When you zoom out far enough, it becomes rather unbelievable that congress is throwing us under the proverbial bus for the sake of political party squabbles. This is not the just economic front, but nearly every LARGE problem we have today has been caused either by their direct action or inaction. At this stage, I think their mismanagement and misdirection may well have sapped American's motivation and energy. If congress weren't in the way, I'm certain the American spirit would re-emerge, as it has done many times in the past, and reconstruct our once great country.
One of the deficiencies I see in our form of democracy is that the people have no direct input. Oh sure, we can vote out the scurge, but time softens issues and many are forgotten by the time election day rolls around. In a case like the current budget talks, it's too bad there isn't some clause that says... if congress cannot agree on a plan, then the issue will be submitted to the American people for direct vote, and congress WILL accept the result. This clause alone would provide incentive to AGREE on compromise, and probably change the whole bi-party landscape!