I spent most of July in the UK, with limited Internet access (exacerbated by my Verizon iPhone’s inability to communicate with the European cellular services), and (I’ve only just realized this now) without buying even a single newspaper. So I know almost nothing of what’s gone on in the U.S. over the past several weeks, except for some vague sense that there was a brouhaha over raising the debt ceiling. Even over the few days I’ve been back, I’ve felt no urgency about catching up, though I’m sure that will kick in any day now.
There was, of course, never any need to raise the debt ceiling; there was only a need to prioritize debt service over other stuff the government shouldn’t be doing anyway. To a very rough approximation, the annual budgets of the Departments of Commerce, Agriculture and Labor add up to the annual interest payments on the national debt.
Be that as it may, it will be interesting to catch up on the news and see what got cut. For now, I’ll just say that if we still have a Department of Commerce, then they didn’t cut enough. If we still have a Corporation for Public Broadcasting, or a National Endowment for the Arts or Humanities, then they didn’t even try.
But now that I’m back, I’m unlikely to dwell on what’s become old news. My plan is to ramp back up to regular blogging, starting with a few things that struck me as noteworthy while I was traveling in Britain. I hope you’ll forgive my long absence. It’s good to be back.