There’s something mindless about preparing for Thanksgiving: getting out the good china and other holiday accoutrements, preparing the vegetables, concocting the cranberry sauce, cleaning and stuffing the turkey. It’s satisfying to know what the goal is, take the steps necessary to achieve it, and have the power to effect the outcome. It’s hard work, but the end is almost always worth it. (Maybe that’s why 93 percent of Americans surveyed by the Washington Post like the Thanksgiving holiday.)
To be sure, there’s the occasional politically contentious guest to curdle the gravy, but you can always take solace that your dinner table arguments are so nasty because the stakes are so low.
That can’t be said for the turkeys in Washington who actually do have the power to make a difference, but failed miserably in taking responsible steps to get the economy moving and set in motion a plan to curb the deficit. How can they have failed to understand how angry the vast majority of the American people are? Failed to recognize that the cynicism they are feeding could weaken this country both domestically and internationally.
The Supercommittee was not only a Superfailure but a Superfraud. Perhaps it was never going to work but was just a way of kicking the can down the road (as they like to do inside the Beltway) and get the debt ceiling lifted. Perhaps Washington officialdom assumes that sequestration will never be allowed to kick in but will simply represent another artificial deadline which our leaders will miss. The game plan is all too reminiscent of that Dr. Seuss line, “Could this go on all day and night? It could, you know, and it just might.”
Democrats and Republicans both been talking taxes pro and con, not serious deficit reduction. As the Washington Post’s Ezra Klein wrote, this impasse is all about the Bush tax cuts.
In the recent kabuki theater, the Democrats moved their plans a little to the right, and then the Republicans moved the markers further to the right. The Supercommittee’s failure to act could ironically go further and faster toward serious deficit reduction than either party has proposed. Unless the Republicans pull off an electoral perfect storm of overwhelming victories in House, Senate and Presidency, there’s a serious showdown coming.
But today is a day off from ruminating about all the unintended consequences, and frankly I like it that way.
Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.