing new. As far back as the days of George Washington, people were griping about what went on in Washington.

But in the backwash of the debt ceiling crisis and Congress’ paralytic treatment of it, along with the bickering and feuding along the Potomac River, there’s a feeling across America that perhaps our political system is broken as it never has been before.

Maybe it’s our own fault. Perhaps we’re electing such ideologues that they can’t do anything but fight. But we can ask whether our cherished two-party system has finally run its course. Toe the party line, say leaders, or you’ll be punished.

That leads to gridlock of the worst kind.

How many Kershaw County residents -- Democrats or Republicans -- do you know who say, “I really like my elected officials in Washington?”

Even after public uproar over the partisan debt wrangling and the eventual passage of a bill which fails to even address the root causes of our spending problems, members of Congress can’t come up with anything good to say about each other.

The day the bill passed, Congressional leaders were trashing each other.

To hear Democrats talk, Republicans are trying to savage the most vulnerable members of our society, the infirm and aged, and want to balance the budget on the backs of the poor. The wealthy pay no taxes, they harp over and over.

Fact: The top 10 percent of wage-earners in this country pay 71 percent of federal taxes, and the top 50 percent pay 96 percent. You and I might not fit in the top category, but I’ll bet we’re there in the second one. The bottom half of earners pay just a tad over 3 percent of all taxes.

Does that sound like mistreatment of the disadvantaged?

Conversely, to hear Republicans talk, the economy will tank if we change any of the subsidies now given to a myriad of business groups.

Fact: Congress is lavishing $7 billion on ethanol producers, who do nothing to help our fuel situation and drive up the price of food in the process. Oil companies get billions each year in subsidies, though some experts say that money does nothing to encourage new exploration.

(Footnote: Big Oil paid $340 million to lobbyists last year.)

One member of Congress fighting through his spittle of outrage said the concept of trying to balance the federal budget was the silliest thing he’d ever heard of.

(Footnote Number Two: the crisis was not without innovation. Rep. Manuel Cleaver, hardest of the hard-left, called the budget deal a “Satan sandwich.” Pretty good line, eh?)

One of the reasons people become angry is that they feel powerless about things. The American people from Carolina to Oregon, from Arizona to New Hampshire, are feeling powerless about the lousy job their elected officials are doing in Washington.

So smoothly and logically, I’ll just suggest that the fine ladies and gentlemen of the political establishment in Washington make a better attempt…

Ah, to hell with it.

Throw the bums out. All of them.

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