It is one of the few great truths that Economists will agree upon that people respond to incentives. If you want to change behavior, change the incentives. If you have a system where people are incentivized to behave in a perverse and destructive manner, guess what happens? A bad system of incentives caused the financial meltdown (a system, by the way, that has not been fixed!!!), and it is now doing the same thing in the debt ceiling crisis.
Sane people would see that the debt limit must rise, and come to some agreement on doing this. Then, they would go about fixing the long-term budget problems that pose a threat to our solvency down the road. That is, sane people with a sane set of incentives. But our current Congress is operating under a situation that causes most of the assholes in Washington to act in a destructive way. The sad thing is that it is not easily fixed.
Here is what is going on. First, we must understand that the primary interest of politicians is to remain in office, or to step up to a bigger job, where the bribes.....er, campaign contributions....are bigger. Most members of the House are elected from districts that have been gerrrymandered to be be safe for their party. Safe GOP seat, safe Dems seats. And the nation is now so divided between red and blue states that many Senate seats are also certain to go to one party or the other.
So, if a House member wants to stay in office, chances are his biggest fear is not losing to a member of the other party by going to far to the right or left and being unreasonable. While that type of behavior violates good sense, good government, and the wishes of most of the electorate, our Congresspersons have been incentivized to do exactly that. Why? Because they don't fear that sane folks in the center won't re-elect them, they fear a primary challenge from the extremists who tend to vote in primaries.
While this is somewhat of a factor in the Democratic Party, the ignorant d-bags in the Tea Party are now the the real threat to sane government. They challenged a lot of incumbents in the last election who were not nutso enough for them, and are threatening to do the same in the next election. John Boehner knows he should make a deal with the Democrats, but fears if he does that the Teabaggers will attack, and he will lose his leadership role and perhaps even his seat in the house.
And, since the Tea-D-Bags have decided that Obama is the root of all evil, they threaten anyone who would even hint at making a compromise with him. Oh, and then there is the House GOP leader Mitch McConnell, a complete lying scumbag who has only spoken the truth once in his life: When he said his goal is to make sure Obama doesn't get re-elected. That's a really great way to negotiate!
Politicians suck, but remember, we let them do this to us. But, if you see a member of Congress on the street this week, kick him in the nuts!!!