Mark Trahant is a writer, speaker and Twitter poet. He is a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and lives in Fort Hall, Idaho. Trahant’s recent book, “The Last Great Battle of the Indian Wars,” is the story of Sen. Henry Jackson and Forrest Gerard.
The late historian Barbara Tuchman described the ineptness of government decision-making in her book, The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam. She wrote: “Mankind, it seems, makes a poorer performance of government than of almost any other human activity. In this sphere, wisdom, which may be defined as the exercise of judgment acting on experience, common sense and available information, is less operative and more frustrated than it should be. Why do holders of high office so often act contrary to the way reason points and enlightened self-interests suggests? Why does intelligent process seem so often not to function?”
And so it goes with our current economic mess. Why, indeed, did so many high office holders act contrary to the way reason and enlightened self-interest suggest?
There was ample warning that the debt ceiling fight would make our problems worse, yet strident lawmakers ignored common sense, self-interest and plunged ahead. So the stock market dives and the United States will pay a penalty for folly.
Too many lawmakers and Tea Party supporters blame President Barack Obama for spending our way into oblivion when the simple truth is that more of us live longer making it impossible for any nation to pay the benefits once promised. We have a long-term challenge, not an immediate one. The challenge of rebalancing our demographics – serving a population that is growing older with entitlement programs and health care – is a global concern, not just an American one. This accounts for most of our spending problems. Period.