Sunday, January 20, 2013

Feeble Can Kicking

Everyone is frantically running victory laps because Congress and the White House kicked the can a whole three months down the road. Actually, as an exercise in can kicking it was a pretty feeble effort, equivalent to a real world can kick that whiffed and only went about two feet, embarrassing the tennis-shoed pre-teen can kicker and resulting in all of his friends laughing their asses off at him.

Democrats are high-fiving each other because Obama held firm and there was, in the end, no negotiating; he got a “clean extension” of the debt ceiling. If three months is what we have come to call an “extension” then this country is setting new records for learning to think small. The next “extension” will probably be measured in days, and the cheering will last longer than the extension.

Republicans are deliriously happy because Obama had demanded unfettered presidential authority on the debt ceiling and didn’t get it. Perhaps they’re just delirious. Some of them are a little closer to reality in claiming victory by demanding that the Democratic Senate pass a budget. If the Senate fails to do that they are going to do what? Go back and unpass the increase in the debt ceiling? Closer to reality, but not there yet.

Supposedly bringing their victory into contact with reality is that if the Senate doesn’t pass a budget then members Congress don’t get paid; an idea which I said was childish and idiotic when California did the same thing two years ago. The California legislature passed a fantasy budget one day before its pay was stopped; a budget that was transparently idiotic and based on a complete loss of contact with reality. Their paychecks continued arriving and the California Supreme Court promptly threw out the fantasy budget and made them do it over.

We should be laughing our asses off at this feeble effort at avoiding the problem, or better yet both sides should be furiously angry, but oh hell no. We manufacture victory out of thin air and cheer our asses off.

Someone said that Americans are addicted to optimism, but I think that he is giving us far too much credit. I think that American tribalism has become so intense that we are simply unwilling to see anything which is frightening or discouraging from our own side in whatever scope the conflict may be.

1 comment:

bruce said...

A compliant judge threw out the voter passed thing (that stopped pay if a budget wasn't passed) saying that "only the legislature can say if it's a balanced budget". Shit. So we don;t count anymore? Not that we ever really did with the gerrymandered districts, democrat machine controlled primaries and such. Of course, the Rubs shoot themselves in the foot, so it's not exactly too hard.

So far it's going Obama's way, but how long that will last, we'll see.

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