Barely A Deal, Certainly Not A Solution

“Berrinche.” That’s the word many Mexicans now use to describe Washington. What does it mean? Tantrums.

The Mexicans, and indeed our critics across the globe, couldn’t be more on the money. Our legislators have become nothing more than petulant children, nitpicking at each turn. We have seen far too few signs of bipartisanship, let alone maturity.

Indeed, it is more likely than not that we’re going to get a deal today. But the deal we’re going to get is just going to delay things for a few months vis-à-vis the government shutdown, the budget and the debt ceiling.

Larger issues like entitlement reform, reducing spending and reforming the tax code have barely been an afterthought in these discussions despite the ideas offered by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson from the center and Paul Ryan from the right.

Put another way, the best case today is kicking the can down the road and that doesn’t look so good.

You know you’re in trouble, when the Chinese government starts lecturing the American government about the way it governs and gets into a fight with the Tea Party over who should make policy in the US.

We have a Speaker of the House, a Minority and Majority leader in the Senate who can’t do anything but apparently reaching ministerial agreement to delay things. For the first time in a long time, I can’t see a silver lining.

Make no mistake about it, this resolution doesn’t even include a super committee to do the painful budgetary and reform work. Congress continues to make big promises about doing long term budgetary reform in the next few months, something we have been systematically unable to do over the last few years. But we certainly can’t take them at their word – we’ve been duped too many times.

This latest crisis really suggests the absolute absence of any leadership in Washington and any ability to solve problems.

There’s really not much more to say. Hopefully the politicians and the media will put a good enough spin on whatever happens today that we will not look already worse than we already do.

But right now I can’t be confident of that. In fact, I can’t be confident of anything.