The Common Good

PHOTO: Short-term budget fixes and shutdown fears loom once more

Washington's version of the 1993 movie "Groundhog Day" is again showing in the theater that has become Congress: Budget negotiations are underway again. In that iconic movie, a weatherman, played by Bill Murray, is doomed to repeat the day he dreads, over and over again. But, in the movie, Murray finally decides to set aside his hatred of the event, and use the repeated days to learn more about the town, befriend its citizens, and fall in love with his news producer, played by Andie MacDowell. Finally, his love for her breaks the spell and at movie's end, Murray wakes to a new day. In the Washington budget version of the drama, there is no Andie MacDowell.

The immediate deadline was Dec. 13. Negotiators Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., have reached a small deal to keep the government open, limit the sequester, and trim the deficit by a mere $2.2 billion a year. The deal may be a welcome departure from previous meltdowns, but it does not address any of the real budget problems facing the country. It is a compromise to be sure, but a small one.