No Winners in Debt Debate

Here is an excerpt from an interview with Bob Dylan I recently read in which he answered a question about politics.

Q: What’s your take on politics?
Dylan: Politics is entertainment. It’s a sport. It’s for the well groomed and well heeled. The impeccably dressed. Politicians are interchangeable.

Thats pretty much exactly what the debt ceiling debate amounted to – a sport, a competition. The debate polarized into a competition with a clear winner and loser. It wasn’t as if one side wanted a 5% increase in taxes and the other side wanted a 10% increase and they were going to eventually going to agree at 7.5%. The republicans stated that they wouldn’t accept anything that constituted an increase in tax revenue and the democrats said they would only accept a balanced approach with both more revenue and lower spending. That meant there was a clear winner and loser – either there was more revenues and the Democrats were going to win or there wasn’t any more revenues and the Republicans were going to win. Sadly, the debate focused so much on the egos of both sides winning and losing that there was hardly anyone who spoke of the future of the economy and how to pass the bill in a way that would be most conducive to future changes in technology, business and education.

Thomas Friedman wrote last week in an Oped in the New York times,” What business do you know — that is still in business — that would operate this way: making massive long-term cuts, negotiated by exhausted executives, without any strategic plan? It certainly wouldn’t be a business you’d expect to thrive.”

Boehner said he had forced Obama to give up his initial demand for a “clean” borrowing increase — one without anything attached — as well as his later call for a “balanced package” that included revenues as well as spending cuts to shrink the deficit. The deal, Boehner said, is all spending cuts and has nothing that violates Republicans’ principles.

The republicans declared victory and showed they could push Obama around. However, with no strategic vision, everyone is losing out.