We The People: We need to work together

Mitch McConnell, the Senate’s top Republican, is complacentdespite the fact the nation faces a catastrophic debt crisis. Itshould be more important to govern now rather than scoring partisanpoints later.

An accommodation between spending cuts and tax increases will bemade but if it is done at the last minute, it will damage thenation’s creditworthiness. The goal of every representative shouldbe to do good rather than to sound good. No one will look good ifthe Congress allows the United States to default on itsobligations.

If there is no compromise on the national debt ceiling limit,then a default will happen. Our leaders should be able to workeffectively toward a solution even when they disagree about issues.What does Congressmember Michael Grimm have to say about it thecrisis? We need to reduce our debt but it must be done within aworkable budget. A dollar spent to pay down principal will increaseour creditworthiness and free future tax dollars for investmentinstead of interest.

Democrats and Republicans must work together for a solution. Ifmembers must break ranks and meet other members on their own, theyshould do it now. It is no wonder that respect for our Congress isat an all-time low.

Some politicians allege that they stand for small government andless spending but have no problem wasting tax dollars to promotepablum instead of progress. Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis senta flyer to constituents trumpeting her sponsorship of A-7856, abill which calls for a forensic audit of the MTA.

Nobody likes the MTA and its cuts in service have hurt ourcommunity. But, the flyer neglects to mention that the audit couldcost tens of millions of dollars and produce no savings. This is aclassic waste of postage and printing to self-promote usingproposed legislation which will never pass.

The idea is not original. Assemblymember Annie Rabbitt(R-Greenwood Lake) proposed the exact same thing. At least,Assemblymember Malliotakis did not include the same request todefund the MTA by repealing the payroll tax that supports it.

Huh? Although in 2010 Metro-North carried 81.1 million ridersand the LIRR carried 81.5 million rider, some Republicans don’tfeel that tax money should be used to support the service. Thepayroll tax is a burden that suburban residents and employers payto provide themselves with commuter service. We need to have theMTA made accountable for budgets, but we don’t need to cripplepublic transportation especially at this time.

The MTA should balance its budget but remember the New YorkState and City budgets allowed their public debts to increase overthe past years. It is no fiscal comfort that New York City wastedhundreds of millions of dollars on the CityTime fiasco.

Mayor Bloomberg acknowledged he is responsible for thisridiculously bloated project that enabled workers and contractorsto steal millions. The mayor found money to keep open firehousesand retain our teachers. He couldn’t miss the opportunity to sayAGAIN that seniority protection for teachers made the crisis moredifficult.

That is pure baloney. The Department of Education has aconvoluted budget process which makes it more difficult to budgetsalaries. A school gets no budget benefit from hiring a cheaprookie teacher. I’m sure an independent contractor was paidmillions to come up with the idea.

The road to fiscal balance begins with small steps. The stepscannot begin unless politicians stop wasting time and moneypromoting ideas they know will do nothing except sound good to somepeople instead of working to find real solutions for difficultissues.

Brian Kieran is a community activist who works for the Stateof New York and is a Democrat.

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