Miracle on First Street, SE

Published: December 13, 2013

By Jim Lichtman
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The last time I remember a miracle of this magnitude happening it was 1969. Dubbed the “Miracle Mets,” the New York ballclub never finished higher than ninth place (in a ten-team league) in their first seven seasons. With help from the gods, the Mets defeated the Baltimore Orioles in the World Series in an astonishing five games!

The gods must be in a good mood lately, because they decided to smile down on that bastion of gridlock… Washington and offer up another.

Yesterday, December 12th, the House approved a bipartisan budget agreement “and a Pentagon policy bill that would strengthen protections for victims of sexual assault,” The New York Times writes (Dec. 12). The deal, which passed 332-94, would halt any notion of another government shutdown.

It’s like Congress was visited by all Three Ghosts of Christmas – Past, Present and Yet to Come – and saw the light of reason and responsibility.

“The deal, while modest in scope,” The Times says (Dec. 11), “amounts to a cease-fire in the budget wars that have debilitated Washington. …

“…the accord between Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, chairman of the House Budget Committee, and Senator Patty Murray of Washington, chairwoman of the Senate Budget Committee, was a reminder that even fierce political combatants can find common ground. Mr. Ryan praised the deal in the most elementary terms as a way to ‘get our government functioning at its very basic levels.’ ”

“…government functioning,” that’s government-speak for: Yes, folks, we (or most of us, anyway) have decided to actually do our jobs employing the two “C” words: commonsense and compromise.

“The agreement which would finance the government through Sept. 30, 2015, would eliminate about $63 billion in across-the-board domestic and military cuts. But it would provide $23 billion in deficit reduction by extending a 2 percent cut to Medicare providers through 2023, two years beyond the cuts set by the Budget Control Act of 2011.”

“Bah, Humbug!”

Ebenezer Scrooge crawls on stage in the guise of Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity. “We will hold members accountable, Republican and Democrat, if they go forward and vote to raise spending above sequester levels,” referring to automatic, across-the-board spending cuts mandated by sequestration in 2011.

“Frankly I think they’re misleading their followers…”

Who’s that? Why it’s warm-hearted ol’ Mr. Fezziwig, delightfully played by John Boehner, to put the terrible Tea Party in its place?

“There comes a point when people step over the line. When you criticize something and you have no idea what you’re criticizing, it undermines your credibility.

“You know, they pushed us into this fight to defund Obamacare and shut down the government,” Fezziwig says. “…if you recall, the day before the government re-opened, one of the people at one of these groups stood up and said, ‘well we never really thought it would work.’ Are you kidding me!?”

Asked if he thinks the groups should “stand down,’ Fezziwig answers, “I DON’T CARE WHAT THEY DO!!”

Good ol’ Fezziwig.

Now, Congress (well, most of them, anyway) can go home for Christmas transformed by the belief that they have actually done something that the majority of the country can agree upon.

Will the spirit of Christmas continue into Spring?

“I will honor Christmas in my heart,” Scrooge says, “and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!”

“God bless us, every…”

Hold on there, Tiny Tim! Let’s wait and see.



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