Both President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner interrupted regularly scheduled programming a few hours ago to talk to Americans about how the other is making it impossible to solve the debt-ceiling crisis. Obama was up first, and while he spoke about nice things like bi-partisanship and a balanced approach to solving the debt problem, he also said the GOP was sending the country on a path to "a deep economic crisis — one caused almost entirely by Washington."
"Defaulting on our obligations is a reckless and irresponsible outcome to this debate," Obama said. "And Republican leaders say that they agree we must avoid default. But the new approach that Speaker Boehner unveiled today, which would temporarily extend the debt ceiling in exchange for spending cuts, would force us to once again face the threat of default just six months from now. In other words, it doesn't solve the problem."
Boehner, of course, sees things differently. While millions of Americans wished they were watching MasterChef, Boehner told them how impossible Obama is to work with. "The president would not take yes for an answer," he said. "Even when we thought we might be close on an agreement, the president's demands changed."
Financial markets reacted to the lack of progress with alarm on Monday: President Obama warned in his speech that government bonds could be downgraded from their triple-A rating, and investors seemed inclined to take that very seriously. Stocks took a slight hit on Monday, though Asian markets were up slightly on Tuesday morning, but the concern is the longer-term one: A U.S. downgrade, combined with Europe's current economic woes, and slowed growth in China and India, could bring about a fresh global financial crisis.
Once Obama and Boehner were done talking, though, everyone went back to watching the TV shows they really wanted to watch and the issue was no closer to being solved.