What on earth are we going to tell future generations about the great Debt Ceiling Crisis of 2011?

I mean, let me see if I’ve got this straight… the latest news is that after much sturm und drang, the Republicans in the House of Representatives passed a bill that the Democratic-led Senate promptly rejected less than two hours later.  And now, in a fit of spite that even squabbling pre-teens might consider juvenile, a GOP spokesman has announced that the House will vote down the rival bill by Senate majority leader Harry Reid… even before the Senate votes to pass it.  In a show of support, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell is refusing to negotiate with Reid about possible (further) compromises on the latter’s bill.

So after months of supposedly marathon negotiations, we are left with a standoff along partisan lines, just like anyone could have predicted from the start.  And the current conflict, believe it or not, is between two largely similar bills that particularly resemble one another in the amorphousness of the spending cuts they pretend to contain.  (Anyone old enough to remember previous deficit-reduction follies knows that no such “projected” cuts are likely to ever occur.)

Yeah, you say it’s a waste
Not to learn from mistakes
Yeah, it’s really a shame…

Oh, and this related “crisis” atmosphere is entirely owed to an artificial “debt ceiling” that most probably can (and will, if the current foolishness drags on much longer) be raised simply if the President says so.  That is, unless they find some excuse to keep bickering a while longer.

Ah, and the scars that you show
May as well be for show
Oh, it means nothing to me…

An overwrought legislative showdown about which fantasy-based “solution” should be chosen to paper over a manufactured crisis?  Good heavens, this nonsense makes Sarah Palin’s pretend-campaign for the White House seem substantial by comparison.

Oh, hey, that’s some kind of answer
Yeah, but no question was posed
Ah, you’ve got real imagination, man…

So, what are we going to tell future generations about the great Debt Ceiling Crisis of 2011?  Maybe if we’re lucky, they’ll be so busy dealing with actual real-life issues that they won’t bother to ask.

And I really don’t know
‘Cause I don’t wanna know, oh yeah

Tell me when it’s over
Tell me when it’s over
Ah, let me know when it’s done…

(Lyrics from “Tell Me When It’s Over,” by the Dream Syndicate, 1982)



Swopa has been sharing prescient, if somewhat anal-retentive, analysis and garden-variety mockery with Internet readers since 1995 or so, when he began debunking the fantasies of Clinton-scandal aficionados on Usenet. He is currently esconced as the primary poster at Needlenose (www.needlenose.com).