Monday, June 23, 2014

Gates and Geithner Agree. Washington Politics at Crisis Level.

Two of the most engaged and critical participants in U.S. military and economic policy in the last decade agree Washington is broken and its dysfunction is contributing to our national drift and weakness.
Robert Gates (L) and Tim Geithner (R)
Robert Gates in recent speeches and his book was angry when he discussed the politics of Washington and its effect on national defense.

“I was constantly amazed and infuriated at the hypocrisy of those who most stridently attacked the Defense Department for being inefficient and wasteful but would fight tooth and nail to prevent any reduction in defense activities in their home state or district no matter how inefficient or wasteful.” Moreover, “I was exceptionally offended by the constant adversarial, inquisition-like treatment of executive branch officials by too many members of Congress across the political spectruma kangaroo-court environment in hearings, especially when the press and television cameras were present.” (New Republic, 2-25-14)

In a Wall Street Journal interview, Tim Geithner believes the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009 could have been worse if some luck hadn’t prevailed to derail the politics of Washington, which he described at its worst as:

“…those who were never willing to put politics aside and focus on the pragmatic imperative, or were trying to force us to default on our obligations as a way to shrink the safety net, or were blocking for transparently political reasons things that had long periods of bipartisan support that would have made the economy stronger.”

It is not surprising that trust in government is at a 20-year low (Gallup, 19%, Sept. 2013) and approval of Congress is near single digits (13%, Real Clear Politics, June 2014; 7%, Gallup, June 2014).

Wall Street Journal: The wars of Robert Gates
New Republic: Why is Robert Gates angry?
Wall Street Journal: Timothy Geithner: After the financialcrisis

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