Tuesday, August 2, 2011

So, You Hate The Debt Ceiling Deal

As a public service, Stonekettle Station provides the following Debt Ceiling comment template free of charge. Use this handy guide when composing your outraged debt ceiling deal response on FoxNews, Yahoo Forums, MSNBC, or any other place on the web were extremists gather to rub uglies and salute America:

Goddamn those [circle one: Faithless Bastards / Cowardly Sons of Bitches / Filthy Nazi Traitors]!  The stinking [circle one: Rethuglitards / Dumbocraps / ball sucking teabaggers] caved in and sold America out to [circle one: Wall Street / Terrorists / Satan]! America is [circle one: A Liberal Hellhole/A Conservative Nightmare/Cursed By Jesus]! Personally, I blame [circle one:  B. Hussein Obama / Dick “Deadeye” Cheney / Cats]!


Today, I’m reminded of a myth.

A myth called the United States.

It’s a cheerful myth. Triumphant, and inspiring. 

It’s not true, but hey, that doesn’t mean it’s not persistent and pervasive and widely held, this fiction of America.

You all know this story. You were taught it in school. It looks something like this:

Serious and respectful men, our founding fathers, weighted down by the gravitas of history and the importance of their task. They came together in Philadelphia, in a wing of the Pennsylvania State House, and led by General George Washington they forged the United States of America.  There they wrote the Constitution and the words and the ideals of that document were so profound and enlightened that they flowed inspired from the minds of these great men and onto the paper, perfect and true.  Afterward, their great task complete, the men of the Constitutional Convention shook hands, posed long enough for Chandler Christy to paint that iconic picture, and then went home to the adulations of a new nation’s citizens.


Uh no, actually. Not so much.

That’s the thing with myths.  They’re neat and tidy, shiny and simple.  Myths are made to inspire, to teach, to caution, to remind, to fit into a patriotic picture or into a single paragraph in a grade school history book.  That’s the problem with myths, they’re little more than a hollow mask, a shell, shaped to fit whatever particular agenda suits the current generation.

Reality, of course, pales in comparison. Reality is dirty and harsh and unpleasant and petty and complicated

The Founders and the Framers weren’t great men. I know, gasp! But it’s true, they were not great men, they were just men – no more noble and no less petty and no different than the people of today.

Yes, yes, I know, I’m talking sacrilege here, heresy – that’s what happens when you turn history into myth, into a religion. 

Sacrilege or not, those who framed the Constitution were just men.  Childish upon occasion, like Patrick Henry who stayed away from Philadelphia because he was sure the others were conspiring to create a new monarchy – or climb into bed with the old one.  Rhode Island wanted to go their own way and refused to send any delegates at all.  A number came with their own plans and their own agendas and a fierce determination not to give up the things that they held dear – such as their slaves.  At the Convention, the framers fought and they argued and they quarreled, often to shouting and sometimes to fisticuffs. The Constitution wasn’t perfect on the first draft, or the second, or the third, or even the fourth or fifth.  The Constitution sure as hell wasn’t divinely inspired by God, or any other deity for that matter. No, in the end, the Constitution was a product of men, of hard work and fierce passions and months of acrimonious debate and ultimately of compromise.  Of the fifty-five delegates, eighteen, nearly one third of the caucus, initially refused to sign the finished product (two later did) and thirteen walked out rather than participate in the final ceremony because they considered the constitution a failure.  In the end, they left many things undone, not the least of which was the Bill of Rights.

When they were finished and the document that would become the US Constitution was ready to be sent to the states for ratification, Benjamin Franklin said,

There are several parts of this Constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am not sure I shall never approve them. I doubt too whether any other Convention we can obtain may be able to make a better Constitution.

In other words, they did the best they could.

In the end, they did what they had been sent to do.  They compromised.

And nobody was happy with the finished product.

Nearly two and a half centuries later, democracy is still dirty and loud and acrimonious.  It often comes to shouting and sometimes to fisticuffs.

And it’s still about compromise.

I’ve said it here before and I’ll likely say it again: if you always get everything you want, you’re not living in a democracy. 

The bill signed into law by President Obama this morning is certainly not perfect.  And nobody got everything they wanted. And that’s just plain how it is.

