The D.C. press corps was giddy last night, declaring that the fiscal crisis had ended. Senators praised "honorable friends" from "great states," congressmembers gave standing O's to their stalwart leaders, and the president saluted bipartisanship while ridiculing Republicans, bloggers, activists and pretty much anyone else who dared oppose him.
If the whole thing seemed a bit surreal, it's because the whole thing was a bit surreal. America's fiscal crisis is not that our debt ceiling isn't quite high enough — it's that we have too much debt.
It's as if I had $250K in credit card debt and I told my wife, "Great news, honey — our fiscal crisis is over! I just got a new Visa!" If she didn't hit me over the head with a rolling pin, she would most assuredly tell me where I should place it.
To help visualize how up the creek we find ourselves, I created an infographic (click to embiggen):
It's an imperfect analogy, but imagine the green is your salary, the yellow is the amount you're spending over your salary, and the red is your MasterCard statement. Before sharing this info with your spouse, I recommend you hide the rolling pin.
When a conservative hesitates before raising the debt ceiling, he's portrayed as a madman. When Paul Ryan offers a thoughtful plan to pay down debt over decades, he's pushing grannies into the Grand Canyon and pantsing park rangers on the way out.
Forget sustainable — how is this sane?
Irrational situations provoke irrational responses. Ted Cruz may not have mapped out a winning strategy to end Obamacare, but he energized millions of Howard Beales yelling, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore."
It seems the only way to make the press notice the real fiscal crisis is to elect another Republican president.