By Christine Todd Whitman
Politico Arena
August 5, 2011

It is past time for Congress to start acting like leaders. The market is in free fall and the Tea Party doesn’t seem to care or feel that the debt ceiling negotiations we watched play out over the last few months have any bearing on what is happening now. The Democrats bear their share of the blame because of the Treasury’s policy of keeping the dollar artificially low and for pushing the housing policies that led to the original meltdown. Of course, the Treasury doesn’t have to worry about the dollar anymore, it is tanking on its own due to our eleventh hour debt solution, which itself was less than it should have been.

On a separate but equally concerning topic, the drought that is playing out over Texas and the West will drive up the cost of grains and meat. Those increases will be reflected in higher prices at the grocery store that impact us all, not to mention the number of farmers who will see their entire crop lost. When you add that to floods earlier this year, our agricultural sector is in real trouble, and our nation is going to suffer alongside as food prices rise even in this time of recession.

The better-than-expected monthly jobs numbers were somewhat encouraging today, but with 9.1% of our nation still looking for work, we have a long way to go. The market’s turmoil throughout the day reflected that we remain far from certain footing.

We desperately need someone to act like an adult in Washington. Use the Bowles/Simpson debt commission report or the Gang of Six proposal – we don’t need a super-committee or yet another report, we need action. Ultimately, someone needs to look the American people in the eye and tell them everyone is going to have share in the burden, and call upon our better selves to do what is right. To not act now will make things even more painful when we are finally forced to do so.

Congress’s approval rating is now a meager 14%. I can only hope that our representatives in Congress will take that as a wake up call and choose to act.