Congress could push America to the brink

Posted on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 10:08 am

Having a Congress that doesn’t work is punishing America, and the nightmare is about to get a lot worse.

As a result of Washington’s inability to agree on hardly anything, a variety of evil consequences is snowballing. Here’s a sampling:

— More than a million recession victims will lose long-term employment benefits over the holidays.

— The price of a gallon of milk could quadruple in late winter.

— Government payments to doctors who treat Medicare patients may fall sharply.

— Tax breaks will expire temporarily for people in states like Tennessee which have no state income tax.

That’s because this conflicted Congress has failed to meet action deadlines that are normally routine.

The political parties, naturally, blame each other for the state of affairs in what The Associated Press called “a dog of a year.”

Efforts to seek a deal on the major issues aren’t expected to address a stack of routine unfinished business, it said.

How that works is illustrated in what AP called “the milk price fiasco.”

A broad disagreement about legislation to set spending levels for farm and feeding programs revolves around food stamp funding. A House measure calls for food stamp cuts of $40 billion over a decade, while a Senate version seeks cuts of $4 billion.

Congressional inability to resolve that issue would return the nation to a dairy law passed in Depression years. That would set in motion a chain of events that would potentially multiply the price of a gallon of milk four times.

It’s a shame that congressional elections are almost a year away.

-The Post-Intelligencer, Paris, Tenn.

Headlines of the Day