John Boehner is in the same spot he was in a week ago, when he walked out of budget negotiations with President Obama. He doesn't have the votes. The difference this time is that he doesn't have the votes for his own plan, not the president's.
In today's Globe and Mail, Jeffrey Simpson suggests that Canada should take advantage of American weakness:
In the longer term, the U.S. fiscal mess offers Canada opportunities to improve its comparative position – but only if Canada invests in the minds of its people and its competitive infrastructure.
There is so guarantee that will happen. The newly elected Canadian government has taken its inspiration from the Republican Party, and it advocates policies similar to Boehner's. But Americans should understand that what is happening in Washington is carefully being monitored in government councils around the world -- more out of self interest than sympathy.
If the traditional advantage the United States has held over most countries is diminished, you can be certain there are plenty of nations which will seize the opportunity to improve their own situations. Simpson writes:
The great advantage the U.S. enjoyed over Canada (and many other countries) in its publicly financed universities, research funding, graduate fellowships and faculty hiring will diminish. The K-12 system, where teachers already are paid much less than their Canadian counterparts, will be further assaulted by cuts.
If Canada were smart, it would realize it needs to invest in the things that will make the country more competitive, while we bring down budget deficits by spending less on things that don’t.
What is presently being played out in Washington is tragic -- and, unlike a Greek drama, the ending has never been inevitable. But the ending could indeed be of Greek proportions.
This entry is cross posted at The Moderate Voice.