Congress has really legislated itself into a corner. For decades, it has created and expanded wonderful entitlement programs to make our lives better, and incidentally, to ensure the perpetual re-election of its members.
Congress has spared no expense to give us roads and museums named after its illustrious members, subsidized industries, unsustainable entitlements and a bureaucracy that knows no bounds. Our elected representatives have done all this without thinking much about how those benefits would be paid for. Instead, they rely on borrowing and printing money as well as a multitude of other financial gimmicks to make all these benefits appear free to us, the beneficiaries.
But when the economy slumped in 2008, our illustrious leaders found that revenues had dropped so low that the government was unable to keep up with its promises. In the summer of 2011, they found it necessary to raise the debt limit in order to keep the government afloat. With an election looming, they knew they could not cut spending or raise taxes, as this might anger voters. So they kicked the can down the road with legislation that included drastic spending cuts and tax increases that would automatically kick in on Jan. 1, after they were all safely re-elected.