May 10 letter writer Judith L. Wiltse would like to return the presidency to “one of the clowns” because of the “mess that our country is in.” I would agree that things are “messy,” but would suggest that some historical perspective would be useful. In comparison with the last era of “clown rule,” we are fighting no major wars, have relatively few military boots on the ground and are suffering and causing many thousands fewer casualties. Unemployment is 5.4 percent compared with 7.8 percent, when the last “clown” left office; the Congressional Budget Office documents a decline of the Federal Deficit from 9.8 percent to 3.3 percent. There has been a decline in medical costs and an increase in the number of people who have health insurance.
Is there a mess? Sure: sky-rocketing college costs, a huge and growing gulf between the haves and have-nots, violence by and against the police and infrastructure collapse, to name just a few things that need attention by congressional clowns. To continue the metaphor, our federal government has indeed become a circus, where big-money “Ringmasters” have replaced the parties of relatively domesticated donkeys and elephants with hyenas, for whom compromise is just carrion.