So we've had a trifecta of issues churning the already choppy waters inside the Beltway this week. On two of the three, our lawmakers have come up short. The jury may be out on the third, but we'll see. Anyway you slice it, the three card monte nature of modern American politics is on full display. Outrage or sadness, take your pick.
President Obama dropped his budget the other day. As expected, it contains a proposed to link Social Security cost of living increases to something called a "chained CPI", or Consumer Price Index. An unnamed group of economists say this is a fairer way of calculating benefit increases and tax brackets. In this case, more fair means retirees will get less in their checks going down the road. There are other ways to fix Social Security's fictional crisis, but we're told this is the president's way of making nice with congressional Republicans. If it is, it still sucks.
We are told the chained CPI is a gambit, and won't make it into the final budget anyway. So what does that make us, an audience at a horror movie? It's this kind of posturing from all sides, with little or no mention of JOBS, that makes Americans so cynical about politics.
Then there's guns. Democrats in Congress (not all but some) have much to answer for on this. Be it fear of voters, the NRA, love of lobbyists, or whatever, the compromise gun bill is looking more and more like a grand bargain struck in a porn theater bathroom. Assault weapons ban? Gone. Restrictions on high capacity magazines? Not there either. Expansion of background checks? Watered down. How soon we forget the Sandy Hook massacre, and the subsequent gun violence that accompanies Congress' inaction.
Immigration is the last component of the troika. There's word a deal has been struck, but it's details aren't quite clear yet. One thing to keep in mind. Do we really want to be a society that allows money, legal or otherwise, to flow wherever it wants while we treat humans quite differently?
Is this how politics is really supposed to work?