Sadly (well, not really, but we’re in Village-narrative land with this post, so) the Stupid Debt Super-Committee won’t reach agreement by its “deadline” of this coming Wednesday. As part of its contribution to stoke the crisis narrative in Village Washington, enabling Very Serious People to pretend their concern about the Stupid-Committee actually matters in a nation otherwise beset by record income inequality, vast unemployment, continuing foreclosures, soaring, unforgivable and undischargeable student debt as well as widespread hunger and poverty, the online edition of The Washington Post (WaPo0) has prominently displayed on its digital front page a Deadline Clock.
Hell, for all I know they’ve embedded a tiny microchip on the front page of every dead-tree edition, too, like those annoying Hallmark cards that sing at you. Set your paper on the kitchen table and watch the sand digitally pour through the hourglass. Especially if you are a Very Serious Person.
I’m technologically incapable of embedding the WaPo0 Deadline Clock in this post, but you can see it here. As I write this, it’s at about 3 Days, 6 Hours, 7 minutes and some seconds. I don’t know exactly what cataclysm the editors of The Washington Post expect when it reaches zero. Because the answer is nothing). Nothing will happen.
Except, possibly, Doomsday.
But I’m concerned about the fate of the WaPo0 Clock between now and then. The Stupid-Committee won’t reach an accord because, as David Dayen points out, the primary planks of both parties’ 2012 election strategies are at the crux of the Committee’s decision fulcrum. The GOP can’t possibly give up its adherence to protecting the tax rates of rich people, and Democrats must continue their pretense of protecting Medicare. Since the Stupid-Committee’s discussion boiled down to horse-trading on these two issues, stalemate ensued. No higher taxes for rich people; no cuts in Medicare. Checkmate.
Of course, as Jon Stewart says above, John Kerry talking too much can’t possibly have helped. Really? John Kerry talking too much? Do his fellow Senators know John Kerry?
When, though, does the WaPo0 Deadline Clock get taken down? Are readers to be subjected to the silliness of seeing the Clock continue its relentless decline to a non-existent deadline? Will the WaPo0 take down the clock when the Committee issues its dramatic surrender statement, as early as tomorrow? Or will the ludicrous clock simply halt at the exact moment Patty Murray and Jeb Hensarling wash their hands of this thing, publicly with eyes downcast?
Or will Very Serious People, when logging onto the WaPo0 for the next three days, be forced to simply avert their eyes from this very public sign of “failure?” A “failure” which consists of a select and unaccountable group of legislators unable to reach a behind-closed-doors agreement on 1.2 trillion dollars of deficit cuts to replace the 1.2 trillion dollars of deficit cuts already agreed to by the United States Congress, and signed into law by the President of the United States as all laws must be as provided in our Constitution?
It’s not a trigger, it’s a law. Some “failure.”
Will the clock remain posted on WaPo0 splash page, as any stopped disaster countdown clock should, to remind Americans — including the Very Serious People — how close we came to actual accord by the Stupid-Committee? We should commemorate how narrowly we averted that worst of all possible outcomes for the American people: a bipartisan agreement crafted behind closed doors by an unaccountable group of legislators under the threat of an artificial deadline and revocable trigger.
America dodged a bullet here. And there should be some marker of it for all time, at least on the kitchen tables of Very Serious People who thought this whole elitist enterprise was something other than absurd, anti-democratic codswallop.
Stop the damn clock.