Bated Breath on Debt Ceiling

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As I write, we’re waiting to see if compromise will be possible on raising the nation’s debt ceiling and preventing us from defaulting for the first time in history.

It should never have come to this, with foreign markets and credit agencies already reacting negatively to our leaders’ inability to reach an agreement. This is absurd.

This morning, I awoke to an old Jack Benny movie on TMC. He and his wife, who was way out of his league, had purchased a home out in the county — a real dump. It was like “The Money Trap,” except, you know, funny. It was from 1942, and was called “George Washington Slept Here.”

At the end of the film, as things are falling apart, suddenly the dog finds a letter hidden behind a stone in the fireplace. It was a draft of a speech Washington gave to his troops, asking the to continue their service to the American cause a little longer, past their commitment. Everyone stood around hushed as Benny read the note. It reminded me that, while we have many differences, we are still a nation with a common heritage, born from sacrifice and compromise. When we’ve found common ground, we’ve changed the world. When we haven’t, we’ve damn near destroyed it.

We all have an obligation to finance the services, security, and common good that the federal government is obligated to give us. Compromise means making each of us pay our share. It does not mean taking from the least of us only, and the members of Congress who are refusing to compromise because they disagree so completely with increasing revenues have turned their backs on a proud national legacy of finding middle ground.

And because of that, we’re here; teetering on the precipice of default and ruin.

These people should cast down their eyes as they pass the many monuments in Washington; they are not fit to be there. I hope we’ll remember that, too.

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