You may not have the debt ceiling debacle on your radar. You could be completely oblivious to its existence. You may not even be privy to the definition of 'debt' or currently occupy a dwelling equipped with a 'ceiling.' Regardless, you might be (over) qualified to serve as one of America's greatest congressional leaders of this century. As you will see, there are worse gigs in life to be had.
Ode to Tomorrow's Leaders:
Are you utterly incompetent and unable to lead? Do find gratification in enraging to a point of hysteria, masses of people? Do you believe that, regardless of the end result having a negative effect on the majority, you are never wrong? Are you able to achieve absolutely nothing over a matter of months while appearing to work diligently? Do you view the legislative process as analogous to casually playing the board game Risk (assuming you have even heard of the legislative process) over several adult beverages? Have you mastered the art of lying, and are you able to deny all wrongdoing while never letting incidentals such as 'facts' impede your agenda? Are you an expert at giving up or "rolling over and dying" when the other team pushes too hard? If so, you really ought to consider running for Congress.
It's a Living:
As a new member of the House or Senate, you would receive a salary of over $174K (the word 'over' can be used with confidence because this is one of the few positions in America where regular wage increases actually exist) annually and a benefits package that includes something called health insurance (a term that, for the working majority, may go the way of Velociraptor by the time your name is on the ballot). You get your own office to decorate as you wish (this can entail everything from Jimi Hendrix posters to barbeque sauce bottles from your home state -- and feel free to allow your inner-creativity to bloom) and you can even bring your dog to work!
Depending on which team you play for you will have to either A) pontificate about your intentions to fight for the needs and interests of the working-class majority (teachers, nurses, firefighters, police, farmers, factory workers, etc.) while eventually cowering to the opposition that tends to beat you like the Harlem Globetrotters beat the Washington Generals. Or, B) recite fairy tales of your commitment to fiscal conservatism and how it will benefit the majority of the country, while eventually cowering to large corporations and the smallest of minorities comprising the country's uber-wealthy. In other words, you are going to have to lie and display abject incompetence daily.
If it seems that this job requires a touch too much effort for your liking, fear not. In actuality, all you really have to do is keep your genitals away from a camera phone, your shirt on when advertising for a 'quickie' via Craigslist, and "just say no" (like they taught you in grammar school) to everything the other team proposes. Doing so should transform you into a perpetually reelectable superstar within the corridors of power.
Lowered Expectations for Our Alleged Leaders:
CNN's Jack Cafferty once suggested a competency test be required for presidential candidates (which seems logical considering you have to take a test to drive a car or hunt an animal). Hence, despite all but one of the answers already being known, my concise set of questions for the current House and Senate are as follows:
-Is it acceptable for the budget deal to protect tax loopholes, including those allowing gargantuan corporations such as General Electric to pay zero dollars in federal taxes (after earning $14.2 billion in profits for 2010)?
-Are massive budget cuts in entitlement programs the best option while in the midst of the worst recession (8.5 million people receiving unemployment insurance and over 40 million receiving food stamps) since World War II?
-Is it acceptable for Congress to force the nation to the brink of default? Will you be reelected?
With America (at present) being a democracy, the latter question will be answered in 2012 for a number of our elected officials, done so by those Americans who cast their vote.
The Long Way Forward:
The AARP recently ran a television ad campaign demanding protection of their Social Security and Medicare benefits within the debt ceiling bill. One of the ads concluded with a reminder to Congress that "there are 50 million of us," referring to current AARP members. 50 million retirees coming together is impressive. What would be more so is if the overall majority, the middle and working-class, also came together to elect individuals that truly had their best interest in mind. Independent Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, called the bill "grotesquely unfair" and stated that it will "slap them (the middle and working-class) in the side of the head and make life much more difficult." If a slap to the head doesn't incite the majority to act, what will? The time to act is now.
Perhaps begin by no longer posting pictures of your lunch and/or dog on Facebook, and instead post credible articles highlighting the boondoggle of a bill that has been passed. Stop watching a commercial advertising a beer with a built-in sensor that alerts the drinker when it is cold (if you can't ascertain whether your beer is cold by using one of your 10 fingers, perhaps you ought to cease drinking for the evening) and begin understanding what impact this bill will have on you. Start researching the 2012 candidates now, and if one of worth does not exist, put your own name on the ballot. To quote Bernie Sanders, "we can do better, and we must do better."
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