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SPOTLIGHT
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Damage control

Published on -10/25/2013, 9:39 AM

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At least two of the six members of Kansas' delegation in Washington are a little rational. Sen. Jerry Moran and Rep. Lynn Jenkins of Topeka voted in favor of the legislation last week that reopened the government and raised the debt ceiling to cover spending into early next year.

Unfortunately, Sen. Pat Roberts and Reps. Tim Huelskamp of Hutchinson, Mike Pompeo of Wichita and Kevin Yoder of Overland Park voted to stay on the path toward government default on its debt.

All are Republicans, but in the end a bipartisan coalition approved the measure with the commitment to strike a deal on spending cuts before the next deadline.

What's a shame is that so many extremists don't get economics, or they apply economic theories only when it suits their purposes. Of course, the U.S. government needs to rein in spending and stop the escalation of its debt. But the best way to do that is by growing the economy, and shutting down the government and making the U.S. -- and overseas -- markets panic about the stability of the country is not the way to keep an economic recovery rolling.

So the same politicians who talk about growing jobs, and criticize the recovery, dealt that recovery another big blow with a 16-day government shutdown and another economic crisis that didn't need to happen. Congress did far more damage to the U.S. economy over those 16 days than "Obamacare" -- the issue over which the whole standoff started -- ever could.

Americans need to keep the deficit and debt in perspective, something which is hard to maintain with all the rhetoric coming from the extremes. The U.S. debt, for one, is still well within the comfort zone for the size of this economy. And the deficit can be wiped away in a hurry if this economy could grow with the vigor it did in the late 1990s, which got the government in a surplus situation the last time it was able to do so.

Moran isn't up for re-election next year like Roberts is, so for the time being he isn't living in constant fear of a right-wing engineering of his demise. Roberts has to toe the line. Nonetheless, both Moran's and Jenkins' votes for sanity showed Kansas isn't devoid of rational members of Congress.

The others need to be asked by Kansas citizens just how far they would go to advance their ideological agendas - or preserve their jobs. To what extent would they go to stop better health care for their constituents?

More than one end comes of these means. And that makes these guys whom we elected to represent us in Washington downright dangerous.

Editorial by the Hutchinson News

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