To put today's national debt argument in perspective, take a look at this chart of US national debt over the long term. Oh, and read the bullet points underneath. Pay attention to this one:
This is not a political issue: politicians on both sides of the aisle are perfectly aware that setting the US on a sustainable fiscal course would mean massive pain for the common citizen, and an immediate termination of all existing political careers: after all the myth of the welfare state is at stake. It is in everyone's interest - both GOP and Democrat - to perpetuate the unsustainable deficit status quo indefinitely. Any theatrics out of the GOP demanding fiscal conservatism are therefore just that - theatrics.On this topic, I am not sure it is possible to talk about a genuinely unified GOP. The most dedicated Tea Partyers are a different crowd -- some of them are that rarest of animals, the sincere politician, and actually committed to doing what they said they would do. That is one reason why these debt negotiations last year and this have been so difficult for the establishment pols of both parties.