Washington's still kicking the can down the road

Children ride bikes past the Capitol Rotunda on Capitol Hill July 10, 2014 in Washington, DC. 

Remember when Jon Stewart went on Crossfire – the old Crossfire, with Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson, not the new one with Newt Gingrich and whatstheirnames – and begged them to "Stop, stop hurting America"?

Not to put myself on the same level as Stewart, but here's my paraphrase: Washington is hurting America.

Yes, I know Washington has been dysfunctional for years now. And that we've all somehow become accustomed to politicians kicking the proverbial can down the road (gee, love that phrase) on serious and substantive issues of economic policy.

Maybe I'm being naïve here. But, the news this week that the White House has signed on to the Congressional quick fix to shore up the Highway Trust Fund for the short term was especially disspiriting. Why?

You know, I'm not sure. I guess because...in the not too distant past, we had a budget deal. We had responsible politicians acting the way they ought to, planning for the long term and not doing the nation's business in six-month chunks. I guess I thought maybe things had changed.

And then I remembered.

Naïve is probably right.


CORRECTION: The original version of this story incorrectly spelled Jon Stewart's name. The text has been corrected.

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

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