Gridlock in the Washington beltway

There is a secret government check and balance at work in the debt ceiling crisis.

BalanceYou probably don't know about secret checks and balances. You won't find a word about it in the constitution.

It's called government incompetence. And it's working rather well right now at a time when the citizens who pay the bills can't really afford a government secret like that.

By government, I mean the Senate, the House of Representatives, the President and all those agencies that spend our money. One party is pointing squarely at the President. The other party is, well, pointing at the other party.

There is a lot of name calling and no compromise. Henry Clay, the great compromiser, is probably spinning in his grave along with many of the dead presidents printed on our money.

Senator Mitch McConnell claims President Obama owns the economy issue. Actually all three branches of government are responsible for taking actions that may help or hinder the economy. That makes McConnell, his Republican cronies, and Democrats all co-owners.

We're hearing a daily litany of claims and counter claims about what will work and what won't work. Rep. Joe Walsh called the president a liar. In that political climate What's next -- eye gouging, teeth pulling?

There will be little chance of compromise in an environment where name calling is acceptable. The Democrats are no different.

Rep. Walsh claims he knows for a fact the government will have the money to meet obligations. He failed to explain the fact so I have no way of knowing if is accurate.

There is another secret rule at work here. It's a little known corollary of the Peter Principal. When a politician gets an idea, he usually gets it wrong.

The current bloodletting on capitol hill makes me believe the government hates poor people and people on the verge of moving to the middle class.

There are proposals to cut Pell educational grants but keep loopholes for corporate jets. Pell grants are often used by students who can't afford to go to college. Why not invest invest in the kid's future? The corporate raider with the jet doesn't need or deserve that kind of help. It's a fact. If Walsh can throw around facts, so can I.

A loophole for a corporate jet is a brazen political payoff for a campaign donation or a favor. It cannot be explained away.

Many of the proposed cuts hurt the people who can least afford it. And the cuts don't solve the root problems.

Take Medicare. Cuts in benefits will reduce the cost of the program. The proposed realignment ignores the real problem that makes Medicare too expensive -- rising medical costs. Nobody in the healthcare industry knows the true cost of a medical procedure. Just ask them. Medicare reimburses a fixed number of dollars for a gall bladder surgery while Giant Insurance Co. No. 1 pays another price. Giant Insurance Co. No. 2 pays yet another cost.

Medicare cuts will put the cost on the shoulders of retired people who can't afford it. Why not deal with the root of the problem while Congress is cutting costs.

Then comes the third rail of American politics, Social Security. One reorganization raises the retirement age to keep the Social Security Trust Fund solvent.

That solution ignores one fact. The government spends the Social Security Trust Fund incomes on programs and expenses other than Social Security.

The government is really no different than me. If I use the mortgage money on a vacation, I still have to pay the mortgage or I'll be on the streets. The government just prints more money.

Here are the problems to be resolved by Congress by the August deadline:

  • Stop minting presidential dollar coins at a cost of $600,000 per day. That's an easy way to save money today.
  • etermine why medical costs are out of control and continue to plague Medicare. By enacting only cuts, the problems will eventually return.
  • Stop spending money from the Social Security Trust Fund on anything but Social Security.
  • Close all the tax loopholes. I hate paying taxes as much as the next guy. I will hate it less if everyone is treated equally. Many companies paid no taxes because executives know how to take advantage of the loopholes. Rupert Murdock's executives are real pros with loopholes. He had a negative tax balance.
  • If income tax laws are balanced and fair, there will be plenty of money to solve the deficit until all cuts are enacted.
  • Close other loopholes. Some U.S. companies are permitted to sell parts to Iran while others face penalties. That really turns my stomach. Iran funds terrorist groups that have killed Americans. Why would any U.S. company want to deal with them?

How did Americans get in this mess?

There is a clue in an event that took place this week at a congressional hearing about airport security. A fiery debate erupted over the effectiveness of full body scanners vs. bomb-sniffing dogs.

Some at the hearing claim dogs are more effective and cheaper than multi-million dollar scanners. Others say they are just as expensive as scanners.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz cut to the heart of the issue quickly.

Chaffetz says canines are missing one thing that body scanners have: Lobbyists.

Bomb-sniffing dogs don't have lobbyists.

American taxpayers don't have lobbyists either.