While I do not agree with all of the points Fareed Zakaria made during this segment, like comparing protecting our social safety nets to the Republicans rigidity on tax increases and painting those as being somehow equivalent; especially if you're talking about raising the retirement age on Social Security instead of raising the income cap to keep it solvent for the long term. That said, I was glad to see someone point out just how destructive the Republicans use of the filibuster has been as he did here. And I agree with his points on the need to do more spending on education and infrastructure to get our economy growing again.
Transcript via CNN:
ZAKARIA: We've downgraded ourselves. We've demonstrated to ourselves, the world, to global markets that our political system is broken and that we are incapable of implementing sensible public policy.
The actual cut to the 2012 budget, which is the only budget over which this Congress has any control, is $21 billion out of a total of $3 trillion in expenditures. Everything else can and will be changed by future Congresses. What the deal does is once again kick tough choices down the road, this time to a Congressional supercommission that will have to come up with a larger plan to reduce our debt. And it does nothing to spur growth, and, without growth, the debt and the deficit will expand well above current projections.
The manner in which the deal was produced has added poison to an already toxic atmosphere in Washington, making compromise even more difficult. Democrats now feel they need to mirror the Tea Party's tactics because they worked and they are becoming unyielding on any cuts to entitlement programs like Medicare. Republicans, emboldened by the success of their bullying, have closed ranks more solidly around a no-tax agenda, which is great, but the only solution to America's debt dilemma needs to involve both cuts to entitlement programs and higher tax revenues. Congress is more polarized than ever before, and that polarization has resulted in paralysis. More than two years into the Obama administration, hundreds of key positions in government remain vacant for lack of Senate confirmation. The Treasury Department, for example, had to handle the global financial crisis, recession, bank stress tests, the automaker bailouts, as well as its usual duties with about a dozen of its senior positions, almost its entire top management, vacant, nobody in there.