Oh don't get me wrong, GWB deserves his share of the blame, as do the rest of this cast of characters and a few more besides. In fact the list is a rather long and distinguished one, going back to the 30's and including such luminaries as presidents FDR, LBJ, Richard Nixon, and Jimmy Carter; along with Senators such as Bob Dole, George Mitchell, Trent Lott and Tom Daschle. While we're at it, let's add in some current and former Speakers of the House like Sam Rayburn, Thomas 'Tip' O'Neill, Newt Gingrich, and John Boehner.
You see, much as I hate to admit it, President Obama was right when he said that "we didn't get here overnight". Of course he misused one of the only statements of fact that he's made since taking office; but the truth remained that the problems we face now have been brewing since long before the current President ran for elective office at any level.
As for the idea that all of this can be solved by some bi-partisan compromise ... please. After all, wasn't it such bi-partisanship during the FDR Administration that got us Social Security in the first place? Hasn't it been some bi-partisan shenanigans that have allowed politicians in Washington who have known for decades that Social Security was eventually going to go broke, to do and say nothing? Isn't the only compromise that Democrats and Republicans have reached about the national pension program in recent years one involving adding people that were never originally intended to be a part of it? Bi-partisan spirit in Congress has done little more for this program than to trade its imminent failure for the votes of those protected by it.
As for health care, it was wage and price controls implemented under FDR during WWII in a bi-partisan spirit that got employers into providing health care insurance for workers instead having them pay their own medical costs in the first place. Not content with setting us on another road to failure however, they made an additional bi-partisan effort with the 1965 Social Security Act, creating Medicare and Medicaid in what amounted to another government attempt at wage and price controls, this time for health care.
Not only did their compromised effort prove a dismal failure, but with these two new programs, States were now conscripted into the no-win game as well. Costs continued to go up and increasingly successful (and expensive) medical technology insured that this bi-partisan effort would eventually become another financial monster. How did our bi-partisan Compromisers answer dawning awareness of another government program that was on the verge of collapse? ... by adding insult to injury with bi-partisan passage of prescription drug coverage under G W Bush. No longer content with poisoning what little is left of private sector health care however, the Obama Administration decided to strike the next blow in nationalizing health insurance and health care in the US with what has now become known as Obamacare. Early analysis of this most recent effort (which surprisingly was not bi-partisan, but a partisan lack of compromise on the part of Democrats) tells us that Government has once more worked its magic, and things will be getting more expensive much quicker than they had been, under the control of a government that can't afford them.
But let's not focus on the big three (now four) entitlement programs as the limits of compromised bi-partisan disaster. Doing so might cause you to miss other government support programs passed over the years like food stamps and subsidized housing by a legislature ripe with bi-partisan compromise, in an effort to create a dependent class while spending other people's money. It would also mean that you had failed to take notice of the legislative alphabet zombies that now stalk the land and cannot seem to be killed. The IRS, DEA, and EPA may be the most infamous of these bogeymen; but the HHS and DHS (and its minions of the TSA) have mandates and budgets that are growing almost as quickly as their public unpopularity.
Why should any of this make you angry? Because we let all of this fraud, waste, and nonsense be spoon fed to us in the spirit of the bi-partisan compromise that legislators told us was required to make government work. Republicans and Democrats alike not only continued to support failed programs, worthless subsidies, and useless departments, but added to their numbers and budgets in a truly bi-partisan fashion that has run up the debt to what was once an unimaginable number. (Feeling compromised yet?)
So now we're told that the problem is the rancorous language of partisanship in Congress; and the only thing that can save us is Bi-Partisan Compromise.
The problem is that professional politicians, who won't have to utilize the monstrous programs that they've compromised the rest of our futures with, are sitting fat and happy on great pensions and medical coverage that's the envy of the world. Having secured their own bit of the American dream they are once again trying to stir up voters in the months winding up to an election with nonsensical rhetoric about bi-partisanship. While legislators continue to do nothing to fix real problems in this country, party spokesmen and political pundits drone on about the lack of bi-partisan compromise to provide political cover for the inaction of Congress. Well, I've got a compromise of my own that might gain broad bi-partisan support: