Before I get started, let me say this is a totally non-partisan rant. I consider Democrats, Republicans and the Tea People equally to blame for the government’s paralysis.

Paralysis? Absolutely. Did you watch that disastrous debt ceiling “debate”?

You know the inmates are running the asylum when a good number of elected officials don’t care if the nation’s financial system goes belly up unless they get their way on budget cuts and taxes.

In the end, of course, pacifiers made a quickie deal to keep the country from falling over the edge. They turned to the Protestant Faith Cookbook to create a “Supercommittee,” to deal with future debt ceiling and budget matters.

Apparently Congress can’t manage to address the jobs problem and the economic slide zone with the 20-plus committees the House and Senate each already have.

(Courtesy of Stephen Rhymer)

These days, elected officials are in a 24/7/365 election cycle. They spend more time posturing and preening  before cameras than doing their jobs. It’s no longer about the people’s business; it’s about the sound bite, pandering to the base and getting more contributions.

(There are good elected officials in D.C. and I apologize for lumping them into the mix. Those good men and women are collateral damage.)

Talk is cheap, boys and girls.  It’s time to do something.

The only thing more shameful than Congress’ grade-school antics is the total lack of leadership by President Obama.

Everyone agrees that the actions that resulted in the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression occurred on his predecessor’s watch. But the White House has had plenty of time to come up with at least a rough outline of a plan, even if it’s scrawled on the back of a bar napkin or beer coaster.

The only plan we’ve seen is the one for his bus trip.

The word is the president will unveil a strategy for fixing the economy when Congress returns. So Obama’s been in office since January 2009, but only now, maybe, at last, he’s going to unveil a plan of some kind next month. We’ll see.

In the mean time, he’s talking a blue streak, and recently he’s taken his act on the road.

He’s the presidential version of the Energizer Bunny: he’s in motion all the time. I just wish some of that motion involved developing a real plan for getting the U.S. out of the current economic nightmare.

In particular, Obama has been conspicuously absent from the unemployment debate except to say how bad it’s become. He pokes his head out now and then to say how bad it is (you don’t say!), how awful the Republicans are, how we really need to get the economy moving forward, why Republicans don’t get it and let’s have another meeting to talk it over.

That meeting will have to wait. The House and Senate are on vacation until September.

As for the president, he’s finished his campaigning and settled in Martha’s Vineyard for the next couple of weeks.

It’s really nice they can take this time off. I wish I could afford to go somewhere, but like millions of other Americans, my unemployment benefits and savings are exhausted.

As you read this, the stock market gyrates, corporations with cash are sitting on it instead of creating jobs, unemployment numbers remain in the stratosphere and millions of hard-working Americans struggle to survive one more day.

We deserve better from our elected officials.

The sad question is, why don’t we demand it?

Stephen Rhymer, a 59-year-old former public relations official from Edmond, Okla., has been unemployed for two and a half years. Read more about him here. Read about the “Help Wanted” project here. Visit the project home page here.

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