I was on a family vacation last week, and as we usually do, my family got into a number of political debates. Most of them surrounded the economy, but we didn't specifically address the debt ceiling issue. However, I didn't realize how apropos the arguments were until reading an article today about the debate between Republicans and the President.
My family is mostly made up of Democrats. Parents and five out of six sisters are all Democrats - several of us staunch liberals. The last sister is a touch of both religious and fiscal conservative. However, the argument was not with my other sister, the argument was with one of my other sister's husband.
He will listen to a reasoned argument, but then respond with boilerplate conservative arguments against the rational point I just made. The argument in question was regarding raising taxes vs. cutting spending. He threw out the standard "can't raise taxes, have to cut spending" argument, which I let him have. However, I then asked him what specific spending he would like to see cut, and this is where he ran into a speed bump. You see, to say that we need to "cut spending" is easy; but what people fail to realize is that while Republicans continue to try and cut their way out of this fiscal mess, it's impossible to do so without raising taxes, because the programs that we're currently offering are a bare bones of what they once were, because they've all already been cut. That is why we see Republicans taking a swipe at Medicare (not a smart move); this is the largest expenditure in the budget, and one of the only things left that actually could be trimmed (or at least that could be trimmed enough to make a fiscal impact on the budget).
Though I certainly don't espouse to be a fan of John Boehner, I have to say that I appreciate his somewhat pragmatic approach to this debt ceiling argument; although, I have to say that I'm sure he's looked at the political ramifications of letting our national credit rating downgrade, and he's having visions of 1996 dancing in his head. Eric Cantor on the other hand, has chosen to side with the obstinate Republicans in the House, and is willing to go down in flames simply to make a point (a point that no one cares about or is paying any attention to).
Okay, I understand that Republicans want to stand up for less government, less taxes, less regulation, less government spending; those are the issues they stand for. However, government officials and national policy cannot be created in such a dogmatic way. We live in a society that we call a democracy, and [unfortunately for Republicans] the overarching principle of Democracy is compromise. Mark my words: the debt ceiling will be raised (one way or another), and the Republicans, especially the hard-line tea party Republicans, will be shown to be ill-equipped legislators, will have egg on their face, and the Democrats will slaughter Republicans in both local and national elections across the country in 2012. The tea party impact on the Republican party has been hazardous to both the party, and the political process, and it's proving once again that an unwillingness to face reality does not make for good government.