Could Therapy Improve Debt Ceiling Debate?

Headshots of Obama and BoehnerI don’t know about you, but the last thing I need to worry about right now is if my credit card interest rates are going to skyrocket, the banks are going to stop lending, or what the precarious future of my investment portfolio will be like if those folks in Washington don’t figure out how to all just get along. My oldest son will start college in one year, and because the new governor of the great state of Florida has already done away with the state funded scholarships for college enrollees, my son, along with thousands of others, will have to rely on student loans or a chunk of cash from the bank of mom and dad. And because our school district’s budget, like every other one in the country, has been whittled away to skeletal proportions, our family will have to fork over nearly two thousand dollars for school supplies and related educational costs in the first few weeks of the school year. So as I lay in bed trying not to let the stress, fear and worry consume my already anxious and easily agitated mood, I fall back on my mantras and meditation techniques, and wonder if perhaps the guys and gals on the hill couldn’t benefit from a little therapeutic intervention of their own.

There’s obviously a communication gap between the parties. Regardless of what they say in their sound bites, I don’t believe either side has really demonstrated any true active listening. It reminds me of a couple who, regardless of the issue at hand, always ends up fighting about the same thing. Sure, this time it’s the debt ceiling, last time it was funding the wars, and before that it was the big bailout and TARP. But ironically, it always ends up being about taxes and cuts. And just like those spouses who wind up on opposite ends of the leather couch, the politicians end up on opposite sides of the aisle. Perhaps a good relationship therapist could recommend Mars and Venus, or Imago Relationship Therapy for them. Maybe what those folks need is a little mirroring exercise to get them validating each other’s perspective and evoking some genuine empathy.

Perhaps we, the constituents, could offer a little incentive to move these rather imperative talks along in the right direction. We might be able to entice the suits by reminding them that if the millions of seniors and disabled people who rely on Medicare, social security and other entitlements do not receive their payments in August, the stress, anxiety and depression rates will skyrocket and cause a run on the overburdened and underfunded healthcare system. If the economy hiccups and develops a serious infection as a result of poor compromising and communication skills, businesses will lay more people off and many mental health professionals, most of whom are already underpaid, will be forced to leave the profession that is in desperate need of their services, and seek other employment. Facilities will close, clinics will be understaffed and those who are in a mental crisis, whether as a result of a plummeting portfolio, pre-existing problem, or situational depression caused by job loss or homelessness, will suffer most. The psychological and physical health of millions could decline and there is the very real potential for suicide rates to climb.

Ah, but it all goes back to taxes and cuts. Because we know that the folks in Washington do not stay up at night wondering if they will be able to afford their treatment. They do not wait for the third of the month to arrive so that they can buy a few meager groceries. And they do not worry about losing the mental health benefits that they rely on from the country they served. No. They only worry about who wins. Well guess what politicians? If you don’t get your heads out of your partisan pants, we all lose. And nobody likes to be a loser.

© Copyright 2011 by Jen Wilson. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Jim


    July 25th, 2011 at 4:07 PM

    uh no this would not improve it because they are all the most bull headed group of folks I have ever seen in my life!

  • Nate


    July 25th, 2011 at 11:56 PM

    A very good article that wil make for a good letter to those federal and state politicians.billions and trillions is being pumped into an endless war and here all our educational and health programs are in tatters.and what is the vast majority of the population doing?absolutely nothing.

    if the demonstrations in the middle east were for democracy then we need something right here in the Land of the free for the return of democracy,for what the people really want,not what a bunch of people sitting in high offices want!!

  • Olivia


    July 26th, 2011 at 4:29 AM

    It has always been more about party politics and saving their collective you know whats than it has been about what is best for the American people. What a shame. These are the people who are in the best position to make a difference and all they ever seem to be concerned about is what their decisions mean for them and not to the rest of the population. And why do we keep putting them in office? Beats me.

  • BD


    July 26th, 2011 at 9:16 AM

    Yes,these are the guys most in need of therapy and any kind of treatment that they could get. You’re almost left stunned by some of their actions and programs because they just seem so illogical!

    If being a politician means to look after your countryfolk and trying to provide them with a better life then I’m afraid to tell we dont really have too many politicians in our country.They are all puppets of large companies being pawns in their game!

  • Andy K

    Andy K

    July 26th, 2011 at 4:32 PM

    Politicians have lost their sense of greater purpose. Most have fallen to the demagoguery of needing to be reelected. They are afraid of their constituents and the severity of the backlash that will come if they fail to vote party platform. This politician is then unable to vote on a law that goes against the party platform.

    We would be in such a better spot if the congress had a rule that once elected party affiliations went out of the window.

  • KJP


    July 27th, 2011 at 4:41 AM

    These are not men and women who think that they need help
    Ultimately to them they are always right
    They are for the most part not looking out for our best interests but for the vote that will get them re elected
    Sad that this is what our political system has boiled down to
    How could therapy possibly help when they fail to see that anything is wrong with them

  • paula barlow

    paula barlow

    August 7th, 2011 at 11:47 AM

    The problem is we assume that like us, they care about people on Medicare, the weak and the vulnerable. They don’t. They all want to push their own agendas and advance their own careers. Washington is riddled with narcissism.

    My elderly neighbor had her 70th birthday the other day and was telling me that she was now getting help. She put off asking for it for a long time as she’s a very proud lady. The day came where she was having to choose between her medications-she’s diabetic, has HBP and has had a small stroke-and eating. She couldn’t afford both. What a sorry state of affairs! It’s shameful that she even needs to be thinking about that.

  • Tisha R.

    Tisha R.

    August 7th, 2011 at 2:41 PM

    Therapy? The only therapy they need is an extended vacation involving a camping trip 100 miles from society to take a load off their minds. An extended stay on a nice island somewhere, all of them. Give them the break together that they deserve so they can make better decisions and see each other as human beings, not faceless enemies.

    Failing that, include enough boxing rings and gloves for them all to fight it out since they apparently are incapable of talking anything out. We’d get things done a lot faster that way! ;)

  • Heather Dallas

    Heather Dallas

    August 9th, 2011 at 10:32 PM

    @Tisha R. : And while they’re all trapped on an island in the middle of the ocean we could have some good people with modern ideas and thoughts step in, ones that genuinely care about the average person’s troubles and worries and want to make their lives better!

    Isn’t that what politicians are supposed to do, improve their citizens’ quality of life? I think a government should be more like a jury, where you have a committee of your peers making decisions that affect your life.

    Maybe we could actually get something done if we had more people that lived in the real world on board instead of the pointless backbiting that goes on now over who has the better party. It’s time for change, people.

  • Sal Hathaway

    Sal Hathaway

    August 11th, 2011 at 6:16 PM

    I agree, Heather. We need more independent candidates. Too many voters will vote for the party rather than the politician. You could put up a monkey with a Republican or Democratic badge on in the respective states where they have the strongest support and it would get elected.

    Until the hardcore supporters change their mindset of electing anybody that wears the right hat we have no way out. The parties know that and that’s why they put weaker candidates in states where they have a stranglehold.

  • Dave Ulrich

    Dave Ulrich

    August 12th, 2011 at 11:07 PM

    @Andy K: One county tried to pass a law that banned politicians from saying they were Republican or Democrat. Free speech be damned! I would gladly sign my name to backing such a law. Stand on your principles first and your affiliation second.

    Or better yet, if a Democrat or Republican messes up royally then the entire party gets punished for it in some manner. That would force them to be more selective in who they put forward as their party representative.

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