Liberals are unhappy.

Conservatives are unhappy.

And I have to smile, because after all of this, after all of the fiery rhetoric and stubborn obstinacy, we’ve come together in our unhappiness.

However, look around, really, look left, look right and see who you’re standing with.

Reading through the comments under the usual news sites today is enlightening:

This was no deal, democrats, got everything they wanted, and used fear, and lies, to scare the republicans, to give in!

Yeah, the democrats got everything they wanted. And those Republicans, boy, they sure folded up like a cheap card table, didn’t they? That’s why liberals are all so damned happy today. Yup.  Of course, I saw half a hundred comments that said, this was no deal, the republicans got everything they wanted…

The USURPER and THIEF will NOT be happy until taxes go UP for ALL and NOT just for the rich !! Just driving the U.S.A. into the ground

This was posted under a Yahoo article quoting President Obama’s post-signing address where he emphasized that the next step was to lower taxes on the middle class.  Of course, usurpers aren’t to be trusted. Birtherism, it just never goes out of style, does it?


Captain Question Mark to the rescue, and his sidekick, All CAPS Boy!

Wake up sheeple! RON PAUL is our only hope!

I’m picturing the commenter holding two cinnamon buns to the side of her head and chanting, Help me, Obi Ron, you’re our only hope!

Keep falling Dow yay down show how idiot Capitol Hill!!!

I have no idea what the hell this guy was on about, but I admire his enthusiasm.

Next up is bouncing your half-African a s s out of the White House


I guess Obama will be taking Zira and the girls on a vacation now that the debt problem is solved.

Nothing like a little racism to spice up the debate. Extra points for the Planet of the Apes ref. Well played.

This "Debt Deal" is no more than extension of the stimulus! Obama wants to spend more and tax more!

Right, because, you know, it’s not Congress who writes the budget. Excellent grasp of the issues, by the way, this guy should run for office, maybe Michelle Bachman needs a speech writer.

Obama say "Debt deal is only the beginning."  Beginning of WHAT?

What indeed? FEMA death camps? New World Order? “Healthy” Happy Meals? What’s going on?

Ahhh, the left wing nuts are about to get there socialist/communist empire. Only thing left on Obama's agenda is repeal of the 22nd Amendment so he can rule over his Soviet Styled Empire!!!

I’m hoping that after Obama waves his magic wand and repeals the Constitution and the Commies take over, the new totalitarian regime will  enforce strict use of the proper forms of there, they’re, and their (also, “a lot”).   The Gulag, I think, is not too much for violation of the grammar laws.

Now he [Obama] wants to punish those who have made smart moves and become wealthy.

LIke Charlie Seen and Paris Hilton. Or say John Thane, you know, the guy who was CEO of Merrill Lynch and managed to ass-rape about half of America before he went out the door with a twenty million dollar golden parachute.  Yeah, he’s probably suffered enough.

The anti-christ speaks.......

Question, how come the Anti-Christ gets to be president and Jesus only shows up on moldy cheese sandwiches? You ever wonder about that?

Quite simple to fix this problem now and into the future. Let people who have no job(s), no savings, are destitute, no hope for the future, are sick and a drag on the medical system, unable to adapt, all of them and types like them DIE!

We’ll call that plan B.

Run, Sara, Run!

In my head, I hear this in the Jenny voice from Forrest Gump.  Followed by “I am not a smart man…”


Impeach the dictators? Why didn’t I think of that! I didn’t even know you could impeach a dictator. Why in the hell are they fighting in Libya and Syria, why don’t they just impeach the dictator?

Why have a commilson just ask republicans what they want make it law right obama or do you need tell it gona happen then make it law

I have no idea what the hell this guy is on about, but I admire his enthusiasm.

Where's Robin Hood when you need him? Our politicians have reality #$%$backwards! When are they going to figure out that feudalism doesn't work? It didn't work in feudal Europe and it doesn't work in corporate America, which is just an extension of feudalism...

Robin Hood? Like rob from the rich and give to the poor Robin Hood? Like redistribute the wealth Robin Hood?  So it’s sort of like Reaganomics then, only instead of waiting for wealth to tickle down, the poor hide in the ditch alongside the Interstate and wait for rich people to drive by? Interesting.

