Everyone at the center of the fake negotiations over the fake debt ceiling crisis has their own bad metaphor that they use to describe what the "consequences" will be if the fake impasse in the fake talks isn't successfully surmounted by a fake solution. Here's Representative Paul Broun (R-Ga.) with his, in conversation with MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell. As you can see, Broun is about as removed from the lives of ordinary Americans as the nation of Sri Lanka is from the rings of Saturn:
MITCHELL: When you talk about lowering the debt ceiling, the debt ceiling is being raised to pay for money that has been appropriated by this Congress and previous Congresses but in particular by this Congress. You're paying for what has already been charged for future expenses.
BROUN: Well, Andrea, the thing is, when someone is overextended and broke, they don't continue paying for expensive automobiles; they sell the expensive automobiles and buy a cheaper one. They don't continue paying for country club dues, they drop out of the country club. What we need to do is pay down debt and create a stronger economy to create jobs, and raising the debt ceiling is just going to make it worse long term, in my opinion. So that's reason why we need to go back to the drawing board and do everything we can to cut expenses across the board of the Federal government, so we can put this financial house back in order. We cannot continue this spending fiasco here in Washington. We've got to pay down the debt and stop creating more.
Yes, that's the way I would frame this for a nation of unemployed people, whose future was scuttled by a bunch of country club-going derivatives gamblers who lost it all and subsequently had those country club memberships rescued by massive taxpayer bailouts!
But beyond Broun's craptacular lack of perspective, let's note the exciting illogic and non-thought going on here. Broun wants to "pay down debt." He wants to have a "stronger economy." He'd like to "create jobs." Here's the good news: he can do that anytime he wants! He can play a part in a full, rich debate on cutting spending and assisting the economy and reforming the tax code and gutting entitlements, if that's what he wants to do. Broun can even author or co-sponsor his very own bills and amendments to bills to help in that effort.
What he would do, if he were serious, is immediately call for the debt ceiling to be raised so that the United States could meet the obligations to which Paul Broun committed the United States through his previous votes, which caused that money to be spent. What he would do, if he were serious, is to be honest with his constituents and point out that raising the debt ceiling has nothing whatsoever to do with future spending or future job creation, and it doesn't obligate anyone to continue spending money. What he would do, if he were serious, is recognize that the pretend "hostage crisis" over the debt ceiling is actually the very thing that's imperiling the economy.
But he's not serious about it. In fact, the reason he wants to actively mislead people about what the "debt ceiling" is and does is because he'd like to deflect attention away from the fact that he and his colleagues happily voted for policies that took our deficit to these high levels in the first place -- the bills for which have come due, with a drop-dead payment date of August 2, 2011.
(Country club memberships! Ye gods. As we have one party in America that serves country club-goers unabashedly, and another party that serves them slightly bashfully, the notion that either one would stand behind a policy that would imperil anyone's country club membership -- and thus risk the angry withholding of vital campaign donations -- is pretty laughable on its face.)