Frank Pignanelli & LaVarr Webb: Nation flounders with Congress that keeps dithering

Published: Sunday, Oct. 2 2011 12:00 a.m. MDT

Unfortunately, Congress and the president just play the blame game, neither side willing to do the difficult things that might cost them a few votes. It is disgusting.

Pignanelli: "Congress is functioning the way the Founding Fathers intended — not very well." — Barber Conable. Americans are angry because Congress and the president are acting as if they do not know what to do. The problem is ... they don't. Washington is a reflection of what is happening to society. How we work, eat, borrow, spend, obtain news, communicate and otherwise live is transforming.

Austerity is driving changes to our relationship with government. As the global and national economies evolve, Congress is unable to match the pace with the needed alterations to the federal system.

Compromise is necessary when facing crucial deadlines (i.e., debt ceiling). But our nation is now at a point where many citizens embrace personal beliefs regarding government with the same fervor as religious doctrine. Consequently, the once frequent compromises between these values are now unrealistic.

Which party or candidates, if any, will be punished in 2012 for stalemate, lack of progress and the lousy economy?

Pignanelli: Polls demonstrate voters have lost confidence in both parties. If the European economy collapses, President Obama and the Democrats may be held blameless. But if the U.S. remains stagnant while the world expands, the GOP wins big-time.

Webb: The buck stops with the president, so his re-election circumstances are dire. As for Congress, we deplore Congress as an institution, but we tend not to blame our individual congressmen for congressional insanity and lethargy. Perhaps we should.

Republican LaVarr Webb is a political consultant and lobbyist. Previously he was policy deputy to Gov. Mike Leavitt and Deseret News managing editor. Email: lwebb@exoro.com. Democrat Frank Pignanelli is a Salt Lake attorney, lobbyist and political adviser. Pignanelli served 10 years in the Utah House of Representatives, six years as minority leader. His spouse, D'Arcy Dixon Pignanelli, is a state tax commissioner. Email: frankp@xmission.com.

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