There’s more. Much, much more. The comments under the various Yahoo news articles number in the tens of thousands, all just like the ones above. 

As I said, look around and see who you’re standing with, I sure as hell hope it’s not these chuckleheads. If you want a better democracy, you need to start with better citizens – and these people aren’t it.

Sure, none of us are happy with this deal.

Liberals are pissed at Obama for caving on the tax reform issue and for allowing some changes to entitlement programs.

Conservatives are pissed that the cuts weren’t deeper.

The Tea Party is pissed because their silly balanced budget amendment nonsense got dumped. 

Everybody is afraid of what comes next.

Still, and here’s the thing, we didn’t default on our debts. Whatever comes next, we didn’t default on our debts. Try to remember that, because that was the important part.

This deal pushes the debt ceiling question out past the 2012 election, which means we don’t have this idiotic horse puckey as a distraction for the next year. Really, be grateful for small favors.

The super committee, folks there are a hell of a lot worse things that could have happened.  I’m not big on the idea either, but in a highly partisan environment going into an election year, the super committee was most likely the best option. Really.  This is how we finally bypassed the squabbling bullshit in congress and started getting rid of superfluous military bases after the Cold War – and that benefitted every single taxpayer in the US.  If we’d gone through the normal process instead of the BRAC Commission, congress would still be arguing over it.  People keep bitching about congressional gridlock. People keep talking about real debt reduction.  There is no way you’re going to get five hundred and thirty three politicians, especially in an election year, to agree to anything more than they already have. You’ve got a group of extremists, and yes I’m talking about these Tea Party terrorists and Michelle Bachman can kiss my big white hairy ass, that have demonstrated a willingness to crash the government. You just saw it happen. There are damned few ways around these suicide bombers.   The super committee is the only really workable solution in the current environment.

The extremists on both side are damned near apoplectic with rage. Some of them might have fatal strokes as a result.  But for the rest, well, you know who they are now. You know who the uncompromising bastards are now. If nothing else, this battle has smoked them out into the open.  Now, it’s up to you, vote them the hell out of office.

At the end of the day, the deal got done.

It’s not perfect. Just as the original Constitution wasn’t perfect.

There is still work to be done, just as there was back then. There’s always work to be done.

To paraphrase old Ben: There are several parts of this bill which I do not at present approve, but with some work and level headed compromise someday I might. I doubt that any other caucus could have made a better deal, for all of us.

Politics is the art of the possible and democracy is about compromise.

Ben Franklin had it right. Democracy is hard and dirty and sometimes it’s just plain downright ugly.

But it’s the best system we’ve got.

Unless you’d prefer to believe in myths.


  1. What is the equivalence fallacy?

  2. I'll bet you're a lot of fun at parties, Anonymous.

  3. You are a damn good writer dude...

  4. I know.

    I'm humble too. Everybody says so.

  5. And when are you running, Mr. Wright? :)

  6. Thank you for making me laugh about the last week.
    Not to sound stupid or anything, but you rock!!! (Maybe I should have put that in ALL CAPS.)

  7. If you can't laugh at these tools, then what in the hell are they for?

  8. Damn, you are a good writer, dude....(tracy said it first, so i paraphrased)

    sharing this to facebook where my progressive friends can read and cheer, and my conservative friends can read and say, "Huh?"

  9. Simply, Jim Wright, President Obama averted a catastrophe, entirely engineered by Radical Republican terrorists and their uber-wealthy enablers.

    Not only did he, and the Congressional Democratic leadership, avert that catastrophe, they have the Radical Republican terrorists in stark, clear view.

    Now they call in the hit.

    Yes.We.Can. ... DO.More.Together!

  10. I don't necessarily disagree, but it's important to remember that an engineered crisis is no less a crisis for being engineered.

    See the previous post, The Inexorable White Whale.

  11. Sir,

    One heck of a job. I had this thought (since McConkle has already said that his team won't allow new revenue).

    What if, instead of each of the 4 leaders (2 from each party in each house) picking 3 members of their own party, they pick one of their own and two from the other party?
    The GOP would obviously pick people like Ben Nelson, and the Dems might pick someone like Scott Brown. We might actually have a group of people who could hammer out a reasonable compromise.

