Stop the over-leveraged madness

David M. Anderson's commentary describing leverage and over-leveraging is an apt description of our current economic impasse in Congress ("The over-leveraged GOP," Oct. 10). His op-ed should have a KAL cartoon to go along with it — a donkey on the left of a see-saw facing left and an elephant on the right of a see-saw facing right, with the see-saw itself broken at the fulcrum and both animals cross armed on the ground going nowhere. The bubbles over their head say, "You broke it."

Neither party has any leverage. And our country will soon be totally broken unless these two behemoths decide to find a way to fund our government in a sustainable fashion. Clearly, the Republicans need to look at ways the government can raise more revenue (it is after all, just "good business practice") and the Democrats need to address the solvency of our non-discretionary social programs. And they cannot continue to do this in a crisis, which does look, as Mr. Anderson writes, "like blackmail."

Why after the sequester negotiations did Congress not keep working on this problem? Because we are not governed by people who are interested in good government but rather people who are continually jockeying for position for the next election. We need to take this "negotiation" away from congressmen with a 12-month "vision."

President Barack Obama should reinstate his bipartisan commission (the Bowles-Simpson commission) and ask them to draft a budget for 2014. Congress should agree to pass that budget with little debate and no riders, and the 2014 election should reflect the public's response to that budget. We cannot continue as a nation with this "leveraged hostage taking."

Ray Hoff, Columbia

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