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Washington’s Dysfunction on Display

Posted by Larry Doyle on July 25, 2011 7:24 AM |

Why do Americans get so fixated on the personally destructive stories of Casey Anthony, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Anthony Weiner, and the like?

Because watching and listening to the dysfunction on display in Washington is typically too painful and too much to bear.

Although some in Washington would pass off our current debate on raising the debt ceiling as the ugly underside of the best political system in the world, I would maintain that the ugliness has gone to an entirely new level.

All Americans are suffering in the process.

Regardless of your political leanings, the style and manner in which the current political debate is playing out displays both real dysfunction and a resulting lack of credibility in the eyes of global investors. We are supposedly the leaders of the free world? Really? The current shenanigans strike me as more akin to a banana republic.

How did things get this bad? I believe that the current dysfunction on display runs far deeper than mere differences in political philosophy.

I believe both Washington and our nation have become polarized due to a real lack of trust across party lines and political followers. There is far too much evidence from both camps that a real sense of shared sacrifice and ownership runs secondary to “getting mine”.

What do I see as some of the major issues and problems?

When close to half of our citizens pay very little to no taxes, how can we ever develop a sense of shared ownership?

Why did the Tea Party movement develop? Was it Sir Isaac Newton who stated that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction? I believe it was.

In that vein, I view the Tea Party as the mirror image of the far left crowd that coalesced and elected Barack Obama in 2008. The Tea Party crowd strikes me as people who are fed up with footing bills and writing checks that seemingly go into blank holes with little accountability.

I am fed up as well.

Corporate jets and millionaires and billionaires that Barack talks about on the stump? Makes for good political talking points but instead of the gamesmanship he should hold a phone-a-thon and call up the major financial backers he has on Wall Street and tell them that the party known as “carried interest” is over.

In the midst of the talk about tax reform, the carried interest topic never seemed to get serious air time. That fact speaks volumes and tells me that the Wall Street-Washington incest remains as strong as ever.

On the other side of the coin, where are the executives from Wall Street who are willing to readily admit and expose the business practices which crippled our nation and so many of our citizens in the process. Wall Street is not the only industry that has captured its regulator. The oil industry has well.

In addition to these industries, when will the pols who are engaged in an incestuous relationship with these titans pull back those blankets and let some fresh air in to disinfect the stench that fills our nation?

Where are the real leaders in our nation? I ask my better half that question repeatedly.

Regrettably, given the lack of real leadership in Washington on both sides of the aisle and in industry as well, far too many people in our nation have far too many reasons to retreat into their own corners.

We all suffer as a result. I hope for so much more from our nation for my children and all our children.

How can we move forward? More voices in our nation need to speak out in support of embracing the truth, promoting real transparency, and elevating total integrity. Until these virtues are restored to their rightful place in our society, our nation will continue to suffer.

What a shame.

Larry Doyle

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I have no affiliation or business interest with any entity referenced in this commentary. The opinions expressed are my own. I am a proponent of real transparency within our markets, our economy, and our political realm so that meaningful investor confidence and investor protection can be achieved.

  • Benjamin

    I would suggest that the focus on personal stories is due to the fact that the magnitude of the fiscal problem is effectively inconceivable. Check out the following website:

    A Visualization of US Debt

  • fred

    So now both sides are exposed.

    Through the process of debt limit negotiations, the dems have conceded tax increases and the pubs have conceded a balanced budget amendment.

    So what’s left to negotiate? The real issue, the presidential election spending cycle.

    By pushing future debt limit negotiations beyond the election allows dems to ‘goose’ the economy and improve Obama’s chance at reelection. Debt limit negotiations prior to 2012 favors the pubs in their attempt to undermine Obama by limiting preelection spending and keeping the economy sputtering along in a ‘lower gear’.

    Q: How can this country ever move forward when our political leaders are focused on the next election?

  • Regrettably, the tragic Norway killings are what happens when politicians fail to pay heed and instead tie down the ‘safety valve’.

    Real leadership in Washington would go a long way in seeing that this type of action doesn’t occur here as well.

  • Dieter

    ‘We get the government we deserve’. It’s time for the American people to quit watching the Flintstones and Wake Up!

