Crisis-addled Washington careens toward the next waste of time

Even as lawmakers raced to iron out an 11th hour deal to avert breaching the debt ceiling and reopen the U.S. government, momentarily allaying worries about global economic calamity, there is another unhappy reality to contend with: The next crisis is — as always — only a few months away.

None of the plans being considered resolves the issues at hand for long. A continuing resolution would fund the government through Jan. 15, a mere three months away, and raise the nation’s borrowing authority only until February, at which point another debt ceiling battle would loom. This time, negotiators would also be charged with drawing up a detailed budget plan for the next decade by Dec. 13.

Such appears to be the new normal for governance in the United States — one self-imposed crisis following on the heels of another, with enormous consequences for the American people…

Some analysts say the dysfunctional government is just a symptom of the gaping chasm that exists between the two major parties on questions as large as the appropriate role and scope of government…

The apocalyptic deadlines in quick succession — for raising the debt ceiling, for funding government, for avoiding deep across-the-board cuts — are designed to break the impasse and soften the stances of Democrats and Republicans alike. But that tactic has proved ineffectual…

Others point to the rise of lawmakers within the GOP whose philosophy tends toward no-government rather than limited government — a minority for whom it is not beyond the pale to affix policy demands onto decisions to greenlight typically mundane functions of government. Making matters worse, these lawmakers are outside the control of mainstream party leaders…

Questions resolved – BTW – around the time of the War of 1812. Just to point out the incompetence of the Tea Party Republicans. For the average right-wing grunt doesn’t even know that much about history – much less the economics of governance that decided the same questions back then.

Still others note the systemic factors that are driving the increasing partisanship of lawmakers, from gerrymandering that creates safe congressional districts to the influx of big money in political campaigns that can fell an incumbent for not strictly hewing to the party line…

In addition, political leaders, like House Speaker John Boehner, see themselves as heads of their parties instead of heads of their respective legislative bodies…

…Americans could get so sick of the brinkmanship that they deliver the Senate to the Republicans or the House to the Democrats in the next election, thereby unifying government…A third option…is if voters revolt and reinstitute the center in American politics, despite the fact that all the forces in politics seemingly tend toward extremism and partisanship. Not likely.

Most of the analysts quoted in the article hope for victory from the center. That certainly requires the least backbone – though it doesn’t guarantee real solutions.

Americans are saddled with a world-class supply of sophistry. That the answer lies between opposites. Somehow that’s supposed to mean that something in the center is correct. Reality is often very different. Jump out of an airplane because you believe the power of prayer will rescue you…and I’ll take my chances with a parachute. Gravity is quite one-sided.

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