Dysfunctional U.S. Congress Averts Default

The good news: the U.S. Congress and the President, at the last moment, were able to come to an agreement on increasing the U.S. Government’s debt limit and thereby avert a default on the government’s securities.

More good news: military spending is specifically included for possible reduction, rather than leaving all the cuts to discretionary spending for the benefits of our citizens.

The bad news: the Congress demonstrated its functionality in reaching this agreement. The rest of the world has looked in disbelief at the congressional spectacle and has less confidence in our political system and leaders.[1]

More bad news: the agreement calls for cuts in discretionary government spending when our economy is sputtering. Keynesian economics suggests the need for the federal government to run deficits during economic recessions.[2]

More bad news: the agreement means that much attention will continue to be spent on deficit reduction, rather than improving our deteriorated infrastructure and frayed social safety net.

The public is disgusted at the recent spectacle in the Congress and eager to blame all who were involved. Democrats, in my opinion, although not blameless, need to focus attention on the destructive role played by the Tea Party in the House of Representatives and to seek their defeat in the 2012 election.[3]


[1] See Post: Disgusting U.S. Political Scene (July 23, 2011); Post: The Founder of Modern Conservatism’s Perspective on the Current U.S. Political Turmoil (July 28, 2011); Post: Dysfunctional U.S. Congress Careens Towards U.S. Default (July 30, 2011).

[2] Krugman, The President Surrenders, N.Y. Times (July 31, 2011).

[3] Krugman, The Centrist Cop-Out, N.Y. Times (July 28, 2011).

A Message for Speaker Boehner

Time is running out on increasing the U.S. debt ceiling by our Congress. The latest spectacle of the increasingly dysfunctional Congress is the inability of John Boehner, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, to muster a majority vote by his fellow Republicans for his plan to raise the debt ceiling.

As a result, last night I sent the following email message to the Speaker:

  • In your recent speech to the nation, you said that you were Speaker of the House, not of the Republican Party or its Tea Party component.
  • The time has come for you to rise to the occasion, to in fact be the Speaker of the entire House.
  • You need to craft a truly bipartisan bill on the debt ceiling and budget that garners the support of responsible members of the Republican Party and of the Democratic Party. Immediately!
  • I obviously am not in your District, and I am not a Republican. But our country needs to avoid a default on its debt. I think you know that such a default would have catastrophic consequences for the U.S. and global economy and financial markets.
  • Do the right thing.