There really is nothing worse than a deadbeat father who has the means but just won't pay his court-ordered child support.
So, what can be said of a Congress that has the means but just won't meet the financial commitments it's made?
Over the July Fourth holiday, it was reported that the current Congress has been one of the least productive in history. Disturbingly, our Congress is doing worse than what President Truman dubbed the "do-nothing Congress."
Forget "do-nothing." We should be calling this Congress precisely what it is: The Deadbeat Republican Congress.
While we are at it, we really shouldn't be referring to our current fiscal nightmare simply as the need to increase the debt ceiling when, in fact, it is a GOP manufactured default crisis.
During the previous dare-not-speak-his-name presidency, both parties increased the debt ceiling so that we could pay our creditors for money borrowed to fund things already approved by Congress and the president. Nothing new there, the debt ceiling has been raised 72 times over the past half century.
Now, with Republicans in control of the House and with a filibuster in the Senate, suddenly we find ourselves in the midst of a debate, this time under President Obama. Which only goes to show you that nothing Obama does will be met without controversy from conservatives. He could take his young daughters ice-skating for Christmas and the right would accuse him of imitating Jesus by walking on water.
A group of 235 economists -- six of them Nobel Prizers -- have written Congressional leaders imploring them to promptly raise the debt ceiling, or risk "substantial negative impact on economic growth at a time when the economy looks a bit shaky. In a worst case, it could push the United States back into recession."
Pair that warning with comments by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell that the "most important thing [Senate Republicans] want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president" and things begin to smell rotten.
If you doubt the penchant of Republicans to hold our economy hostage, perhaps Kentucky Senator Rand "Libertarian Magic Dust" Paul can change your mind. He threatened to filibuster everything in the Senate until there was a floor debate on the issue. Now, he never made it clear what he wanted to debate, but Majority Leader Harry Reid gave him that opportunity anyway by introducing a bill doing what he'd requested and wouldn't you know it? Paul and 21 others voted against allowing debate on that bill. See, he's so serious about the filibuster, he'll even filibuster what he wants.
Republicans are banking on back-to-back economic collapses -- the first because of their Bush-backed policies, and the second because of partisan inaction -- but there couldn't be anyone in their midst angling to benefit from the inability to act, could there?
Meet House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who has invested thousands of dollars with his friends on Wall Street in a fund that stands to make serious bank if we default on our obligations.
Cantor is betting against the American government, which I guess shouldn't be all too surprising since Republicans have been betting against the government for generations. Heck, nearly every GOP campaign is premised on attacking the government. And when they do wrestle control away from the Democrats, Republicans govern in a way that would make anyone question our government's purpose.
Current Beltway Republicans are just like their Bushian predecessors that got us into this mess in the first place. If we fail to meet our debt obligations, we will lose our perfect credit rating, which would, in turn, add billions of dollars to our debt each year in the form of increased interest. Talk about economic conservatism.
To date, the president has sought to reach a deal with Republicans on a variety of deficit reducing measures in exchange for a vote to increase the debt ceiling. He's made concessions that drive progressives like me up the wall. Even cuts to Medicare and to Social Security benefits are apparently on the table. He's met the GOP each step of the way with exactly what they've asked for and yet there is still no compromise.
President Obama, and those on the left that would barter with Republicans, are beginning to look like the divorced woman who gives a few more days of visitation with the kids in exchange for the promise of an ex-husband getting current with his child support payments.
Should we be surprised when the check bounces?
Karl Frisch is a syndicated columnist and Democratic political consultant at Bullfight Strategies in Washington, D.C. He can be reached at KarlFrisch.com. You can also follow him on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, or sign-up to receive his columns by email.
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