If you're wondering why American politics are so screwed up, John Cassidy of The New Yorker can tell you exactly why: according to him, "countries with dysfunctional economies tend to have dysfunctional political systems, in which radical groups look for someone to blame and rival interest groups fight over the spoils. And that, sadly, is where we are now."
Political update: the annual showdown over the federal budget and associated topics is about to begin. Over the weekend, President Obama warned that he wouldnt negotiate with Congressional Republicans about raising the debt ceiling, which is due to be breached sometime next month. But theres widespread speculation that the G.O.P. will play hardball and shut down the federal government.
If your eyes are already glazing over, dont feel guilty. I get paid to track this stuff, and I, too, find it a struggle to keep up. If, as Marx said, history repeats itself, first as tragedy and then as farce, how do you describe a four-peat? In 2010, Congress failed to pass a budget. In 2011, we had a debt-ceiling crisis that resulted in the sequester and Standard & Poors downgrading treasuries. Last year, it was the fiscal-cliff crisis. And this year, we have a debt-ceiling crisis and a budget crisiswithout a new spending resolution, the federal government will run out of money at the end of the monthwith the added complication that some Republicans want to defund Obamacare. In short, its business as usual on the Potomac.
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