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Carl Kanowsky: The paralyzing effects of political gridlock

Posted: November 9, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: November 9, 2012 2:00 a.m.

This column covers business and real estate law. And, for the past year, several of my clients in both areas have had to deal with the uncertainty of who would be our commander in chief and how to solve the paralyzing budget deficit.

Paralyzing is a good word to describe both what’s going on here locally and what’s happening in Washington.

Several possible business and real estate Santa Clarita-based deals have been put on hold pending the election results. People have money to invest, but they before spending it they want some comfort that our “leaders” have been identified and are committed to solving our financial woes. Until they got that comfort level, they continued to marshal their assets and not move forward.

In D.C., we’ve all seen how partisan bickering has solved zilch and has actually resulted in the deficit burgeoning even further. I will not cast any blame on one party or another. Actually, I believe they’ve all proven themselves to be somewhat worthless.

Unfortunately, the election didn’t resolve any questions. The stalemate between Obama and Boehner will likely continue despite the happy words spoken in the glow of victory. Personally, I don’t think a Romney triumph would have made much difference, either.

This long-term roadblock to addressing our nation’s issues probably will never be overcome until significant changes occur.

One overdue change is extending the term limits we have in California to all elected officials. For too many politicians, getting and remaining elected has become their career. They are afraid to make difficult choices because they might lose their positions. Then, God forbid, they would be forced back in private life and have to figure out how to make a living like the rest of us.

Writing in Parade Magazine (I know, it’s not exactly the product of a think tank) last Sunday, Mark McKinnon offered some excellent suggestions on how to improve the way our government operates. Here are some of the ones I think deserve more consideration (with some modifications):

1. Legislators’ pay checks stop if they can’t pass a budget on time;

2. Votes on presidential appointments occur within four months or the appointment is deemed approved;

3. Eliminate the filibuster;

4. Make members come to work five days a week in session (you know, like a regular job). Sync House and Senate schedules, with three weeks in D.C., one week at home;

5. Introduce monthly bipartisan gatherings, bipartisan seating and a bipartisan leadership committee.

There’s a reason Congress’ approval rating is 10 percent or less. It’s because nothing is being done. What’s that definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

In the meantime, the business and real estate people here in the SCV aren’t going to continue to wait. Deals will still be done. It’s just that they would be done on a grander scale and more quickly if we didn’t have to worry about Washington fighting its way out of a paper bag.

Carl Kanowsky of Kanowsky & Associates is an attorney in the Santa Clarita Valley. He may be reached by email at or online through his law firm at Kanowsky’s column represents his own views, and not necessarily those of The Signal. Nothing contained herein shall be or is intended to be construed as providing legal advice.


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