“When each side starts to care more about reducing our country’s debt than about advancing its own political agenda, we’ll finally make some progress.”
I don’t remember who said it, but it applies equally to both parties in congress. It’s all about fear…of the electorate. Not much about the daily give and take on Capitol Hill manages to percolate down to the proletariat, but we have just seen what happens when somebody threatens one of America’s great socialist programs, Medicare. Since that little stumble has now tarred the Republicans, Dems are delightedly standing back, washing their hands, and letting them hang themselves. For the moment, entitlements have become untouchable.
On the other side, Republicans owe much of their legitimacy to holding the anti-tax line. They doggedly hew to the long-discredited Laffer Curve, which posits that removing the fetters of taxation stimulates greater economic activity, thereby creating more revenue. We’re still waiting for that one to pan out in field trials.
Even though most Americans would be happy with a mix of spending cuts and tax increases (particularly on the wealthy), Republicans are stuck in Park because their primary voters in the base do not agree with most Americans.
It would be a tragedy if, thanks to this debt ceiling dance, the full faith and credit of the United States were undermined just because a few hundred spineless members of congress prefer to put their own immediate employment concerns above the long-term economic health of the nation they purport to serve.
What we need right now is some real statesmanship. Unfortunately, we didn’t elect statesmen, only politicians.
And for that, we have only ourselves to blame.