Congress' Groundhog's Day Problem
3 months ago
Are Washington politicians doomed to a cycle of gridlock?
A few weeks ago, we celebrated Groundhog’s Day, the “holiday” that predicts the end of winter and arrival of spring. This year Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow and that means that we can anticipate the early arrival of spring, warmer weather and new life blossoming around us. If only there were some way to predict when Washington gridlock would end and we could get some things accomplished. It seems that we have been having our own Groundhog’s Day, albeit the kind that Bill Murray experienced in the 1993 movie of the same name.
Spoiler Alert: Bill Murray plays a meteorologist who is unable to escape Groundhog’s Day. He relives the day over and over again and nothing, including suicide prevents him from waking up again on February 2nd. Initially, he uses the curse for evil, but when that fails to get him out of the time loop, he decides to do good. After helping people, improving himself and pursuing the girl of his dreams, he’s eventually able to break the time loop and wakes on February 3rd.
Legislators, and we the people with them, have been stuck in a type of time loop ourselves. Just when it seems that we have made some small bit of progress, we wake up and experience another day that feels just like the last. At the end of 2012, there was the threat of going over the fiscal cliff. With both sides saying they were standing firm in their beliefs, a deal was literally agreed to and just in the nick of time. That deal saved the country from dealing with devastating tax increases that would have hurt the country’s economy and our individual pockets. But the one thing that was not solved in that deal was the sequestration.