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Sunday Late Night: The Failure Congress

Much worse than the Congress Harry Truman labeled “Do-Nothing,” to the enjoyment of and re-use by his gleeful successors, this Congress has failed utterly and made life worse, appreciably worse, for Americans everywhere. With the distinct possibility of immediate additional pain.

Who among us doesn’t rejoice at the prospect of seven-dollar-a-gallon milk?

Who among us doesn’t celebrate a group of well-fed electeds arguing over how much to cut Food Stamps?

Who doesn’t think raising everyone’s taxes is a swell idea?

Who really thinks we need continued deductibility of ever-increasing college tuition?

What other Americans could get away with setting an 18-months-out trap for themselves at their work, saying to themselves, “Well, we could never let things get THAT bad, so we’ll fix everything before THAT happens!” only to get within two days of the cliff/bump/slope/apocalypse with no real solution except the pleas of partisans on both sides begging them to let it happen, because only then will real leverage exist?

Could you do that at your workplace?

And who does this Failure Congress turn to when time gets short and the negotiations get bitter? Why, they turn to the two Congressional veterans who designed this magnificent deal in the first place!

For one thing, direct talks had begun between Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Vice President Biden. Republicans exiting a mid-afternoon caucus meeting said that McConnell had excused himself to take a call from the vice president.

Those two Washington veterans have become the capital’s unofficial closers, hammering out the agreement that resolved a fight over tax cuts in late 2010, and the debt-ceiling crisis in August 2011.

I mean, “the debt-ceiling crisis in August 2011” is what got us here, to the edge of this self-inflicted imaginary accounting apocalypse. Or cliff.

Between the estate tax holdup and the upper bracket holdup, 100% of official Washington’s energy and 100% of the Village Courtier Media’s attention is directed at the top 2% of American income earners. Nothing’s being said about the thirty million under- and unemployed. Nothing to do for them except — maybe — extend their unemployment. But no guarantees there.

And that’s just for 2 million or so of the very longest unemployed.

Remember when this was going to be the Congress that brought Jobs-Jobs-Jobs?

One thing did get done, of course.

Members of Congress will be getting a small pay increase next year.

Under an executive order issued by President Obama on Thursday, members of Congress will join federal workers in seeing their pay rise by 0.5 percent after March 27.

Congressmen and senators make $174,000 a year and will see an extra $900 in their annual pay packages before taxes next year.

And not only the rank-and-file:

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) will get $224,600 next year, up from $223,500, while Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) will take in $194,400, up from $193,400.

Vice President Biden will also get a raise, and take home $231,900 before taxes next year.

Don’t you think they’ve proved their worth?

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Teddy Partridge

Teddy Partridge