There was one moment in last Thursday's GOP presidential debate that seemed to sum things up.
The candidates were asked if they would agree to a long-term budget/deficit reduction deal that was tilted 10 to 1 in favor of spending cuts over tax increases. This would be an unbelievably favorable outcome for anti-tax Republicans.
Every candidate said they'd reject it.
This got plenty of attention in the Saturday New York Times.
Guest columnist and radio host Kurt Andersen wrote:
And the most surprising, depressing moment was when former Gov. Jon Huntsman, along with the seven others, raised his hand after being asked if, as president, he'd reject a hypothetical deal on debt reduction that increased tax revenue by $1 for every $10 of spending cuts.
Several paragraphs and topics later, he added:
I find ideologues creepy because they're like robots, built to respond to the fluid, complicated world in simple, unchanging ways.
Of course, if it's "ideologues" you find creepy, then corporate media's rulebook requires that you find some counter-example from the "other side, in order to demonstrate that your own middle-of-the-road non-ideology is superior. Andersen does just that; after explaining that a "no spending cuts to social welfare programs" pledge signed by Democrats turned out to be a hoax, he writes:
However, there is the Social Security Protectors Pledge, whose signers vow to 'oppose any cuts to Social Security benefits, including increasing the retirement age.' A majority of House Democrats are signatories. And so the robotification of American politics proceeds.
So: the Republican presidential nominees refuse to entertain any tax increases in order to find a deficit-debt solution–which makes actually solving the debt problem almost impossible.
But Democrats are just as bad. Despite the program's massive surplus, and the fact that it plays no role in the country's deficit/debt problem, Democrats won't cut benefits. What a bunch of robots!