How Can Anyone Take This Seriously?

The U.S. is running deficits somewhere between one and one and a half trillion dollars, and in Washington the Republicans and Democrats are still squabbling over petty change. The Republicans are pushing $40 billion in “cuts” as a compromise to prevent a “government shutdown.” It is hard to keep track of the exact partisan positions, but this is a few tens of billions more in “cuts” than the Democrats want. (I put “cuts” in quotes because an actual cut would be a reduction in overall spending, whereas these appear to just be “cuts” in the Washington sense—that is, a reduction from the amount they would prefer to spend, which is always more every year.)

In any event, tens of billions of dollars would not seem to matter, given the problem at hand. These clowns are all fighting over about 2% of the deficit.

U.S. politicians could outright close the deficits if they really wanted to, but this would require tackling entitlements and war, which no one wants to do. So all the focus is on the other programs whose costs do not even add up to the deficit.

It goes without saying that the administration and his party are shameless spendthrifts who are either bent on spending this country right into the ground, or are too clueless to recognize that that’s what they’re doing. Either the malice or incompetence involved rises to levels of gross criminality.

But consider the ridiculous Republicans. For holding their ground, they want our praise and appreciation, and presumably our support for them to reoccupy the White House in a couple years. But what is this high principle they are sticking to? To borrow only $1.30 trillion in the coming year, rather than 1.33 trillion—or some comparable numbers?

No one should take this seriously at all. Republican fiscal conservatism is akin to a 500-pound-man declaring aloud in January that he is determined to lose weight, and so he promises to forgo exactly half a glass of eggnog on Thanksgiving—and if you protest, and insist he drink the whole glass, he will have none of it, because he has made up his mind to lose weight and refuses to compromise.

This is the state of modern American politics. The Democrats say they are for peace and do exactly what the Republicans do, except more so. The Republicans say they are for fiscal responsibility, but flout the very idea every chance they get, and propose spending packages that are so close to those recommended by the Democrats that they might as well not waste their time doing so.

We ought to just abolish the political parties and unify them under one umbrella. Although there’s a dime’s worth of difference between them, when you break it down, it works out to less than $100 per American per year. Surely this is much more than a dime, but it is rounding error when people go shopping for a car. Yet here we are with a supposed choice between two governing philosophies—the Republican approach, which the warmongering Democrats call overly adventurous overseas, and the Democratic approach, which the budget-busting Republicans call socialistic.

Some people complain that American politics comprises two extremes with no one willing to meet halfway. It’s more accurate to say that no one dares to find themselves between the two parties, because they would suffocate from the lack of space.

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