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Wed Jan 2, 2013, 10:22 AM

Fiscal cliff reveals how dysfunctional Republican nihilism makes US politics

Fiscal cliff reveals how dysfunctional Republican nihilism makes US politics

How ironic: 150 years after emancipation, a party that abolished slavery is dedicated to saving wealthy Americans from taxes


Michael Cohen

So the United States went over the fiscal cliff.

This was about as surprising a development as when the boat sank at the end of Titanic (the movie). Instead, it is yet further evidence of the extraordinary, almost mind-boggling level of dysfunction that exists at the highest level of the US government.

Actually, let me rephrase that: it speaks instead to the extraordinary, almost mind-boggling level of nihilism, stubbornness and hypocrisy that defines the modern Republican party.

Since Republicans won the House of Representatives in 2010, the country has staggered from one pointless fiscal showdown after another. In every case, Congress and the president have repeatedly kicked the can down the road rather than pass legislation that either made serious efforts to right the country's fiscal imbalances, or would stimulate economic growth.

Meanwhile, the US economy continues to underperform; unemployment remains frustratingly high; climate change is worsening; the immigration system is a mess; the nation's infrastructure is still falling apart and I could go on. In fact, this Congress is the least productive since the 1940s. About 16 months ago, when I wrote my first column for the Guardian, it was titled "The Dysfunction That Lies at the Very Heart of American Politics." Somehow, things have only gotten worse since then and my expectations for the future are not high.

And virtually this entire situation is the result of Republican intransigence. If you've come looking for false equivalence or a pox on both houses-style argument, you've come to the wrong place. This one is all on the GOP. They've created this crisis; the perpetuated it and then refused to resolve it until the country had basically gone over the fiscal cliff they manufactured.

-snip-

http://m.guardiannews.com/commentisfree/2013/jan/01/fiscal-cliff-dysfunctional-republican-nihilism

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