Regarding the Debt Ceiling

Note: This is an attempt to write a brief synopsis of the Debt Ceiling Crisis as it exists to-date.  The experimental aspect is that it is written in a party-agnostic manner.

Latest analysis points to a basic deal to raise the debt ceiling, possibly including some extremely modest budget cuts, as more ambitious talks continue to falter and time runs short.

Over the past months (since February 2011), the US Congress and US Executive sought a plan to resolve the decade-long trend of increasing public debt in the USA.  As we approach August 2011, the consequences of inaction grow more dire.  Threats from credit rating agencies that bore some responsibility in the recent economic recession have served to escalate the feeling of urgency.

The president called for a major reform deal that would include a mixture of tax raises and budgetary cuts, but several influential representatives abandoned that idea quickly.  They cited philosophical opposition to taxes, though failed to provide any substantive philosophical underpinnings for the claim.  They instead sought plans focused entirely on cutting spending.  This, despite the reports that one of the major contributors to the rising debt were tax cuts put in place by the government a decade ago.

Several in congress offered other routes.  One bizarre scheme by a normally influential Senator called for the president to sign into law an action that would allow him to veto a follow-up action.  Another plan would tie the debt ceiling increase to the future passage of an amendment to the US Constitution, which analysis shows would likely never happen.

These plans, designed to shirk responsibility, evoked ire from the public.  Many complained of Congress still arguing over a months-old issue while hiring legislation failed to materialize.  Others still felt the more ambitious approaches should revive and be enacted, noting that justifying the length and cost of the negotiations required broader action.

Part of the lack of culture change in Washington is driven by both the habits of the media to report in a certain way and their choice to quote politicians without questioning the partisan rhetoric (or only questioning it for political reasons).  I suspect that having more media move away from those styles of writing would have a beneficial impact.