Ken Connor

"The old days, when getting a good city job meant that you put in your 20 years with the expectation that city government could take care of you for the next 40, is no longer a realistic or viable option," Bing said.

The power of special interests in American politics – at every level – cannot be underestimated, yet we are quickly getting to the point where politicians can literally no longer afford to pay tribute to their patron constituencies. This is yet another signal that America's economic troubles are no joke. They are serious, and they are not going away unless the entire nation, from Congress to Wall Street to Main Street, is willing to make some major changes.

If our elected officials lacked the gumption before now to make the tough decisions, perhaps it is a good thing that we have gotten to the point where economic reality is compelling them to act. In this challenge, they will need the public's support and encouragement. We must send the message, and send it loudly, that we are ready for a change, that we expect a change, and that we will settle for nothing less than representatives who are ready and willing to do the work that needs to be done to bring America back from the brink of disaster.

The days of pandering pols dismissing concerned citizens as Chicken Littles are over. The crisis is real, the crisis is here, and it demands decisive action from both sides of the aisle.

Ken Connor

Ken Connor is Chairman of the Center for a Just Society in Washington, DC.