The 113th Congress has been seated and will get right to work on the next step in the big budget debate - spending.
Already we are being warned of yet another event horizon: the Debt Crevasse.
Conservatives are warning that unless they can win substantial cuts in government spending, they will block any increase in the debt ceiling. That will force the United States of America either to refuse to pay its bondholders, or to start closing its offices and withholding government checks.
We all roll our eyes and wonder, what kind of crazy system sabotages itself like this?
But if you reflect for a moment, you realize that's how MOST unpleasant tasks ultimately get done.
Everybody wants government run the way we run our own lives, right? Well, wish granted.
How did you finish your big college papers? Using careful time management techniques?
No. You partied, you BS'd about it, and then the night before it was due, you picked up two six-packs of some energy drink, and churned out 50 pages cut and pasted from the internet.
Human beings need a deadline. A threat.
Congress, being the highest legislative authority in the land, must impose its own threats, but it's the same thing.
We don't have absolute rulers, which means the difficult decisions require the consent of at least 278 people. It's the 217 members of the House, 60 members of the Senate, and one president, each of whom was stubborn enough to survive an election to get where they are.
It's happened throughout our history and based on everything I read about the debt ceiling, it's about two months away from happening again.