    The tools you mentioned are not only on Yahoo. Many of them are in Congress. For example, "We're taking away Obama's Blank Check." Um, he's spending the money you told him to spend you nincompoop.

  12. For the most part, I tend to agree with most everything you post. This is not one of those times. I agree that a compromise was important (and this was a compromise of a sort) and it did avert defaulting. That is pretty much where I stop agreeing.

    You may well be right about a Super Committee being the only answer given the people in Congress at this time but it certainly wasn't the only answer. The best answer would have been for our elected officials to have done their damn jobs in the first place instead of costing the American people over a Trillion dollars by creating a crisis where none really existed. Moreover, even though they created the crisis, they should have stepped up the plate and solved the crisis instead of kicking the can down the road so to speak.

    I also have to disagree with your statement about the idiocy being over till after the elections. This "compromise" was nothing more than a rewrite of McConnell's original proposal - meaning two seperate votes. We will be right back where we were come November or December. Yes, if this supercommittee doesn't come to some kind of concensis before the deadline, "automatic" cuts happen, but that will not change the heated politicing that will occur as that deadline comes up again. Worse, the American Economy - already in a deep amount of trouble, will once again be subjected to the whims and whimsies of a bunch of people that care more about being re-elected than they do about doing their damn jobs. This situation is certainly not over and I disagree that anything - beyond a temporary increase of the debt ceiling - has been accomplished. This was not a compromise in the truest sense, this was Kabuki theatre wit large to postpone a situation rather than deal with it for the sake of politics.

    Where your analogy with the founding fathers fails is that those men were actually trying to accomplish something beyond getting re-elected. Yes, they were passionate, human and flawed, but they were also driven to form a country out of a rebellion so they could get back to the business of living. This is not the case today. The idea of citizen legislators is dead - as concretely proven over the last four months.

    All that said, the last part of your post was the most important part - if we are smart enough to learn from it. It is up to us - the voters of America to change the Kabuki theatre, not the media, not the President, not grandma down the street. We need to be willing to actually work to change the system most of us think is broken and it begins with our vote.

  13. OMG...spot on. I swear, if you weren't married and I was 20 years younger... :)

  14. Jim, I'd like to agree with you. And I do agree that it's important that we averted a default, and that this is the silver lining.

    But that's the only good thing about this scenario.

    The biggest problem isn't that the compromise created a bipartisan commission that is very likely to deadlock. Nor is it the fact that whether the commission deadlocks or not, the only result is that we have further cuts to the budget with no increases in revenue. The fact that the Congress has served the American people a shit sandwich and the Democrats are trying to grin through a feces-stained piehole and claim that it's the yummiest shit sandwich they've ever tasted isn't even close to the biggest problem.

    And if any of those things were the biggest problem, it would be pretty appalling, actually. It would be bad enough.

    But the biggest problem, really, is the implication from this whole process we've been through that the American experiment in representative democracy has either failed or is failing. Yes, there was a deal a minute before the clock tolled, and thank our stars for it. But it never should have gotten to that point, and the reason it got to that point was that a number of Americans who clearly don't understand history nor economics elected a group of ignoramuses and terrorists into office who were able to hold our entire economy hostage because of the largely-ineffectual "leadership" of the supposedly responsible adults from both parties. In essence, we had a national amateur-hour recreation of the scene in Blazing Saddles in which Cleavon Little holds a gun to his own head--except it wasn't farce this time, it was tragedy.

    It was, indeed, exactly the kind of tragedy our powers-separated government was designed by those deeply-flawed ex-colonists to attempt to avoid.

    And where do we point the blame? The Congressional teabaggers who held the gun? The communities who elected them to office? The media and educational systems that failed to inform those voters so they could choose more wisely when they went into the booth? The rich men who run the conservative media and the ineffectual men who run the liberal media and the politicized school boards that are obsessed with religious quackery and indoctrinating children in pseudohistory? All of them, or it's just something that somehow happened by accident by way of inertia and entropy? (And if the latter--who was apathetic enough not to put more energy into the system? It was us, wasn't it, all of us?)

