To the editor:

The principal problem in our economy is the escalating and, to our politicians, unmentionable debt we face. Unemployment is the most dramatic symptom of our failing economy, but it is the debt that will sink us. Ask Greece.

During President Obama's speech to Congress, I awaited mention of our accelerating foreign obligation. He slipped it in fairly late in the speech, among a number of other things "we can" do, as "pay down our debt." There was no prior or further allusion to the national debt and certainly no specifics as to how it might be lessened. Its inclusion was no more than window dressing, as it is clear that Barack Obama places our debt far down on his list of highly questionable priorities.

Unfortunately there seems to be no significant national group or figure, other than perhaps Ron Paul, who is sincerely concerned about a debt that has developed its own survival instinct.

For many it has become a question of addressing chicken or egg, debt or deficit. It would appear that the chickens in the White House and Congress are now fully involved in partisan pecking at the egg. Whether or not the squabbling of so many hens brings the farm to ruin seems of little importance to those most concerned with the established pecking order.

At one point House approval of plans that would have required our adolescent pullets to stop bickering in order to address a required balanced budget provided some hope. The biggest rooster said he would not allow it, and the chickens in the hen house were cowed, and relented. No further, believable reference to a balanced budget has come from any of our politicians, with one mentioned exception.

Part of our disgraceful stewardship of the precious gift handed down to us is a penchant in our chosen political bodies for ignoring principles. Current political compromise often results in corruption of the reputed ideals that generate proposed action. And when one compromises principles, confusion and anarchy rule.

There have been two recent examples. One has been cited already. The hope from here was that the House would have sent at least the balanced budget piece of the prematurely rejected legislation to Harry Reid's Senate, so that body could officially reject it. At least that would have established a framework for further discussion and reasons to vote for or against candidacies in the future.

The other was a threatened rebellion against the Obamacare bill by approximately 100 Democrats who were holding out for a significant public option.

The bill passed without that option with only 34 Democrats dissenting. What the nation got was 2,000-plus pages of unknowable, expensive and unworkable junk.

As one cautious in fiscal matters and an advocate of single-payer health care for those here lawfully, I believe that politicians compromised the principles of monetary sanity and health care availability in the two instances cited.

If you stand for something, you should stand for it even in the face of almost certain defeat. Try to think of five politicians we can trust to do that.

And for those who may have forgotten, our Constitution is a document of principles. If our principled founders had not stood firm, "God Save the Queen" might today be more familiar than "God Bless America."

Barry McCloskey


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