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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?

BRYCE ON POLITICS

- Plenty, and the American public is getting tired of it.

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Through my writings, I have come to know a lot of people, both liberals and conservatives. We discuss politics frequently, and despite the rhetoric, most of the people I talk with believe the government of the United States is irreparably broken, plain and simply. They all want to wipe the slate clean and start over. I am not quite to that point yet, but I do believe something should be done about term limits and campaign financing. I found the recent Israeli election interesting as it was conducted in two short weeks. America is, of course, much larger which perhaps explains why presidential campaigns have become two year affairs, or do we stretch it out for some other reason, such as money?

The people I talk with believe the Congress is ineffective, that they cannot accomplish anything. This, of course, is due in large part to the loggerheads between the legislative and executive branches of government. Now that the Congress is in Republican hands, we will likely see more presidential vetoes, record setting no doubt.

There also seems to be an inordinate amount of Congressional investigations involving the Administration. I remember when the Nixon "Watergate" investigation was held, which caused quite a buzz, but it ended and life moved on. Today's investigations seem to continue 24/7 with such things as: Fast and Furious, Benghazi, the Bergdahl desertion and Taliban exchange, the Secret Service, the IRS, the VA, contributions to the anti-Netanyahu campaign, and now improprieties by Hillary Clinton. If you are going to have an investigation, fine, but let's get to a conclusion, move along and start the healing process. Long ago, the president determined the Congress lacks the fortitude for making any hard decisions which is why he has operated unrestrained.

After witnessing all of these investigations, plus many others on a smaller scale, one can only conclude that Washington, DC is nothing more than a cesspool of corruption and incompetence. Are politicians going there to represent the people or to get rich? Both Republicans and Democrats think the latter, yet are unwilling to do anything about it.

As to the president, I have never seen a person more adept at creating division, both racially or socioeconomically (class) than Mr. Obama. Today, it's a matter of the "haves" and "have nots," entitlement versus responsibility, big government versus the free enterprise system, more regulations versus less, etc. In my lifetime, I have witnessed considerable disparity between the Democrats and the Republicans, but nothing like what we are witnessing today. And both sides know it.

The president simply cannot accept an opinion other than his own. If you oppose him, you are taken to task, regardless if you are a government official or a member of the media. He accepts no responsibility when something goes awry, it is always someone else's fault. And as for "transparency," we have yet to see it. Perhaps an "open government" isn't feasible after all.

The left accuses conservatives of trickle down economics, support for the rich and attacks on the poor. Likewise, the right accuses liberals of voting improprieties and subversion, fiscal irresponsibility, and attacks on the middle class and free enterprise system. Neither side believes the other has the best interests of the American people in mind.

The ideological differences are so pronounced, our commander-in-chief opted to no longer work with the Congress and now operates exclusively by executive order. And why not, since the Congress hasn't the stamina to challenge him. The reality is, because of the ideological divide there is no longer any "give and take" between the president and the Congress which explains why it takes an act of God to get anything done. Yes, they will have to argue about raising the debt ceiling again and again. And, Yes, they will have to consider closing the government again. And, Yes, the president will sign vetoes again and again. Gridlock is all we understand unless changes are implemented.

Then there is the matter of the Fourth Estate, an irresponsible press that is out of control and doing the dirty work of governmental operatives, where assassinations are performed by words, not bullets. The American people understand "responsible" journalism is a myth, which explains why television news viewership is down and newspapers are struggling to survive. Face it, the main street media has lost the trust of the people, simply because they are not interested in reporting the truth, just spin for the naive and clueless.

Now we are entering a new presidential cycle where candidates suffer from a shady past, unproven accomplishments, questionable credentials, and hazy character. While the cycle starts all over again, the country limps along.

So, what is wrong with this picture? The government is broken and we, the people, are going to have to fix it. It is now glaringly obvious our politicians are incapable of fixing the problem as they have grown comfortable with it. Fortunately, our founding fathers made a proviso in the Constitution for just such an occasion, specifically Article V calling for a Constitutional Convention. The last time such a convention was called was back in 1787 in Philadelphia. That’s right, 238 years ago. A Constitutional Convention would put the fear of God into the Congress and President, and they will do anything to avoid it as it is perceived as a threat to their authority. The reality though is our government has failed and it is time to take strong measures to rectify the situation.

Such a convention, if conducted properly, would likely temper the power of the press as well. For example, if term limits were implemented, shorter election cycles, and changes to campaign finance laws, the media would lose power simply due to reduced revenues.

Then, maybe, just maybe, we might return to an era of civility and prosperity. The fact is, if you are waiting for our government to correct the problem themselves, you will be waiting an extremely long time.

Keep the Faith!

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Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com
For Tim's columns, see:   timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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