Major Garrett, formerly of Fox News Channel has a great piece out on National Journal's website about the calamity that is the debt ceiling debate on Capitol Hill.
Should you not take the time to read it, Garrett simply describes current talks over a deal as non-existent, because now Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) are currently working on their own plans to raise the debt limit.
Reid's is said to count the money saved on the draw down in Iraq and Afghanistan as "spending cuts" to sweeten his deal, and Boehner's won't deviate from the model of massive government cuts, with no direct tax increases.
In other words, there are two separate plans that have next to no chance of being reconciled with each other.
The arguments in this debate over raising the debt limit are tiring. All they have really accomplished is to tarnish the public's perception of those elected to serve them.
Democrats want "revenues" to be on the table, which mean they want to end the Bush tax cuts and raise taxes on everyone making $250,000 a year or more.
Republicans want steep (and as far as most are concerned, necessary) cuts to the federal government, and have been willing to at least talk about revenues being raised through corporate tax loopholes, and other problems in the over-complex tax code.
The problem I have with this whole dog and pony show is that it will fail, once again to address some of the root causes of our current economic situation.
We are currently spending gigantic amounts of our tax revenues on entitlements. Social Security and Medicare.
What's worse than what we currently are spending on those entitlements is what we're going to have to continue spending on them in the not-so-distant future.
Baby Boomers are retiring, and far too many of them see Social Security for what it was never meant to be, a steady and substantial part of their retirement income.
As these people retire, they are also entitled to another humongous and poorly run program, called Medicare, which essentially covers all of the medical care they will receive from their enrollment in the program to their deaths.
These programs are HUGE burdens to our current economy, and yet the President and Democrats in Congress refuse to even speak about them as they relate to this debt limit debate.
Several studies have been done about how the fed could tax everyone making $250,000 or more 100% of their income and still come far short of paying off our debt and deficits.
This of course goes without mentioning that Washington has NEVER used tax revenues (whether from fresh tax increases or not) to actually spend them on debt/deficit reduction.
Simply put, we can talk about "revenues" in a debate about raising the debt limit until we are blue in the face. Until we can start making grown up decisions about the kind of money we are and will have to spend on Social Security and Medicare in the not-so-distant future, we will remain in a perpetual state of increasing the debt we continue to incur, and we will only have ourselves to blame for not taking bold action.