Gandhi famously answered the question "What do you think of Western Civilization?" by saying "I think it would be a good idea." That phrase might come in handy the next time somebody asks what you think of a two-party democracy: It would be a good idea. As the economy burns to the ground, nobody's calling the Fire Department. Both parties want to throw gasoline on the fire, and their only disagreement is whether to use regular gas or unleaded.
Here's a challenge, if anyone's willing to take it: Can you read the statistics below without concluding that our current debate is a national disgrace? Both parties are pushing radical and counterproductive cuts that would devastate middle class and lower-income Americans, compounding the misery for ninety percent of us. Neither asks the top one percent of earners, some of whom caused this crisis, to help repair the damage after enjoying historically low tax rates.
And this isn't just somebody's opinion. These are the numbers talking, not me. John Boehner's plan is a radical right-wing assault on government that would have embarrassed previous generations of Republicans. Nevertheless, his party's base and members of the House will probably reject it. Harry Reid's proposal is also devastating - and his party's rank and file may very well support it. It's hard to know which is a sadder statement on the degraded state of our politics.
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