By Alex Fitzsimmons
Diane Swonk is sick and tired and she doesn’t want to take it anymore.
“Right now I’m a little disgusted with what’s going on in Washington,” said Swonk, speaking at the opening general session of the National Conference of State Legislatures’ 2012 Legislative Summit in Chicago on Monday. “I’m done with the abuse that Washington has done to us.”
Predicting dire consequences if the country goes off the so-called fiscal cliff at the end of the year, Mesirow Financial’s chief economist admonished Washington politicians for failing to take action.
“There is a cost of Washington’s impotence,” lamented Swonk, who said fiscal uncertainty is already hurting the U.S. economy. “I don’t care if you’re red or blue. We’re black and blue now.”
Swonk praised state lawmakers for making the tough fiscal choices Washington has avoided. She also called on the assembled state legislators and staff to put the screws to the federal government: “Let them know what you’ve done. Change the course of history.”
Proposing a combination of spending cuts and tax increases, Swonk said a bipartisan compromise on deficit reduction would help produce “a future to grow upon, rather than a future to shrink from.”
Shifting between economic doom and boom, Swonk was ultimately bullish on America’s future. “We can always count on Americans to do the right thing, once they’ve done everything else,” she said, quoting Winston Churchill.