So, depending on who you ask or believe or read, our country is about to either dive into complete and utter financial chaos, or merrily go on its way with little change as a result of the partisan gridlock going on in Washington, D.C.
The news media really is falling all over itself trying to cover this story, picking every possible angle to cover it from, including asking whether members of the military will be paid (the answer seems to be “maybe”), what this all really means (the country physically runs out of money at some point in the coming days and would not be able to pay salaries, Social Security, etc.), how the media itself is covering the story (I did really see a piece talking about all of the media in Washington covering the story), and comparing ourselves to Greece and Ireland. There have been stories talking about the history of our debt and how it was actually getting smaller under the Clinton Administration, but then started getting larger under Dubya because of the tax cuts.
There have been stories featuring a talking head from each side of the argument trying to point out just how wrong the other side is, and yes, they’ve got historical proof of how policies didn’t work in the past as had been promised. It’s almost as if every side–left, right, and media–wants the country to be divided over the “right” way to handle the situation.
But is there a right way to go? Everyone agrees on the basics: we have to lower the debt. Which means we need to make the budget smaller. But then the same old argument comes in: raise taxes or reduce spending? Why does it have to be one or the other?
Here’s what I propose, and it would make everyone unhappy, but it would work: let the Republican led House pass their spending cuts, and let the Democratic led Senate pass a tax bill. Each side promises to approve what the other side passes, and the President works with the Democrats and signs the bill without argument. They work independently of each other and each side gets 2 unconditional challenges that lets them reject a clause without question–that way, pet projects can be kept in the spending bill, and the super rich could be sheltered from huge tax increases. They spend Sunday writing everything up, spend Monday deciding and issuing the challenges and then voting on the bills, and it’s signed by Monday night. And depending on how you look at it, either everyone wins, everyone loses, or it’s just a toss up to fix the problem.
No, I don’t like that idea, either, but I think it’s the only way to get things done right now without having to spend weeks horse-trading for votes. Because they only part of this not being reported on is what the Speaker of the House and the President are having to promise in exchange for support from their own party. Hey, MSNBC, can we talk about that one?
Supposedly, Tuesday is when the world stops spinning and money becomes completely worthless. We’ll see what happens. Hope it’s fixed. Payday is this coming Friday.
See you tomorrow.