Do headlines measure what’s relevant?

My Turn
M. Kate West

Today a headline on CNN’s political page read “2014, a bad year for Obama?” My response … is there really anyone out there who cares whether or not he is going to have a bad year?

There are a thousand and one more important things happening in the world today that need so much more focus than how the president is polling.

Personally, I think about veterans having their pensions cut, people losing their longstanding insurance plans, hungry children in America, a still-sluggish economy and the upcoming go-round that will come from once again having to raise the debt ceiling.

In reading Dec. 27, I learned that Plumas District Hospital laid off several employees before Christmas and while my sympathies go to these individuals, the bottom line is the fault lies with Washington, D.C.

I lay it at both the feet of the White House and the members of Congress. The poorly thought out actions of Congress and the administration have created a chain reaction that is spreading across the country and into Plumas County.

As I think about this I’m not sure what is worse, a do-nothing Congress or one that is so poorly informed that it passes laws without the critical understanding of the full consequences that might arise.

Obamacare is a prime example of hastily written legislation that was passed in the dark of night only to glaringly reveal all its many faults in the light of day.

In other headlines I read I learned a Georgia lawmaker is preparing legislation over “Duck Dynasty,” Harry Reid again thinks he knows what John Boehner might do on the issue of immigration and that 70 people on a beach in Argentina were attacked over Christmas vacation by piranha-like fish.

Not one topic addressed how we are going to get America’s financial health back on track.

At the end of every year Feather Publishing asks its employees to think up headlines they would like to see in 2014. While one could certainly have a lot of fun inventing headlines, I would like to see some honest-to-goodness headlines based on our government actually doing its job.

Real headlines I would like to see include:

—Congress gives federal investigators 90 days to identify which federal agencies duplicate the same services

—Congress’ closing of 25 noncritical federal agencies to save $500 billion in next two years and $2.5 trillion to national deficit over 10 years

—Congress’ pulling of overseas infrastructure dollars forever ensures national debt can be reduced more each year as America uses its own taxpayer funds to repair roads and bridges in every state 

While my headlines are spur-of-the-moment thoughts only and not researched, I don’t think I can truly imagine what America would be like if we had a working Congress, one that worked together to identify 10 substantial ways in which to reduce the national deficit, formulate a plan and then have the follow-through to work the plan.

Many years ago I was involved with a strong parent-teacher organization that used a simple philosophy about goal setting. The policy was that you only set three goals a year. I think it had something to do with the old adage about doing several things very well rather than many things so poorly.

As Congress doesn’t seem to understand the basic budgeting principle of spending within its income limits, maybe they could try something simpler like choosing three things to fix in one year and not doing anything else.

Heck, I’m quite sure they could get the do-nothing part of it right and that would at least get them halfway through what they might consider a monumental challenge.

As 2014 begins I’m not planning to make any personal resolutions; instead, I’m going to extend my holiday wish season by asking that all elected officials choose to be more resolute in their duties rather then make a variety of glib statements that can easily be discarded or forgotten.


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