Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Brink of Default

In a way I am reminded of the Civil War. The South chose to break away from our national government rather than accept limits on slavery. Today, the Republican Party is threatening to break our government rather than compromise on efforts to control the debt.

Minority obstruction has become a way of life in Congress, with the proliferation of filibusters and secret holds of nominations to federal office. Now this obstructionism has metastasized, with the entire government being marched inexorably to the brink of default.

This is not just about the budget or the size of our federal government. Congress has argued about appropriations for more than two centuries. This is about whether one faction can force the government to stop operating unless that faction gets its way. The essence of majority rule is that all citizens and parties accept the legitimacy of the government, even when those with opposing views hold power. The House Republicans do not acknowledge limits to their power in a divided government, and are holding up the machinery of government unless they get their way.

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