Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Just saying no

A small group of Republican freshman representatives in the U.S. House are claiming a win this week in the compromise to raise the national debt ceiling.

They dominated the media and Congress for weeks, damaged America's unimpeachable financial dominance in the eyes of the world and held fast in just saying no.

Few people seem to know exactly what is in the final agreement. There is something about a debt reduction commission of Republicans and Democrats. There is something about a failure to agree that will trigger automatic budget cuts.

Ordinarily, the U.S. House is supposed to draft a budget that will also pass muster with the U.S. Senate, but never mind.

There is also something about a balanced budget amendment, a favorite of conservatives. Congress can't amend the Constitution on its own, the Senate is unlikely to approve such a proposal and there is no indication that voters would ratify it, but never mind.

Social Security and Medicaid spending, the $1.3 trillion Bush tax cuts and further increases in the debt ceiling seem to be off the table until after the 2012 elections, but never mind.

Underlying financial markets are roiled and the stock market has been affected. The spending cuts included will apparently fall directly on the military's budget, possibly hurting the thousands of soldiers dealing with the lifetime effects of traumatic brain injury, but never mind.

This was a dustup created entirely out of the misguided goal of a few to achieve the impossible—elimination of a $17 trillion dollar debt with one payment.

Just saying no turns out to be a pathetic way to run a government.

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