A cataclysmic war rages in Congress over the federal budget. But it is no longer the 20th century conflict of irreconcilable ideas (Keynes's idea of spending as a cure for recession vs. Hayek's belief in letting the market liquidate the consequences of malinvestment). Both sides seem aware that continuing down the road of the "stimulus" will force our children to learn Chinese.
What is seriously messed up in Washington these days is that, while everyone desires a solution to the deficit, no one demonstrates enough political courage to tell the people what needs to be done about it.
The two political parties act like a minimum-wage-earning couple trying to rent a mansion. They bicker over whether buying a slightly smaller turkey for Thanksgiving is enough of a sacrifice. In Washington, lawmakers are talking billions when the problem is in the trillions.
I do not intend to try to convince the Democrats to walk an extra mile in their economics education. They have already exceeded my expectations by abandoning the Keynesian framework of thinking less than two years since the president took office. Rather it is members of the Republican Party---which won a majority in the House of Representatives by riding on the Tea Party movement---who need a good slap on the face in order to wake up and smell the debt.
De-funding a program that opens the door to a government takeover of healthcare is nothing more than a good start. We need a plan that will push Washington out of all "entitlement" schemes within a few years, that will limit our short-term deficit to a level similar to the new European Union requirement for fiscally irresponsible nations, and that will set a deadline for paying our debts.
If you must shut the government down, so be it---but have the guts to do it over a worthy goal.