Essentially, too many Americans, discouraged by the imperfections of government, have abandoned it to the yahoos. I am reminded of the saying attributed to Plato: Those who think they are too good for politics are destined to be ruled by those who are not.
Still, the games go on. Late last week, House Republicans — reeling from revelations that the majority of Americans see them as culprits rather than champions — came up with a plan that would raise the nation’s debt ceiling for an additional six weeks, to allow negotiations on such matters as tax reform.
Now, the federal tax code in America is a complicated document, full of special-interest favors. It hasn't been tackled because these beneficiaries will fight tooth and nail to keep what they've won in the past.
Why in the world would anyone think that the two warring parties in Washington will be able to settle all of this in a mere six weeks? The nation will just wind up in the same place.
Such proposals are a consequence of the way things have worked in Washington for far too long. The parties have learned they can fire up their bases and generate campaign contributions with all of these concocted short-term deadlines. It's just another gimmick designed to string us along.
The next round of jabbering from members of Congress should go something like this: We're sorry. Please accept our apology for our inexcusable conduct in Washington and our willingness to put our political ambitions ahead of what's best for the nation. We realize we have a lot of work to do to restore your confidence in us. And if you reject us in the next election, it's our own fault.
Mitchel Olszak is a columnist for the New Castle (Pa.) News.