  • BM

    Well said, Larry.

    In addition to but regardless of the socio/economic politics, we have a bunch of professional politicians and lawyers – no one that ever ran a business, balanced a real budget or hired employees (and understood the value of THIS on FAMILY)!

    We don’t need a balanced budget amendment, we need term limits!!!

  • Nora

    Larry, I love the way you describe the relationship between the politician and Wall Street and the stench they produce together! I think that the politicians and I mean all of them are not trying to fix our economy, they gain more popularity from the crisis as it persists.

    First they scare the heck out of us by allowing the economy to get so far down the toilet, then they pretend to negotiate and then they entertain us by pointing fingers at each other. They are fighting over which package will make each party look the best or worst at the end. That’s why they keep coming out of the meetings and discuss how things are not coming along, and how bad the other party looks. Since when does the government want the people to know what’s going on, really, since when! That blame game is getting so old!

    How difficult is it to come up with a plan that would remedy the situation? It was not difficult for them to fork out trillions to save the so called financial institutions and the auto companies, they get that done so fast we didn’t know what hit us! Those who got saved by our tax Dollars, should be at the table in the meeting with their wallets open, we know who they are, “THE FAT BASTARDS ON WS”.

    There’s so much waste and fraud not to mention corruption in every sector especially where tax payers money is involved, that just by cleaning those up they can save Billions. They need to take politics out of the debate, hire a third party (economic professors), and Larry Doyle to fix the mess!

    There’s an old man who lives in my neighborhood, every time he sees me as he takes his walk, he says, “don’t watch the news”. That’s funny to me because old people love the news, believe me I know, but his view reflects the disappointments that the people have with the system and with what’s going on. I don’t have a choice, but to watch the news, my client who is a couple of years older than I, 91 watches FOX 24/7; God help me, LOL!

    • LD


      Always a pleasure to read your thoughts and hear your wisdom.

      The question truly begs as to who is really being protected? While both parties would maintain that they are interested in mainstream America why is it that people do NOT FEEL that and BELIEVE that.

      You make me blush but I do think we need politicians who have real courage and heart and are not interested in their own political survival. When is the last time you heard a politician call out a system, a program, or a pol involved in real waste and fraud. It NEVER happens. They protect each other more than they protect us.

      Tell your friend that while he skips the news he can read Sense on Cents.

      Keep the faith.

  • fred

    We have to get out of the habit of turning to government to solve our problems. Government’s only tools for crisis management are socialized bailouts and more regulation.

    Our current status, as a nation, reflects a frustration with governmental solutions; consumers are tapped out and business is suffering the burden of over-regulation as it tries to turn a profit.

    An alternative to governmental solutions is policy development by the consumer. Just as politics is to government, business can not be relied upon to provide leadership because its greatest strength, the profit motive, is also it’s greatest weakness and not to be trusted.

    So should consumers seek good policy or do we continue to rely on more and costly regulation?

    I would suggest that effective policy should be preferred because it relies on social ideals and risk management rather than regulatory interpretation and enforcement.

    Policy is proactive rather than reactive, policy avoids crisis rather than creating it. Within the context of good policy development, let business supply the solutions and government ensure a fair playing field.

    Policy can replace regulation and the savings returned to the consumer. By not relying on the government for solutions, the role of government becomes limited, as originally intended. Government jobs “cost” the consumer, private sector jobs “serve” the consumer.

    Within the context of sound policy, “free” markets are looked upon as an essential barometer of economic health rather than measures of economic wealth to be manipulated and exploited toward a political end.

    Policy is defined by will, regulation by revenue.

    The perfect forum for policy development by the consumer now exists, social networking.

    So people, what will it be, more of the same or a change in direction?

    • LD


      My sense is that you are capturing the true spirit of the American dream. Regrettably we have allowed ourselves as a nation to lose that national spirit and the accompanying accountability and transparency and integrity required to make it a reality.

      Sad but true.

      Individually we must continue to fight and our individual spirits will hopefully create enough of a spark which will keep our hope alive. Our kids deserve it.

      Thanks again for throwing a log on the fire.

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