This puzzles me at first. After running for the last two election cycles on the desperate need to balance the budget, the House Republicans, after some loose talk about letting the debt ceiling grind the government to a halt, seem to be backing off from that fight. It appears that maybe the news from the 2012 election is starting to sink in? It appears that maybe Republicans talk a good line about balancing the budget, but in reality, are not really interested in getting blamed for the pain that it would cause?
I have mixed feelings on this. On one level, any time Republicans humiliate themselves it tends to delight me. But it made me nervous when the fiscal cliff crisis ended with a can-kicking exercise, and now we are giving that same can another kick.
I see several problems. One problem is that the Republican Party now seems rather sharply divided between a mainstream and a Tea Party radical minority, and it seems increasingly difficult to get the two groups to vote for the same thing. The result of this is that the supposed House Majority- the Republican Party- no longer constitutes a majority in practical terms.
The other problem is of course that the fiscal problems of the USA are not imaginary, they are real. They are long term rather than short term, but of course, that just means that time is not on our side if we continue to ignore them in terms of action. The military budget needs to be cut. But Medicare and Social Security in time will need some cuts as well- and there is really no stomach for those cuts in EITHER political party, because legislators seem to feel that they will lose their jobs after casting those tough votes.
Gatherites know me as a crazy liberal. Yes, I accept that global warming is real. Yes, I am okay with gay marriage- because it is not going to damage my hetero marriage. Yes, I am not a fan of assault weapon sales. But I happen to feel that liberals have to be realistic about the USA budget. Especially now, when Republicans seem to be increasingly unrealistic about it. Tax and spend policies, in my mind, are not as damaging to our fiscal health as spend-but-don't-tax policies (which describes where Republicans are now).