Recently I received an e-mail questionnaire from Sen. Orrin Hatch asking my opinion on the biggest problem facing America. Is it the national debt, the economy, immigration, energy, wars, etc.? After some thought, I concluded that it was "none of the above." The biggest problem facing America is the failure of Congress to do anything about any of these pressing issues.

The contestants for Congress all make the same promises to fix our country's problems, but changes in personnel seem to make little difference. We heard the same promises from Sen. Bob Bennett and the rest of our Utah delegation, but they go back to Washington and hit the brick wall of reality. Congress is tied up in so many procedural knots, with individual members blocking votes on any real solutions, that nothing gets done. Members of Congress seem so obsessed with re-election that they fear to take any meaningful action that could offend some voters. The best Congress can do is offer gimmick solutions that have superficial, short-term appeal, but do nothing to solve the underlying problem. Hatch likes to blame the majority Democrats for congressional inaction, but the Republicans did no better when they held the majority.

The first action of Congress should be to change its internal rules governing the legislative process, such as the filibuster, to allow meaningful legislation to be aired and voted up or down. If that fails, our next action should be to impose term limits on members of Congress to focus their attention on real solutions to our real problems, rather than on their own perpetual re-election.

Merrill Nelson