Such generosity from DC

From the sound of President Barack Obama’s news conference Wednesday, it would seem that he, and Congress, has given the country another wonderful Christmas present.

Celebrating what he termed “the most productive” two years and post-election congressional session in generations, the president’s message was that politicians have not just stood around “dithering,” the way others have — they can be proud of the fact that more major legislation has been passed within the past several weeks than is sometimes passed in several years, or more.

But forgive me if I seem ungrateful. I like my Christmas presents small and meaningful. I would rather receive a beautifully hand-decorated gift from a child, or thoughtfully chosen book or sweater, than lots of gifts.

Perhaps you know what I mean. Some people just seem to want to give lots of gifts no matter whether they are of value to the people receiving them. For them, the sight of the Christmas tree stuffed with presents is what it is all about.

Not me. I will take quality over quantity every time. For example, I would rather not have received the new health care law that most people now want repealed. No offense, Mr. President and Congress, but I usually make sure the gifts I give are what my family and friends really want.

If you had really checked our list, maybe twice, you would have found that a new health care law that will drive up the costs of health care as it drives down access to it was not on the list.

Also, about the gift of the new START treaty, I would have preferred that my senators not take risks with my country’s ability to defend itself by ratifying a treaty that the president really wanted as his Christmas gift from them.

It could be just me, but I did not feel very confident when Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania said it does not matter how the Russians interpret our new START treaty with them, it only matters how we interpret it. I will take the gift receipt on the START treaty, Mr. President, because I would like to return that one.

And personally, I really just wanted President George W. Bush’s tax rate extensions and nothing else. I wear my tax rate extensions very simply, with no extra glittery add-ons, like continued welfare so the unemployed do not have to look for a job just yet, and continuation of some of those neat gems you tucked into the first stimulus bill we ever shared together.

This year, I was kind of hoping for simplicity because, well, we are still in difficult economic times and I did not want to spend a lot of extra money.

And you really outdid yourself, Mr. President, with other new legislation — well, it is not really legislation, it is that “little something extra” called “Net neutrality” you gave us so the federal government can begin to have control over the Internet. But maybe you mixed up our lists — I think this was another item on yours.

And, Congress, how clever of you to pass the Food Modernization Act, which will ultimately give the federal government more control over which seeds our farmers plant and which foods we grow.

All this tucked into a package wrapped to look like you care about our food safety. Really, you should not have.
Yes, Mr. President and Congress, you have given us so much we did not need.

Hey, I have an idea: How about next Christmas, you all just let us keep our money so we can buy what we really want?

Susan T. Berry, Ph.D., is a practicing psychologist in Glastonbury, Conn.

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