Congress less popular than rotten shark

By Jeff Petersen, The Observer October 11, 2013 11:51 am

always thought I should be at least as popular as pet rocks, or Slinkies, or Lincoln Logs. Then I met Congress. With the current fight over the debt ceiling, the government shutdown and the possibility of putting a sheet over Mount Rushmore to prove to eager tourists that the federal government is indeed shut down, Congress has become as popular as a rattlesnake. 

Recent polls of the American public show Congress has an approval rate lower than polygamy, the taking of more than one wife.

Congress is also less popular than British Petroleum’s handling of the Gulf oil spill, George W. Bush in his lowest moment, the heiress Paris Hilton and human cloning.

Democrats blame Republicans. Republicans blame Democrats. Truth is, it’s not a party thing. When Democrats are in power, they vote regularly to raise the debt ceiling. By this point, they’ve created a debt great room with mounted heads of taxpayers on the wall and a stone fireplace, each stone representing all the money that could, would and should not be borrowed.

Make no mistake. Borrowing 40 cents on every dollar is not a great way to do business. Go to the bank and see if they will let you do the same. Watch the bankers roll on the floor laughing hysterically.

When Republicans are in power, it’s no better. They, too, regularly vote to raise the debt ceiling, and mount taxpayers’ heads on the trophy wall with equal abandon.

The losers in all this? Not just the tourists trying to see the presidents’ heads carved in granite at Mount Rushmore. And not just federal employees on furlough, which may not be so bad, since negotiations are already under way, as they were in the Great Shutdown of 1995, to provide back pay.

The biggest losers, and we’re talking dollars here and not pounds, may well be the people who are dependent on 401K retirement plans. In the threatened Great Shutdown of 2009, these plans took a tsunami hit. And they’re in line to take a hit again, in the Great Shutdown of 2013, as soon as the market geniuses go on their next group panic.

That’s true unless Congress comes to its senses, which is about as long a shot as a Shetland pony named Beetle Bomb winning the next Kentucky Derby.

Congress may also soon realize that Obamacare, with all its shortcomings, passed in 2011.

Yes, Obamacare is not perfect. It’s a way to put a giant Band-Aid, one that would probably cover Mount Rushmore, on the gaping wound that is health care in this country.

Don’t get me wrong. Obamacare is no panacea. It is, however, a baby step in the right direction to provide more Americans access to overexpensive health care.

The main winners of Obamacare are still the medical and insurance industrial complex, not consumers like you and me digging in our pockets for change and finding only lint.

The point is, what we need is a Congress more popular than mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus. We need a single-payer system, like Medicare, where the cost of medical procedures and prescriptions can be negotiated down to the point of being if not affordable at least not sending us into hysterics.

Pipe dream, you say? In Britain, under national health care, hip replacements cost a fraction what they do here for the same quality.

Yes, Congress is about as popular as the squeegee guys at stoplights. I’m sure they’ll soon come to their senses and attempt to become even less popular.

By comparison, it makes me feel like the life of the party.


Contact Jeff Petersen at 541-963-3161 or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Follow Jeff on Twitter @lagrandenewsGo.