On Sunday, August 19, the Miller Center partnered with ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” on the third of six special episodes examining some of the key issues heading into the 2012 Election. On Sunday, six distinguished panelists discussed and debated whether or not the U.S. is headed towards bankruptcy. Today’s guest post is from political scientist and former Miller Center Fellow Jasmine Farrier offering her assessment of the arguments presented in the debate.
Let’s reconcile the harsh sound bite and glib wrap-up – both telling moments in the Miller Center panel this past Sunday on ABC News’ “This Week”. First, Grover Norquist called President George H.W. Bush a liar for breaking the infamous 1988 “no new taxes” pledge in 1990. Second, despite profound disagreements over entitlements, revenue, and discretionary appropriations, some of the other panelists concluded that somehow America will muddle through the current economic and political crises and stave off European-style bankruptcy.
While this final sentiment may strike some as naïve in light of the deep partisan and policy divisions showcased on the program, Norquist’s barb inadvertently served as a reminder that it is OK to indulge in this bit of optimistic fantasy.