I would really love to get into staring contests with any Republican US Congressman or Senator. I'm pretty sure I could beat them all. Certainly President SCOAMT and the Democrats do every time.
Late last night, the Republicans caved on the Fiscal Cliff negotiations and traded away their only hole card- tax rate hikes- for the promise that maybe, possibly, sometime in the future, the Democrats will consider spending cuts. If they feel like it.
This is like the political version of "Henry the VIII." The next verse really is the same as the first, and it really doesn't get better; it only gets worse.
The Republican dominated House voted for the Democrat-controlled Senate's "Fiscal Cliff" bill which does not actually address the fiscal cliff at all. However, because Republicans are about as clear sighted as Mr. Magoo, they were unable to articulate that the Cliff was not some artifact of current law (the automatic tax hikes and fiscal sequestration). The Cliff is a flaw inherent in our current system that means that at some date, possibly in the not-to-distant future, we'll simply run out of money.
Not that we'll run out of currency; that is impossible since we print our own. But currency is not money. Money is an abstract representation of the value of the productivity of the people. The more currency their is, the less it represents that money (we call that "inflation"). But, at some point, there simply will not be enough valuable productivity to pay all of our bills.
When that happens, the whole house of cards will come tumbling down.
Now, since money is a fixed thing- dependent directly upon the value of the productivity of the people- it is impossible (or at least incredibly improbable) that taxation, either more or less of it, will address the fiscal cliff in any significant way. The only thing that is sure to work is getting spending under control.
And Republicans let our best chance at doing just that slip right through their fingers.
However, to have done so would have required courage. Addressing spending would have required Republicans to put up with being vilified, and pilloried. It would have required them to stand up against both the Democrats and the Democrat's even more Liberal allies in the Media. It would have required clear and coherent explanation of the actual nature of the problem.
Instead, like Brave Sir Robin, Speaker John Boehner decided that "compromise" was more important than principle. He decided to bravely run away from a confrontation, because he was more afraid of possible negative consequences to himself than he was of the guaranteed negative consequences for the economy, and for the American People.