Message to Congress: First do no harm

July 31, 2011

I have been watching the surreal drama that is playing out in Washington, just another insignificant American citizen, wondering when the curtain will fall on the histrionics. I hope after all the confrontations and clashes the debt ceiling will be raised in the last minute, House Speaker John Boehner will appear on talk shows, his eyes moist, claiming victory, and President Obama will go off on his fundraisers, telling the world that for America to survive as we know it, we need new taxes — but I cannot be sure.

Dragging it all out is a cruel hoax on the parts of the politicians, but they persist. Do you think the heat got to the heads of the politicians? Do you think like BGE did in the Baltimore area, the electricity provider for Capitol Hill saw it fit to starve Congress of the cool air it desperately needs? Everybody in Congress should go jump in a pool, drink some beer, raise a toast to the America they have sworn to serve, agree to stop being the laughing stock of the world, give the debt ceiling a lift up, cease sending shivers down the spine of the global stock markets and see what, if anything, can be done about unemployment, the housing market slump and the huge frozen assets within the vaults of the big banks and the investment firms that should be in circulation and available to the American people.

Banking reform hasn't done it, stimulus and rescue packages haven't done it, extending the Bush tax cuts hasn't done it and all the nostrums about what will work have fallen by the wayside. Obviously the economy is oblivious to politics, laws and prescriptions. It seems to have a trajectory all its own.

The more the politicians show off and carry on like children, the more I am convinced they are feeling helpless and befuddled by forces beyond their control, they don't know how to admit defeat gracefully and they are grand standing to impress their constituents. In the practice of medicine there is a saying, "First do no harm!" Washington has to practice this now. To precipitate a crisis is to do harm. Those who say that we will be able to pay all our essential bills for a while even if the debt ceiling is not raised, ignore the simple fact that the markets will not fall for that belief but instead will react to the possibility of a default. When the faith of the global markets in the U.S. is shaken, then the economy will spiral further out of control, like the asinine behavior in Washington. Please Washington, "First do no harm!" Then get some collective therapy and lessons in cooperation and compromise.

Usha Nellore, Bel Air

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