FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
Today is the 158th day the federal government has operated without a budget. The clock is ticking on the two week extension Congress approved last week which kept the government from effectively shutting its doors for business this morning.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2011/images/03/07/art.demint.jpg caption="U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC)."]
Here's sort of where we stand: Republicans want to cut spending by at least $61 billion which was what the House of Representatives agreed on a few weeks ago in their bill. But the Democratic majority in the Senate only wants to cut $10.5 billion.
Hello, we're looking at a projected deficit of $1.65 trillion for this year alone.
Not to suggest that our Congress people lack guts, but last Friday Republican Senators Jim DeMint and Tom Coburn introduced a bill that would cut about $400 million a year from the budget by stripping all federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. They want to kill Big Bird and Elmo.
Not a word about touching entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare; but children's programming apparently is on the table.
In this week's Time magazine cover story, Fareed Zakaria wonders if America's best days are behind us. He points to how the U.S. now compares with other wealthy countries when it comes to student test scores, graduation rates, life expectancy, crime, and of course national debt. We're falling behind on all fronts. Zakaria says: "The larger discussion in Washington is about everything except what's important." Like killing funding for Sesame Street.
Here’s my question to you: Is the federal government broken beyond repair?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Kathleen in South Carolina:
It is broken because we have allowed the radical elements on both sides to push their agendas rather than the country’s agenda. Nothing will improve until all states come up with non-partisan groups to decide balanced voting districts instead of "safe" ones. By forcing radicals to compete on a level playing field in open primaries, most of them will lose and maybe we can get back to rational, adult government. If not, we're toast!
Laura in San Diego, California:
We have let our differences drive us too far apart. Everyone needs to come to the table and compromise. Term limits would help a lot of this, politicians fear to stand by their principles and those of their constituents on account of an outspoken minority. Just look at how much got done during the lame duck session.
If the current politicians in power keep focusing on the next election in 2012 more so than on matters of indisputable importance, then, not only they, but the nation will be broken beyond repair. A collapse, although probably not imminent, does not seem beyond possibility.
David in Raleigh, North Carolina:
As Thomas Jefferson said, when the poor figure out they can loot the treasury if they elect the right politicians, America is done. Looks like we're there.
I really hope the federal government isn't broken beyond repair. I have two grandkids who will bear the brunt of it if it is. When did compromise become a dirty word? I always though politics was the art of the possible. Yet, what I see today is disgusting. With both parties trying to out-demonize the other, I wonder if it is hopeless.
Ken in Atlantic City, New Jersey:
Yes the government is monetarily broke and internally broken beyond repair. The worst thing is that the president and congress have no interest in fixing the problem. No one is willing to cut defense, end the two wars, cut corporate subsidies, nationalize the oil supply, or raise the top tax rates.
Yes, and no I no longer care about the next election Jack, I care more about the next revolution, American revolution. It's time.