Nobody’s happy about the recent debt ceiling deal. A few idiots out there are actually blaming Standard & Poor’s. Why? Shooting the messenger, apparently, seems to be a logical reaction in some people’s minds.
However, while we cannot deny that this deal was the result of a manufactured crisis – the debt ceiling is raised even in the best of times because, hey, it’s damned expensive to run a country, especially this one – what’s being missed here is what actually happened.
In reality, the deficit portion of this farce could have been addressed two or three years ago. Unfortunately, the banks seemed to think we needed to compensate them for their collectivity stupidity. Since banks hold and move the money all over the world, the bankers are like the brother-in-law you’re always bailing out of jail. Only if you don’t bail out Citigroup, you go broke. If you don’t bail out your brother-in-law, Thanksgiving is a little quieter this year.
That said, had the banks not sucked the Treasury dry after wrecking the housing market, 2007 or 2008 would have been the perfect time to start tackling the deficit. Last year would have been almost as good. But let’s not kid ourselves. Even if we’ve got piles of money locked up in the Federal Reserve running a surplus, the government has to borrow money to run the country on a day-to-day basis. All businesses do, even when they run in the black. All raising the debt ceiling does is makes sure the bills get paid. The deficit might be affected by it, but it really is a separate issue. And the Tea Party freshmen in Congress need to stop bullshitting us that it isn’t. Ego and ideology need to be stripped completely from this issue.
And the Bengals need to hire a general manager. I fully expect politicians to put their egos aside before that happens, but not in this lifetime.
So what did happen? And why is it a good thing? Wasn’t the deficit deal not enough?
Well, no. Nothing is not enough. Next to nothing is not enough. The cuts made are about half of what the most ardent deficit hawks wanted to see. So why am I saying this is good? Because somebody finally put a pressure bandage on the wound. More importantly, America has done something it hasn’t done in quite a while: Taken the lead on a global problem.
That’s right. We’re not the only ones maxxing out the national credit card. Europe is bailing out Greece. Again. And Portugal. Again. And Italy. Again. Britain’s debt has already been downgraded. France just got downgraded. If you want to know why the stock market is so wonky, look across the Atlantic. Right now, they’re still in bailout mode. They need to start slashing, and soon.
Sure, the government kicked the can down the road again. But not as far as they did it before. And nobody said the solution would make anyone happy.
But really, people, you’re whining too much.
Of course, I said before the debt ceiling issue was resolved, that if America had defaulted, every single representative, senator, and the president and vice president should be collectively turned out as soon as their terms expired, simply because they collectively would have been complicit in such an unacceptable dereliction of duty. And not a single sitting representative or senator should be allowed to win an election after that debacle.
It didn’t happen, but everyone on Capitol Hill and in the White House ought to be afraid of that kind of backlash.