By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – When we left you on Friday, Democrats and Republicans in Washington were stumbling toward a ludicrous, totally avoidable government shutdown.

But lo and behold, an eleventh hour deal was cut, and victory was declared!

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

As USA Today put it: “Nowhere else could a process that ended more than half a year after it was supposed to, and resulted in minuscule cuts as compared to an anticipated $1.5 trillion deficit, end up with the participants congratulating themselves for beating an arbitrary deadline by 65 minutes after spending the day beating up on one another in public.”

Much of the coverage over the weekend was devoted to picking winners and losers, but you’ll have to forgive me, I only see losers.

Republicans are declaring victory because they got more cuts than the Democrats wanted to give, but as USA Today notes, the cuts they did get are a drop in the bucket of what’s needed, and they made fools of themselves by focusing on red herrings like Planned Parenthood funding and subsidies for public broadcasting.

The same Democrats who displayed appalling incompetence by failing to pass a budget last year when they had control of both branches of Congress, and who offer zero answers to the brewing fiscal crisis, had the nerve to try to cast themselves as defenders of the weak, as if the weak aren’t the ones most at risk from the impact of spiraling debt and waste of tax dollars.

Let me offer some blunt talk to our alleged leaders in Washington:

Boys and girls, you just don’t get it.

We do not want anymore baby talk or partisan posturing.

We want you to fix the obvious problems that are crippling us without playing ideological games, even if special interest groups like the public-employee unions or the anti-abortion crowd squeal about it.

The election is 19 months away, stop thinking about it and think about the common good for a change.

If you’re even capable of it.

Which, after last week’s pathetic performance, is seriously in doubt.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

Comments (15)
  1. Jeff Kingston says:

    John, I have watched you on ‘BZ for years,, listened to your commentary on the radio, and generally find your vision excellent. However if you think for a minute that any of the entrenched interests in Washington give a damn about the American people I’m afraid that you are sadly mistaken. The large majority of these people are bought and paid for shills for the wealthy and corporate interests. None of them have any interest in doing what is right, only what puts money into their campaign coffers. We have become a country of a few have’s and a whole bunch of have not’s, and the haves will never give an inch.

  2. Stephen Stein says:

    Sane observers should recognize that you can’t have a serious conversation about closing the deficit without discussing tax increases. Unfortunately Obama and our elected representatives kicked that can down the road, extending the Bush tax cuts that are the cause of most of the current deficit. Why? See Jeff’s post.

  3. p2 says:

    Calling them names, such as “loser”, will not fix the problem. Maybe tone down the name-calling, a bit. And be more calmly objective. After all, you may be moderating the debates before the up-coming elections. You will have to interact with some of these people. Calling them names gets you off on the wrong foot, in that regard. If you are unhappy with them, just vote against them in the elections. You can vote against them all, if you think that they are all losers. But, as a debate moderator, you need to tone-down the name-calling.

  4. Stephen Stein says:

    Oh, and you ain’t seen nothin’ yet… Just watch the kabuki when Boehner demands more cuts or else he’ll let the country default by not raising the debt limit!

  5. emom says:

    Why does the government beleive they are even trying to do us a favor, All I have seen since the bush years, is more and more out of luck folks. But at the same time I see politicians argueing about getting another raise and it seems year after year. Meanwhile folks have lost jobs, their himes, their respect. and yet they cut , cut, CUT MAJOR SERVICES, Why cant they simply look at THEIR own budgets, they take what 6 weeks every year for vacation,, OH BUT WAIT, they have to show they are doing us yet “ANOTHER FAVOR” becaus ethey are trying ever so hard to HELP the american people, yet make threats of needing to work longer to solve the problems or in this case “SHUT DOWN THE GOVERNMENT”.. scare tatics and what can we do , live with it. In the mean time people are the ultimate “LOSERS” face it, as long as they hold the pen to sing the check books, and feel that a service or fund is not really NEEDED, they can do what ever they please, Like a bunch of spoiled out of control wayward mouthy , in our lifes teens. I feel the budget cuts NEED to come from their budgets, they cry I NEED MORE , if the budget is out of control I say LOOK at what THEY SPEND DAILY, that will explain some of the problem. and stop giving into to idle threats and not gove them MORE $$$ just because they CLAIM they are doing a great job… If that was the case , which we all know is not, then a raise would be appropriate, But IT’S NOT , and that is a good chunk of the defiect.. their greedyness. Cut their spending and correct the problems they have created. Its should not be placed on the american people to correct their out of control ways. OWN UP to their own mess.

