On the one hand you have the Republicans who are the party much more responsible for our unwieldy debt, refusing to raise the debt ceiling unless all of their suddenly austere measures are met without any inkling of desire to compromise on any issue. They are the major cause of the problem, are completely hypocritical about government debt and size now that they believe it is politically advantageous, and are unwilling to negotiate like responsible adults to avoid the catastrophe they precipitated. They are more interested, it seems, in pleasing their corporate overlords than doing what is right for the American people. Here is one graph, among many many many, that illustrates the level to which Republicans are at fault for the debt:
|From the New York Times|
On the other hand you have the Democrats who seem to only care about reelection, not solving problems, caving on almost every issue because they think the more they move to the right the more electable they will become. Every time they make a move towards a compromise, without anything offered in return, the Republicans pull the chair out from under them and move it a little further to the right. The Democrats get up, brush themselves off, offer fresh cuts to Social Security or offer trillions in cuts without any increases in revenue (e.g. raising taxes on the wealthy), without any compromises from Republicans in return, and go to sit back down again only to come crashing to the ground as the chair is pulled out from under them yet again. Too stupid to learn, I guess.
Meanwhile, the public is overwhelmingly in favor of raising taxes on the rich; closing huge tax loopholes for corporations; keeping Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid intact; and raising the debt ceiling to avoid another economic downturn. Somehow the Democrats have turned all that into a losing hand and seem destined to weaken the liberal legacy in return for some non-existent political victory.
I am all for big cuts in spending in order to get the debt under control. I'm all for cutting out some of the enormous amount of fat in government. But it has to be done responsibly, and that means raising taxes on the rich and corporations and not gutting the social safety net for millions of poor and elderly Americans. It mostly means doing everything we can to make the economy strong again, which hinges mostly on creating local and sustainable jobs for average Americans and not showering the wealthy and corporations with more tax breaks and kickbacks.
No one wins no matter what happens in the next few days. What a miserable time to be a political partisan.