    In short, a systematic failure. And that's discouraging and depressing.

    And this is discouraging and depressing: that the last times we've seen systematic reforms, it was by way of burning buildings and blood in the streets. It was fear of a burgeoning anarchist movement in the '20s and labor riots in the '30s, it was burning tenements in the '60s--and then politicians became frightened or discouraged enough to push reforms, some because they saw the injustice that drove people to start fires and some because they were just scared that it was going to be their neighborhoods a few blocks up the street. And this isn't anything anybody should want, either: democracy is supposed to allow for bloodless revolutions at the ballot box, it isn't supposed to drive people in the streets where there will be death and suffering.

    I am depressed.

  15. This reminds me of another time when I read something that made me feel a little better. Not much, but a little.

    "I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it."
    — Mark Twain

    Cold comforts are better than none.

  16. Thank you, Jim, for putting things in perspective for me. I feel much better about the insanity now.

  17. We can blame it on the tea party if we'd like, but they are only a minor part of the issue. They make up a small percentage of Congress.
    If the House Leadership honestly negotiated to come up with a balanced approach, the Dems would help pass it, and the teabaggers would be relegated to their appropriate place in history.
    It would really need to be balanced because it would still need GOP support in the Senate and that's difficult because the Minority Leader has stated that his #1 job is to F things up.
    It could have been done. It should have been done. Too many politicians afraid of not getting re-elected.

  18. For gawd's sake, re: Congressional gridlock, when is it NOT an election year?

    It's been "campaign mode" for the GOP ever since November 2008.

    They're the height of hypocrisy, complaining about President Obama beginning his 2012 re-election campaign now, when their own potential candidates started months ago.

  19. Gulag for violation of grammar laws, (there, they're, their, apostrophe catastropes, myself instead of me and many more) Yes!

  20. Of course they're in reelection mode, and as KaJo said when are they not?

    And of course the Tea Party and other extremists in congress are holding us hostage.

    And of course, the rest of Congress should have stood up to them and said, we don't deal with terrorists. But, of course, we do deal with terrorists. We do it all of the time.

    And of course, the voters should pull their head out of their collective uneducated partisan asses and vote like they've got a brain instead of like The Party is holding their balls.

    Of course, of course, and of course.

    But it just isn't so. And it's not going to be so. You can deal in myth and you can wish in one hand and shit in the other and see which one fills up first. This is the reality in which a sane President must operate. The last one operated in a fantasy land – like it or not, at least this one bows to reality. Being an honorable and decent leader often isn’t about making great choices, far too often it’s about making the least worst choices out of a number of shitty options and knowing your followers will hate you for it.

    The people who can change it are American citizens, but most of them are too busy gleefully hating each other and listening to people who tell them to hate each other. As Eric said, sooner or later, something is going to burn. People are going to die. Then we'll all be chagrined and embarrassed. And we'll promise to do better. And we will, for a while. We’ll make the changes. We’ll work together. For a while. Until we forget.

    And so it goes.

  21. I don't remember the last time I shouted and cussed so much as the past several weeks trying to listen to the Republithugs high-jacking MY country! I just could not understand what the billy blue blazes they were on about!

    Your comments have kept me relatively sane during this patch of idiocy. Thank you, thank you.

    I sometimes don't completely agree with everything you post, but I don't agree with anyone all the time, either!!

    Until I was about 25, I was a sometime Republican, but not after that--I started paying attention to what politicians were actually saying and then what they actually did. I started listening to what they said, and then what they actually did. I am now 75 and pretty thoroughly disillusioned with most politicians, preachers, and nutbars mouthing off! But I think this current crop is almost, if not the worst, I've heard.

    I really wish you would run for at least the House or Senate, if not President. I could really get behind that!


  22. I sometimes think the government has learned a thing or two from the oil company, that is to say mis-direction and confusion.

    Whenever an oil company needs a pay raise, they can't just raise the price of gas, they have to invent a crisis first. Whether the crisis is real or immagined, the other oil companies fall in line and everyone raises their prices in a well practiced dance that they all know by heart.

    After a suitable amount of pain has been inflicted on the public, the price of gas begins to fall, but not back to pre crisis levels. The public is so grateful for the relief they never question the validity of the origonal crisis.

