By Fareed Zakaria, CNN
We have demonstrated to ourselves, the world and global markets that our political system is broken and that we are incapable of conceiving and implementing sensible public policy.
The actual cut to the 2012 budget, the only budget over which this Congress has control, is $21 billion out of total expenditures of $3.7 trillion – a pittance.
Everything else can and will be changed by future Congresses.
What the deal does is - once again - kick tough choices down the road, this time to a congressional super-commission that will have to come up with a larger plan to reduce debt.
And it does nothing to spur growth, without which the debt will expand well above projections.
The manner in which the deal was produced added poison to an already toxic atmosphere in Washington, making compromise even more difficult.
Democrats now feel they need to mirror the Tea Party's tactics and are becoming unyielding on any cuts to entitlement programs like Medicare. Republicans, emboldened by the success of their bullying, have closed ranks more solidly around a no-tax agenda.
But the only solution to America's debt dilemma will need to involve both cuts to entitlement programs and higher tax revenues.
Congress is more polarized than ever before...and that polarization has resulted in paralysis. More than two years into the Obama Administration, hundreds of key positions in government remain vacant for lack of Senate confirmation. The Treasury Department had to handle the global financial crisis, recession, bank stress tests and automaker bailouts, as well as its usual duties, with about a dozen of its senior positions - almost its entire top management - vacant. Senate rules have been used, abused and twisted to allow constant delay and blockage.
The filibuster, historically employed about once a decade, is now a routine procedure that allows the minority to thwart the will of the majority. In 2009, Senate Republicans filibustered a stunning 80% of major legislation. Given how the chamber is composed - two Senators per state, no matter how thinly populated - people representing just 10% of the country can block all legislation.
Is that how a democracy should function?
These dysfunctions come at a bad time. The U.S. faces intense pressures from an aging population, technological change and globalization.We need smart policies in every field.
We need to pare spending in areas like health care and pensions but invest in others like research and development, infrastructure and education in order to grow. In an age of budgetary limits, money needs to be spent wisely and only on projects that are effective.
But in area after area - energy, immigration, infrastructure - government policy is sub-optimal, a sad mixture of political payoffs and ideological positioning.
Countries from Canada to Australia to Singapore implement smart policies and copy best practices from around the world. We bicker and remain paralyzed.
If, as a result of these congressional antics, interest rates on America's debt rise by 1% - in other words, if the world asks for just a little bit more interest to lend us money - the budget deficit will rise by $1.3 trillion over 10 years. That would more than wipe out the entire 10 years of cuts proposed in the debt deal. That's the American system at work these days.
For more on this, you can read my cover story in this week's TIME Magazine or TIME.com. Also, I invite you to follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for more throughout the week.
Hello! gfaddfa interesting gfaddfa site! I'm really like it! Very, very gfaddfa good!
Salubrious communicate-up, I’m average tourist of unique’s locale, insist up the fine manipulate, further It is going to be a system company for a tedious pace. “Beneficial tomfoolery is beneficial logic in conceal.” by Tease Billings.
I appreciate your website and its layout. You do a good job here; continue the fine work.
Thanks, I have just been looking for info approximately this topic for ages and yours is the best I've came upon till now. However, what in regards to the conclusion? Are you sure concerning the source?
Is m' working at Lolitas now then?View all comments by Daywalker
Hiya Russ & Frank & welcome to Yoda or should I say Yoda to welcome'
So very nice! I love the white! They look great on your porch. The gardenias are especially nice. I love them! I wish I could grow them here in Maine!
How to use Windows Remote Desktop (mstsc.exe) from the command line to connect to remote servers from saved shortcuts or with custom ...
Hello there, simply turned into alert to your weblog via Google, and located that it's truly informative. I am gonna be careful for brussels. I will appreciate when you continue this in future. Numerous people might be benefited out of your writing. Cheers!
I’m impressed, I must say. Rarely do I encounter a blog that’s equally educative and amusing, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. The issue is something which too few folks are speaking intelligently about. I am very happy I stumbled across this during my search for something relating to this.
I believe this web site has got very good indited subject matter posts.
The Global Public Square is where you can make sense of the world every day with insights and explanations from CNN's Fareed Zakaria, leading journalists at CNN, and other international thinkers. Join GPS editor Jason Miks and get informed about global issues, exposed to unique stories, and engaged with diverse and original perspectives.
Every week we bring you in-depth interviews with world leaders, newsmakers and analysts who break down the world's toughest problems.
CNN U.S.: Sundays 10 a.m. & 1 p.m ET | CNN International: Find local times
Buy the GPS mug | Books| Transcripts | Audio
Connect on Facebook | Twitter | GPS@cnn.com
Buy past episodes on iTunes! | Download the audio podcast
Check out all of Fareed's Washington Post columns here:
Obama as a foreign policy president?
Why Snowden should stand trial in U.S.
Hillary Clinton's truly hard choice
China's trapped transition
Obama should rethink Syria strategy
Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.
RSS - Posts
Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.
Join 4,856 other followers