I was all set to rant about how all this stupid political posturing in Congress was about to create financial chaos, when lo! the sparring parties managed, somehow, to put aside their ideologies and agree to some kind of compromise. Of course, the sticking point were these Tea Party rookies who haven't yet learned that in strong winds, grass survives because it bends, while trees stand stiff and resist the wind and thus they break.
Earlier tonight I saw some talking-head show where one of the Tea Party rookies naturally said, "Hey, it wasn't us, it was the oldsters who've been there 30 years who made this mess." And yeah, he was right. The underlying mess wasn't created by the Tea Party rookies. But if everybody stuck to their guns, with no chance for compromise, millions of people who did all the things they were supposed to do, and contributed to the Social Security kitty all those years, would have been told, "Sorry, we can't pay you." And the military members who the Tea Party people seem to think they emulate would have gone unpaid also.
Of course, it's not really over just yet. Everybody still has to vote, and let's face it, little bits of the crisis they're supposed to be trying to prevent will still come to be. The US economy, and the US government itself, will not stop on a dime. It's more like one of those oil supertankers that need thousands of feet to make even the smallest course changes.
And, for what it's worth. a balanced budget is mandatory. There's no way it can just be pushed aside. But adding a constitutional amendment saying the budget must be balanced cheapens the Constitution. You don't have to add an amendment in order to do it. Just... do it.