A bunch of nincompoop government officials get together and tie two completely unrelated bits of governance (paying debts and future spending) together for no good reason but to cause chaos. The head of the government has not one single detailed idea to resolve the standoff between the nincompoops and the more sensible status quo types. Various meetings follow and each day the lead news story is “BLANK walks out on debt talks” where BLANK is filled in by the name of a different legislator with each breaking story. Then comes the great punchline. The gangs that couldn’t shoot straight get together and carve out a piece of legislation that appoints a committee to come up with spending cuts at a future date (it’s called kicking the can down the road) but since we know nothing good ever comes out of committee, they operate under the threat that if they come up with bupkis, all sorts of draconian measures will be automatically implemented. The debt crisis is averted and everyone is happy … scratch that … and no one is happy.
And hilarity ensues!
Wait, you say. This is not an original plot line? Darn, you’re right. This sad excuse for comedy just unfolded before our very eyes over the past few weeks. The one thing I walk away from when I look back at debt ceiling Armageddon is the total lack of adult behavior. Liberals calling conservatives hostage takers and terrorists. Conservatives playing the fool by conflating two things that were never meant to be linked and in the process putting what little economic stability we have left at risk. Oh and then let’s not forget the latest modus operandi of any Washington dispute: there are no facts! Economists say not raising the debt ceiling would result in default on payments and ruin America’s financial reputation (including the loss of AAA credit ratings) and a bunch of folks who create their own set of facts (led by the glorious Tea Party) call the economists not just mistaken but liars. And of course, Obama quoting these economists makes him the chief liar in the bunch.
Folks, if we were not already the laughing-stock of the world, we are now. Not only have we lost the ability to have civil debate but we have become so ideologically polarized that no risk to our country is too great so long as someone can be proven wrong. I cannot point to a single entity involved in this debt ceiling debate who merits admiration or praise, including the Commander-in-Chief. Die hard Obama fans say he played the crisis masterfully. Every true liberal and progressive knows that he caved once again to pressure from the right and as a result the revenue side of the “solution” will not come to pass.
If you want your government running like an episode of “F Troop” then sit back and be happy. It is awfully entertaining. If you want it to be effective then you may have to wait for some major changes. The system is broken. Capitalism is broken. We are in deep trouble. If this debt ceiling debacle that just ended this week is someone’s idea of a joke then all I can think of are the immortal words of the Bee Gees.
I started a joke, which started the whole world crying,
but I didn’t see that the joke was on me.