    I'm thinking our government has read the book and found sound advice. When you want to do something (or not do something) create a crisis, create a soultion, claim victory and quietly kick the original problem down the road.

    At ANY point in the last few weeks I would have bet anything that Congress would cry, scream, point fingers and gnash teeth until the very last moment, then pass a half-a$$ something and declare victory for the people. I think I was right.

    It's a well rehearsed dance, they all know the rules and the outcome was determined weeks ago.

  23. Hey Jim.

    Your recent commentaries have got me to thinking about this whole debt thingamabobber and it seems to me that (as has been pointed out ad nauseum) it ain't going away. With that in mind I propose a simple solution that no one seems to have been floating lately.

    Considering the fantastic success of past policy initiatives what ya'll need up and down there is a good old *WAR ON DEBT*!

    Yup...you heard me right. Seeing as how successfully sainted Richard Milhouse Nixon's 'War on Drugs' has proved to be and the undeniable rousing win that came out of the Dubyah's 'War on Terror' it's time to send in the Marines...and the air force and...well...anyone else we can think of to take down 'Debt' (the bastard).

    Bank enticing some dirt poor sonnofabeeyotch into buying a home they can't afford with every intention of foreclosing and then scampering away from the Toxic debt? Send in the 101st's Screaming eagles to kick their ever loving asses!

    Some scuzzy 'defence contractor' charging 200 hundred clams for a 'Impact Fastener device'? He gets a late night visit from someone in wetworks.

    Congressman Von FassSchweinefleisch is intent on cramming that 'Baby waxing factory' clause targeted for his constituency into impending legislation? In goes a Green Beret strike force to take him down.

    It's so clear to me. Simple solutions to complicated problems have always yielded the best results. Just read some history. All you need is some brave soul, an UberMensch if you will, that Joe six pack is desperate to admire who with a wave of his hand can *Make It So*!

  24. "how come the Anti-Christ gets to be president and Jesus only shows up on moldy cheese sandwiches"

    We'll only find the answer to that one at the crossroads.

    Well said, all of it. I must be twice your age, but when I was half mine I never would have guessed I'd end up in a country where seems like a full third of the population needs reminding that their 'Founding Fathers were mortal men.

  25. I'm still trying to figure out the rational that cuting spending AND revenue pays off the national debt, or balances the budget, and still provides all the services that we have become accustomed to... Like Texas not needing the Fed Gov .. except when there is a disaster and they need Fed relief $... to be self sufficent - ya gotta sock $ away for those type of events. Hell, I'm still trying to figure out when the Republicans are going to start on their campagn theme - Jobs is #1, or why the American people voted back in the guys who ran up the debt to start with... and belived they had the wherewithal to fix the problem they created ! and now we have a new tactic never before done with the debt limit... hold the nation hostage to get what the minority wants !! ( I thought the Senate was gonna change the rules to minimize the filibuster what the hell happened there?) ok, ok.. rant over... Compromise IS when no one is satisfied... I's still like to see the nation vote some ADULTS to Congress this time around... If wishes were horses, beggers would ride...

  26. I always come here for a little shot of rationality. Thanks. Will be recommending you.

  27. I've always said that you can tell a lot more about how screwed up an organization is by what they're proud of than by what they're ashamed of.

    The silver lining is that congress agreed to borrow the funds for spending that they already passed? Seriously? This is like a hubby who goes out and bangs prostitutes every night being proud of the fact that he always wears a condom and hasn't given his wife a disease.

    Once the spending was approved, raising the debt limit was the bare minimum to be expected from this organization. Don't act like basic arithmetic and an ultimate acquiescence to the fact that crashing the economy wouldn't be such a great idea is some kind of actual win. Jesus Christ.

    The US has a terrible debt problem and has a media that promotes another myth: the fiscal conservative Republicans vs. the tax & spend Democrats. And you've also got a shockingly unaware citizenry who eats it up decade after decade despite an overwhelming weight of evidence to the contrary.

    The debt problem has to be addressed at its root - by raising revenues and cutting wasteful non-stimulative spending. Good luck ever making that happen.

