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How to improve the road ahead


By Lee Hamilton

Fri, Oct 25th, 2013
Posted in All Commentary

One of the more amazing spectacles in the days after the government shutdown ended was the obsession in Washington with who won and who lost in the showdown. Yes, the capital is focused on next year’s elections, but honestly! There was only one real loser, and that was the American people.

Why? Because nothing got resolved. The agreement leaves the government open only until mid-January, and gives the Treasury the ability to borrow through early February. All that effort secured us the barest minimum that we needed. Tax reform, spending, entitlements, jobs and economic growth: we’re no better off than we were before a small faction in Congress brought us to the brink of an unnecessary disaster. So the question is, can we avoid a similar crisis down the road?

The record of the recent past gives no ground for optimism, though members of Congress may now recognize the enormous economic costs to the nation of a shutdown and near-default. To avoid repeating their recent sorry spectacle, however, they will have to confront three challenges.

First, Congress has to break its habit of governing by crisis. Second, its members need to take a leaf from this most recent experience and remember that the essence of legislating is negotiation. Finally, they need to recognize that every time Congress fails to assert itself, other institutions gain more power at its expense.

Great democracies do not lurch from doomsday moment to doomsday moment. They plan ahead, confront and resolve their challenges, fulfill their responsibilities abroad, and respond to their own people’s needs. Congress can do none of these things so long as its members insist on resolving one crisis by setting up another a few months down the road.

Some people in Washington argue that this is because we live in trying times, faced with bewildering economic upheaval, social and demographic change, and a sorely divided body politic. That’s all true — but politics has always been about getting things done in difficult environments. Congress was designed to be the institution where the difficulties of the moment could be overcome by legislators with the skill and temperament to work together to overcome them. Instead, we face a host of challenges with a Congress unable to address them because it can only postpone a crisis from one date to another.

I find myself thinking often these days of the skillful legislators I .....
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One Moment, Please... A good rate increase?

Fri, Oct 25th, 2013
Posted in All Commentary

Every week, the Fillmore County Journal spends a lot of money with our local USPS locations in the region. As a matter of fact, our postal costs rank among the top three of all of our expenses for producing the newspaper. And, this is why I pay c ..... 
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The haunted house

By Yvonne Nyenhuis

Fri, Oct 25th, 2013
Posted in All Commentary

One sunny day my sister Vange, and I set off on a great adventure. I was 9 years old and Vange was 13. We were heading for the ‘Haunted’ house, a two mile walk from our home, along Second Street Pike. When we arrived at our destination, we waite ..... 
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One Moment, Please... Recognizing women in business

Fri, Oct 18th, 2013
Posted in All Commentary

Inside today’s Fillmore County Journal you will find a special section titled “2013 Working Women,” coming to you with the timely recognition of National Business Women’s Week -- always celebrated during the third week of October since 1938. ..... 
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Guest Commentary: The reality of wars and elections

Fri, Oct 18th, 2013
Posted in All Commentary

By Jeff Erding A couple of editorials recently expressed the view that “in war, there are no winners.” One was in the Rochester paper and the other was in the Fillmore County Journal and submitted by a person I like and respect. I’m puzzled a ..... 
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Guest Commentary: A threat to our bluffs

Fri, Oct 18th, 2013
Posted in All Commentary

By Jim Gurley Hillsdale Township, Winona, MN An important public hearing is coming up about efforts to take away our bluffland protections adopted by the county just a few years ago. Rural AND city residents need to attend, and instruct the commis ..... 
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Jade & the Eggplant

Fri, Oct 18th, 2013
Posted in All Commentary

The dreaded “W” word approaching. The days are getting shorter, colder, and soon the ground will be white with that other four letter “S” word that often goes along with the aforementioned “W” word. This year, more than years previous, I ..... 
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It’s time for an intervention

By Lee Hamilton

Fri, Oct 11th, 2013
Posted in All Commentary

The American public has lost patience with Washington. The question is, now what? Congress is unable to do its job. It displays neither competence nor responsibility. It lurches — reeling from crisis to crisis, each one self-manufactured in an e ..... 
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Obamacare and the government shutdown...we can do better

By Col. Stan Gudmundson

Fri, Oct 11th, 2013
Posted in All Commentary

By Stan Gudmundson If you are wondering about the government shutdown, there are a few things you might want to think about. But to summarize it in a nutshell and provide everything you essentially need to know about “Obamacare,” consider that ..... 
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