Matt Welch | America ratifies an untenable status quo

Well into the third year of the weakest economic recovery since at least the mid-19th century, less than two months before the U.S. government was scheduled to plunge off a “fiscal cliff,” an American public deeply and rightly dissatisfied with the economic and political status quo voted to lock it into place.

On November 6, voters who just two months earlier had given Congress its lowest Gallup approval rating in 38 years (a measly 10 percent) ratified Capitol Hill’s existing balance of power. The Democratic majority’s edge in the Senate grew from four votes to nine, and Republicans at press time held a 41-seat advantage in the House of Representatives, just slightly down from 49 prior to the elections. Presiding above this hopeless stasis was the man who four years earlier campaigned on precisely the opposite: Barack Obama.

If elections are up-or-down assessments of politicians’ job performance, then this was a vote in favor of trillion-dollar annual deficits, bailout economics, and failing the minimum competence test of passing an annual budget. Federal policy for four years has produced lousy short-term results for the price of long-term insolvency, and now the characters responsible for this misgovernance have been given a pat on the head.


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