  6. emom says:

    sorry for some spelling errors… OOPS

  7. Ajay says:

    I have to disagree with Mr. Stein. Suggesting that a tax increase is the olny way to close the deficit is like an employee demanding a raise just because he’s living beyond his means. Maybe he should start by lowering his standard of living.
    I believe that there’s far too much waste in the federal government. We should eliminate that waste before we say that we HAVE to raise taxes.

    1. Stephen Stein says:

      Ajay – that is no answer. There is nowhere near that amount of waste in the federal government. Even if you could identify and get rid of all the waste, I doubt it would reduce the deficit by more than 10%.

      1. Ajay says:

        Having worked in the federal government for many years… I think that 10% is very low. But even still, 10% is a nice chunk of change.

      2. Stephen Stein says:

        So you have some experience with this – how would you go about identifying “waste”? (It is my understanding that some amount of duplication of effort among Federal agencies was identified earlier this year.)

  8. Ed Hall says:

    Cutting taxes on the rich while cutting aid to the poor is unspeakably evil.

  9. ENUFF says:

    The Patrick Admininistration paid over 37 million dollars in emergency room medical benfits to illegal aliens in one year. WHY?!!!! This sure sounds like a big problem eating up our tax money to me. Why don’t they stop it and get rid of the illegal, I say again ILLEGAl aliens???

    1. StanleyRamon says:

      @ENUFF- I think you’re onto something. Let’s immediately LEGALIZE all the illegals by simply making them citizens. A bit of paperwork will cost very little, and then they will all be good tax-paying, hard working citizens. That $37 million would be erased, and not only that, it would give the sagging economy the boost it needs. In fact to go a step further, we should completely cut the billions of dollars spent on our inept attempts to stop immigrants from crossing the border illegally and simply turn them into citizens right at the border.

  10. CEO says:

    Once again we find ourselves in a situation where raising taxes while trying to turn around the economy seems unwise, yet we don’t have enough tax revenue to support all these government programs. One thing I’m sure of, before increasing taxes we should use this opportunity to finally weed out waste and eliminate programs we don’t need and that aren’t working.

    A good example is what we spend on education in this country. While we’ve tripled spending over the last two decades, the quality of education has not improved.

    There is a lot of government spending that falls into the same category. It’s time to stop throwing money at things and instead look for innovative ways to deliver services that actually yield positive results. Unfortunately, we have to many people in Washington that just want to perpetuate broken and unnecessary programs when that money could be used for programs that work and/or to pay down our debt.

    When 40 cents of every dollar is being spent just to pay the interest on our debt, drastic measures have to be taken. Some of those measures are going to hurt short-term, there’s is no doubt about that. But it is time to face the problem once and for all instead of setting up future generations for a big fall.

  11. Ajay says:

    I don’t know that gov’t employees are underpaid when you look at it as an annual salary. But I believe that most are underworked. Most federal offices are overstaffed by private sector standards.

    The days of the $600 hammer are alive and well. Contractors milking the system in both dollars and time. And they hadly stand behind their work.or product.

    We send aid to almost every country in the world, but won’t support our own people.

    Departments and programs can be eliminated completely. The Dept of Education comes to mind along with Pulic Broadcasting. Others can drastically reduced; the EPA, FDA and Energy Dept. for example.

    Pork barrel projects are another story altogether. Do you think that the Big Dig was a good use of your tax dollars? How about Ted Kennedy’s new center?

    There’s plenty to cut long before we HAVE to raise taxes or the debt ceiling.

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