It's the deficit-reduction package that doesn't reduce the deficit. It's the debt-ceiling deal that doesn't touch the debt ceiling (and doesn't cut debt). It's the long-term entitlement negotiation that—after nearly three years of wheedling—does not delay, let alone stave off, a Baby Boomer retirement bomb currently on pace to swallow half of federal outlays by 2030.
Say this for the fiscal cliff-avoidance bill that passed on New Year's Day, writes Matt Welch, it is a near-perfect expression of Washington's grotesque devolution since Bill Clinton left office. Not only have a succession of Republican and Democratic presidents and congresses combined to jack up spending from $1.8 trillion in Clinton's last year to a baseline level of $3.6 trillion and above, but the process for arriving at these hideous figures has degenerated into a series of endless, man-made, deadline negotiations in lieu of actual budgeting.