The House of Representatives managed to pass a “Fiscal Cliff” deal last night. Let us all rejoice! I’m sure most people will see this as just more proof that, in a pinch, Congress will always act to protect the public from impending calamity. Except the Congress never protects the public from calamity and is, in fact, the primary cause of most of the crises the country faces.
The one thing on which both parties (as well as most of the media) agree is that running up a huge debt that will be passed on to people who aren’t even old enough to vote is not an issue worth addressing. Pay it lip service for sure, but that’s about it. In any other context, adults running up a debt and forcing their children to work it off would be a crime, if not child abuse. But, not so for the republicans and democrats in Congress, regardless of rhetoric to the contrary.
And the U.S. population, dumbed down by decades of grossly inadequate economics education, doesn’t even have the competence to realize that living beyond one’s means is no less a recipe for disaster when government does it than when anyone else does it. I’m sure that most people who have been following the economic crisis in Greece (perhaps 2% of the U.S. population?) shake their heads at how impotent and childish the Greek Parliament is, completely oblivious to the fact that the U.S. Congress is no different.
Last night’s vote did nothing more than buy an increment of time, each of which gets smaller as we approach the real cliff, the point at which there are no more options available to avoid disaster.. The coming debt ceiling debate will be another example of Congressional insanity, when Senators and Congressmen wrangle over whether to allow the government to borrow the money to pay for the programs they, themselves, enacted into law. The idiocy is nothing short of mind-numbing.