Washington: A Nice Place To Visit, But . . .

Nor' east Thinkin'

Reflections of change underway from a recent business trip to Washington, D.C.

Published on: April 19, 2013

At peak cherry blossom time in Washington, D.C., I risked life, limb and vehicle damage to venture into our nation's capital city. Making it unscathed to the National Mall, I breathed a long sigh of relief.

I looked forward to revisiting the wonderfully familiar monuments and records of our great heritage. The cherry and tulip trees were in full bloom, posing for multitudes of camera-toters.

After wheeling into one of the few-remaining public parking lots deep beneath the Holiday Inn, I elevated to ground level to find the latest wave of state Farm Bureau visitors. This pack was from Illinois. And I found a few old acquaintances in that gaggle of farmers headed out to lobby legislators.

Un-amazing changes underway

You have to wonder how our congressional representatives find time to actually write, study and vote on legislation with the wave after wave after wave of lobby groups parading through Washington every week. Well, maybe you don't have to wonder.

Between all the hand-shaking, opinion-sharing and vacations, their decision-making track records show they don't spend much time really pondering far-reaching implications of laws they pass.

The hand-shaking and public presence is what keeps their most important constituents satisfied and money flowing into re-election coffers. Getting elected is big business.

So it's no surprise that those we elect to public office soon succumb to Uncle Sam's "beast" of fiscal numbness. That's why you hear congressmen or the President say, "We could only save $10- or $15-billion here or there, but it won't have much budget impact."

None sense the extreme need, anymore, to saving a few billion here and a few billion, and that it might add up to a few trillion. Why should they. It's not their money they're spending!

Once upon a time, you could look from the Capitol down the National Mall and still see the Lincoln Memorial beyond the Washington Monument. Today, that's tough to do.

The Washington obelisk is up to its neck with repair scaffolding. Chain link fences are everywhere to keep people away from many busy construction projects – this amid a monumental budget crisis and sequestration, no less.

But I guess it shouldn't be surprising. Saving billions of taxpayer dollars is inconsequential to Uncle Sam's beast.

That's the kind of change underway at our nation's capital.

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