  28. I pledge allegiance to the myth
    of the United States of America
    and to the republic I imagine it stands for--
    one nation, indivisible, under Jesus our Lord,
    with liberty and justice for all who agree with me.



    [A FENIAN GURU MAGGOT] organization with 651 Facebook followers is a branch of the same organization that Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik subscribed to.






  30. I have no idea what the hell you're saying, Ralph, but I admire your enthusiasm.

    Now, do me a favor and step away from the caps lock key. Just step away.

  31. "The extremists on both side are damned near apoplectic with rage."

    Please name one nationally known "left wing extremist" and exactly what makes them "extreme".

    NAFTA was a great compromise that helped our country... not.

    Reagan and Tip O'Neil re writing social security and capping it above $110k was a great compromise that is currently screwing us all out of what weve paid into the systgem (more payroll cuts anyone)

    Look up "Missouri Compromise".

    But curse both houses if it makes you look like a reasonable German.

  32. So, according to your logic, Anonymous:
    - Any compromise is bad.
    - Pick a side.
    - Shoot the hostages.
    - Name a scapegoat.

    As I said in the post, look left, look right, and see who you're standing with. That should answer your question about where to find the extremists.

  33. I don't necessarily disagree, but it's important to remember that an engineered crisis is no less a crisis for being engineered.

    It's no less a crisis, but this fact impacts how best to resolve -*truly* resolve- it.

    When engineering a crisis pays dividends to the engineers, it virtually guarantees that the crisis will repeat itself.

    Any parent could invoke an analogous example: if you have a child who wants something -candy, a toy, whatever- and who throws a temper tantrum in public to get it, you have a "crisis" of sorts. But giving in simply rewards the coercive tactic, and teaches the kid that they can get what they want by throwing a big enough fit.

    In Congress we already see the same thing happening over FAA authorization. Having gotten what they want, or even some of what they want, attached to an unrelated debt ceiling bill they threatened to sabotage, the next target is airline unions, and the next "crisis" is FAA reauthorization, which is a virtual no-brainer for anyone who things airway security is a thing that matters.

  34. I agree.


    The difference being that you can't vote a rotten kid off the island. Additionally, a rotten kid is a failure of parenting or genes or environment or disease or whatever. A rotten US congress is a direct result of bad citizenship.

    As I said in this post and a number of previous ones, if you want a better republic, you have to start with better citizens. The folks in Congress see the other party as the enemy precisely because they were elected by Americans who see their neighbors as the enemy. You get shitty compromises because that's the only alternative to complete deadlock or armed genocide when you elect extremists who think that the county is only large enough for their view and nothing else. This is a direct result of the "You're either with us, or against us" mindset.

    If you don't want to be held hostage by a bunch of spoiled rotten selfish brats, then vote the fuckers out while you still can. Don't let the extremists go unchallenged, ever, on the right or on the left. If you want better government then encourage your fellows to be better citizens.

  35. Bravo, Jim, bravo.

    Of all the articles I've read about the deal, this one is the best. It's also a fantastic history lesson too.

    Again, a fantastic piece.

  36. Nick from the O.C.August 4, 2011 at 8:39 PM

    Re: the Super Committee.

    I wonder if you remember what Lazarous Long said about committees?

  37. I wonder if you remember what Lazarous Long said about committees?

    It's funny you should mention that. Today's post, which will be up in the next hour, mentions Heinlein quite specifically.

  38. This is a burning-the-books-to-heat-the-library sort of solution. Congress has the shell of the thing but the value of it is greatly diminished from whence before they started.

    So that argument in the officer's mess is settled; who's steering the ship? Anyone?

    What's that grinding sound......

  39. I honestly don't mean to harp on a typo. I really, really, honestly love the idea of "tickle down" economics. Suddenly Reagan sounds more fun!

    Oh wait. No, the idea of the Gipper tickling me - or anybody - has just given me the creeping horrors. What have I done?

    Good work as always. Keep it up.

  40. I appreciate people pointing out the typos, and I typically fix them right away - but, you know, Ben, I think "Tickle down" is even more disturbing than the idea behind "Trickle down" economics (seriously, trickle down? is it just me or does it seem like Reagan's been pissing on us for the last twenty years?). I think I'll leave that one ;)


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