When my Dad was my age, he was just starting to get into the phase of life where he had to start taking blood pressure medication. By the time he was 50, it was de rigeur for him. I like to think that I'm doing better in that regard than he is, even though I probably am not--but the last thing I need is to pay attention to something that's going to piss me right the fuck off, particularly considering there's not a damned thing I can do about it.
And the budget "fight" is one of those things.
I know what the Democrats want: they want huge tax increases, and they want the borrowing and spending to continue unabated with future annual increases following the historic 10-12% levels. They don't want hard limits on public debt; quite the opposite--they want no limits on the debt.
I know what the Republicans want: they want smaller tax increases than the Democrats, and they want the borrowing and spending to continue at present levels plus perhaps an additional 5% increase per year. They want to emplace triggered debt ceiling hikes and they want there to be a few easily avoided brakes on government borrowing and spending.
I know what the country needs: we need to stop spending in deficit entirely (or at least as much as possible). We need to start exploiting our domestic resources, and then we need to stop the foreign adventures which are only undertaken to ensure the flow of petroleum. We need to reform, vastly, the way government entitlements work, and we need to get government the hell out of the way of a lot of industries. Taxes need to remain where they are right now and government must make do with what it receives in revenue. The beast must be starved almost to death and whole departments must be shorn from the carcass.
...you can see how incompatible these positions are.
Anyone who does anything that the country actually needs is going to find himself out of a job, because the voters have discovered they can vote for whatever they want. As history shows, this works for a little while, and then the piper demands his due.
So we're not going to get there until the piper stops playing. And everything that Washington, D.C. is doing right now does not matter...except for how the continued tap-dancing, smoke, and mirrors will obscure the coming disaster, even as it hastens the inevitable.
The GOP does not care about fiscal conservatism. The last gasp of fiscal conservatism was when Newt Gingrich was Speaker, and that was over in January of 1997; and after that Newt became a Big Government Republican like everyone else in the GOP elite. The election cycle just past contained no real conservative candidates; the GOP nominee was anything but and he came from a field of mostly moderate Republicans. The last true conservative candidate was Sarah Palin in 2008, and the GOP has given her exactly zero help in staving off the slings and arrows of the left, because the GOP leadership has exactly the same opinion of her as does the left.
The Democrats, at least, are honest about wanting to tax and borrow and spend. The GOP is not.
I used to think it possible that the GOP was simply full of cowards, but that no longer makes sense to me. Sure, the press says nasty things about them. It always has; the press has never supported a Republican candidate when it had any choice whatsoever and there have been plenty of effective Republicans elected to national office who were vilified by the press yet managed to get things done.
But not any more. These days the GOP seems to cower from bad press, but in fact the reality is they don't want to do the things that need doing, any more than the Democrats do. It's not about what the press will say; it's about the GOP being in charge of the purse strings and liking that just fine. If the GOP were to stand up to the Democrats and say, "Okay, no more spending until we have an actual budget," the GOP would get bad press about it...and because they are constitutionally unable to fight back, in 2014 they'd lose elections and the Democrats would win elections and the GOP wouldn't have control of the purse strings any more.
Instead, then, of the GOP imposing any kind of sanity on the process, they say, "Well, we can limit the damage if we go along to get along!" and the spending continues completely unabated. I'm still waiting to see how giving the Democrats everything they want is fixing anything.
If the GOP wanted to fix things, they'd be doing it. The fact that they are not indicates that they're happy with the status quo. If they won't stand up to Democrats, what's the point of having them in office anyway? If they're going to give the Democrats amnesty for illegals, huge tax hikes, no spending cuts, ever-greater incursions on our freedoms--if they're just going to let Democrats have their way, why are we even bothering to elect Republicans?