A.J. DiCintio
Fixing Washington the old-fashioned way
By A.J. DiCintio
December 18, 2010

Mitt Romney is fond of saying Washington is "broken," a concept with which the great majority of Americans agree heartily, even though they may prefer to describe the nation's capital as a morbidly massive, amoral, incompetent, wasteful, reckless, hopelessly reeking wealth and power sucking morass.

This widespread attitude explains why, with the help of the Tea Party's message, the great majority of the public increasingly understands that the survival of the America bequeathed to us by the Founders depends upon draining the swamp that encompasses the White House, Congress, the courts, and the bureaucracy and replacing it with a new, fruitful landscape of, for, and by the people.

Foremost in this transformation — given how international economic competition has combined with our internal follies to produce a painful, ugly "new normal" — is the need to change the rottenness that is Washington's addiction to taxing, spending, and borrowing.

Thus, the following old-fashioned ideas for fixing Washington's fiscal problems — ideas that will be perceived as radical only by the mutant minority who, like the arsenic-metabolizing bacteria recently discovered in Mono Lake, prosper famously in Washington's poisonous muck.

Regarding the disgustingly porcine federal government in general:

The first thing the federal government needs to do, as Shakespeare may have put it, "Let's kill the 10 or even 20% of make-work waste, shameless excess, and outright fraud associated with the entire federal bureaucracy."

About this necessary reform, four things need to be said:

. . . Only politicians could, year after year, attach the word "budget" to the moral and intellectual monstrosity that details the U.S. government's income and spending, for example, the one which for FY '10 projects tax revenues of $2.4 trillion but expenditures of $3.6 trillion.

. . . Only politicians (in this case, the Chicago Machine grad named Barack Obama) could subtitle the FY '10 abomination "A New Era of Responsibility: Renewing America's Promise."

. . . Only occult-arts-practicing politicians whose fraudulent brothers and sisters hocus-pocused much of today's $3.6 trillion travesty of profligacy into reality could argue that federal spending is not rife with waste and fraud. Part of the fix, therefore, must be declaring such "leaders" hopelessly non compos mentis and therefore not worthy of assuming authority over a pet lizard, much less the people of the United States.

. . . Only incestuously arrogant politicians who regard the public's money as theirs could dare speak of raising taxes before they have suctioned out the last barrel of filth and fraud that bubbles below the uncaring, treacherous tangle that is the federal swamp.

Regarding the unsustainable Social Security program:

Despite the raging shrieks of liberals who are certain to cry "radical, irrational, and inhumane!" questions regarding Social Security benefits need to be decided by unleashing the mainstream kitchen table attitude that asks of any proposed expenditure, "How much does it cost?" and "Is it affordable at our current income?"

Moreover, the answers to those questions must be determined by independent demographers and actuaries who employ conservative assumptions in total harmony with Social Security's "pay as you go" nature.

Finally, politicians who argue for a Social Security program that ignores objective data must be required to take a televised test of basic first grade arithmetic skills with the understanding that passing it will expose them as dangerous, repulsive demagogues, failing it, dangerous blowhard nincompoop buffoons.

Regarding bankruptcy-destined Medicare and Medicaid:

Turning once again to Shakespeare, the government must say, "The first thing we do, let's gain the public's trust by instituting real healthcare "reform" characterized by the following:

. . . vigorously enforced national best practices standards aimed at eliminating hundreds of billions a year in legal healthcare fraud

. . . vigorously enforced policies hospitals "can't refuse" when they are ordered to take the simple hygienic steps that eliminate infections and other maladies incurred by patients under their care, thereby saving an enormous amount of pain, suffering, and as much as fifty to a hundred billion dollars annually.

. . . the toughest possible policies aimed at preventing outright healthcare fraud and severely punishing the contemptible criminals who are its perpetrators

. . . a fair, tough-minded reform of the nation's tort laws, the shutting off of a good part of the Democratic Party's cut of the Lawsuit Cycle notwithstanding

. . . policies that create efficiencies, such as requiring use of effective computer technology and promoting the efficient organization of the manner in which healthcare is delivered, "Mayo Clinic Style," for instance

. . . policies that require every American citizen covered by a healthcare plan to pay something, even as little as a dollar, with every use of the healthcare system

Then, the public having been shown the improvements and the money, the states can be empowered to solve the problem of the nation's great number of uninsured.

There are numerous other examples of how broken Washington needs some old-fashioned fixing. However, every fix cannot be discussed here.

Thus, this piece ends with the following observation:

It is a sad thing, indeed, that we live in a time when we are called to fight against people who condemn the kinds of old-fashioned ideas proposed here as radically irrational.

But despite all the burdens that call entails, we must answer it with the courageous fierceness of an Achilles avenging the death of his warrior-brother Patroclus, lest, like the power lovers and foolish dreamers, we condemn ourselves to living in a hell in which the damned can stand neither their problems nor their solutions.

© A.J. DiCintio


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

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A.J. DiCintio

A.J. DiCintio posts regularly at RenewAmerica and YourNews.com. He first exercised his polemical skills arguing with friends on the street corners of the working class neighborhood where he grew up. Retired from teaching, he now applies those skills, somewhat honed and polished by experience, to social/political affairs.


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