It’s semantics, after all. In political terms it’s called: kicking the can.
It’s not the money, although it’s a staggering sum. It’s the root causes. Nobody wants to talk about those in any productive way. It’s the finger pointing and partisanship. We hear, let’s just pass this thing and work on the causes later. We have heard this time and again with every new crisis that pops up and the causes of the crises never get fixed. Instead, they are deferred, deferred again, and again.
These causes fester like a boil, suppurating and eating its way around the band-aids that are slapped on to quell the crisis. The people applying the band-aids tell us that we have to do this or there will be untold agony in the near future and our only option is to “kick the can.” As long as there is no long term fix of the problem, the problem will always be around. Sooner or later, the boil spreads beyond the band-aid so we have to find a bigger band-aid because no one seems willing to just remove the boil and then apply a band-aid to heal the resulting wound.
If we were to manage our personal problems in this way, we’d soon be either bankrupt or dead from the disease we refuse to address.
Yes, the economy is suffering right now and we can pass this bill quickly and “kick the can” but it will just happen again because the root causes are still there, still festering, still spreading. This can has been kicked since FDR, kicked harder and faster by Carter, then again during the Clinton administration. This is said not to assign blame but to help identify root causes. When the Republicans had the majority, they didn’t do anything to fix it, either, because as long as they could “kick the can” it would have been an extremely unpopular move when things seemed to be okay since the last band-aid slapped on.
As I type, Bush is speaking in the background about needing this bill passed quickly. He didn’t mention root causes, only that this bill is needed to fix the economy. It won’t fix the economy. It is merely another band-aid.
At some point, we’re going to run out of road with nowhere left to “kick the can.” We need leadership to surgically remove the root causes, not just by isolating this situation with yet another band-aid and pouring resources into the wound but by using preventative measures to prevent the boil from returning for long term health. No matter how painful, this is a necessary surgery and somebody, somewhere, needs to have the guts to apply the scalpel.
I’ve seen more than one band-aid placed on this particular boil. If anything defines this generation it is our ability to “kick the can” to the next generation. As harsh as it may sound, I am ashamed of us. We need to grow up and stop this now or die shame from the shambles of a country we hand to our descendents. If we really believe in freedom, then we need to accept the consequences of our actions and start making amends.