I'm on the verge of starting a petition calling for Congress to replace the Capital Dome with a giant egg filled with Silly Putty, because it would probably be the only thing to get lawmakers to realize that they're acting like a mob of feral toddlers.
The fact that the government is on the verge of shutdown is another egregious example of how our representatives have lost sight of their fundamental purpose as public servants: to secure the common good. They simply lack the capacity to focus on real, substantive ways to cut government spending.
Defunding or delaying implementation of the Affordable Care Act won't lower the debt; it will waste the $500 million dollars already spent on implementation. Delay won't replace sequesters, reform the tax code or enact budget reforms; it will lower consumer confidence, depress the stock market and push businesses to slow hiring.
Congress' incessant brinksmanship generates uncertainty, and uncertainty kills economic growth. Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody's, testified to the Senate Budget Committee last week that it keeps GDP at a tepid 2 percent and the unemployment rate at 7.4 percent. Corporate America has little incentive to invest the some trillion dollars in cash it has accumulated since 2009 on hiring and expansion.
It's time to put this era of Silly Putty politics to rest. Voters must take action. Send congressional incumbents a clear, firm message: secure the common good, or get kicked out of office in 2014.
- Read Susan Milligan: From the D.C. Sniper to Navy Yard, Not Much Has Changed on Guns
- Read Carrie Wofford: John Boehner Is Letting the Tea Party Cause a Government Shutdown
- Check out U.S. News Weekly, now availableon iPad