Back at Gridlock

Today is Sunday — and on Saturday talks between the Democrats and Republicans hit a wall (again)!  On Thursday and Friday, hopes of an agreement were remarkably high; and the stock market soared. 

But the arguments I made in my last post — that this is an ideological disagreement with little room for compromise — seem to have been correct, at least this weekend…

So what will happen on Monday?  I hesitate to predict.  Either the deadlock goes on and the stock market will plunge, or talks will resume and optimism will return.  The volatility is head-spinning!

A few general points.  On the one hand, the Senate Republicans have to face state-wide electorates that cannot be gerrymandered.  So they want a more moderate solution.  But the House Republicans include dozens and dozens of members with custom-crafted super-Republican  districts where extremism is rewarded.  For these members, there is no gain in compromise.  Instead, the rewards come for being ideologically pure, and indeed they and most of their constituents WANT to throttle the government.

Will shutting down government be healthy?  Will hitting the debt ceiling administer a healthy shock?  Many Republicans seems to truly believe this.  And why not?  Today the mass media divides us rather than unites us; media figures pride themselves on reinforcing their opinions rather than sifting for truth.  Or to be sure, they believe they HAVE  the only truth, and the other  side is malicious, traitorous, dangerous (so that Obamacare is not just poor policy in Republican eyes, but a fundamental threat to the American way of life.)

It would be nice if everything comes together on Monday for a solution to the budget and debt crisis.  But I wouldn’t be surprised at this point if deadlock drags on and on..

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About jackgoldstone

Hazel Professor of Public Policy at George Mason University
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One Response to Back at Gridlock

  1. David Olson says:

    As always Jack, insightful. Let the Affordable Healthcare Act run it’s course. If it either sinks or swims it’s not up the the House or Senate republicans to defund it. Let the president have this program (with the requisite funding) and then hold those who voted into law be held responsible for it (should that be required). It is my belief that this is the only way to run our federal government instead of the current infighting and backbiting. Our nation begs for sound and enlightened leadership, not the partisan politics that we all are now experiencing.

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