Washington Politics

Why Some People Are Just Fine With the Collapse of the Debt Ceiling Negotiations

Originally published on The Agonist

If political functionality were a means test for a country’s credit-worthiness, the US would have lost its AAA rating a long time ago. The country which prides itself as the “World’s Greatest Democracy” has puts its dysfunctional political system on display for months now, in a struggle to get the debt ceiling increased. The resulting spectacle has nauseated even the ever-complacent American public: both Democrats and Republicans are now given losing grades by the voters for their performance in this farce. If the country had a legitimate third party to vote for, the Democrats and Republicans would be in serious trouble. Of course, the political system is geared to prevent third parties from emerging, so the country flounders about, looking for leadership from pusillanimous Democrats or ideological Republicans who consider raising taxes a mortal sin. The voters are probably a few steps away from concluding what is meant to be hidden but by now should be obvious: American democracy doesn’t exist, and the political system in Washington is beyond repair. What is worse: there are people and organizations who like things just the way they are and will fight any attempts at reform.

How to Cripple a Government

Let us look at a sad laundry list of governance failures that have built up over time and which now have paralyzed Washington’s political process.

• The average Congressman spends only about half their time in governance – meaning reading and introducing legislation, attending debates, working on committees, and voting. The rest of the time is spent raising money and campaigning for reelection.