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Government … two months at a time

payroll tax cutI hate to ruin the pre-Christmas mood, but if I wait to comment on the payroll tax cut bill until after Christmas, it will be virtually irrelevent. Not that my opinions ever have any relevance in the overall scheme of things …

Yes, the payroll tax cuts should be extended for the middle and lower income people who so desperately need them right now. (The 1% doesn’t need or deserve the cuts, but that never seems to matter.) Yes, the “doc fix” was critical. Chop 20% from what Medicare docs get paid, and overnight you’ll find millions of Medicare patients abandoned by their doctors. Unemployment benefits: now is probably not the time to cut those. As for forcing Obama to make a decision on the Keystone pipeline in the next 60 days — the timing of his decision is more relevant to the 2012 election than to the future of the pipeline itself. But don’t get me started on pipeline decisions being included in a bill about payroll taxes …

Much consternation about all this. Much fighting in Washington. Frantic conference calls and late-night meetings. Inter-party fights. Intra-party fights. Etc., etc., etc. And for what!? A lousy two-month extension!? They’ll be back fighting over this again before the ink has dried on Obama’s signature. All those machinations should have produced at least a year-long piece of legislation. Must we really go through all this again in just two months? Next thing we know, they’ll be dealing in one-month increments. Or maybe we can look forward to semi-monthly extensions. Come on, Congress, get serious. People can’t plan their lives and financial futures in two-month increments.

It’s all so absurd, I’d be laughing … if I weren’t already crying.

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