Listen, Republicans.  Get your crap together.  There are a few points about the current crisis the party needs to get straight:

First, do not agree to raise taxes - anywhere in any capacity described with any colorful phrases the left can conjure up (balanced approach, additional revenue, cost of living adjustment, simplification of the tax code, whatever).  Do not raise them on the rich, on the poor, on the middle class, on business, on anyone.  The results would be bad politically.  Just ask George Bush Sr. how that worked out for him.  Much worse though would be the economic results.  The economy is in the tank, interest rates are at zero, the housing market is a shambles, we're out of money to spend anymore Keynseian stiumulus, and unemployment is still moving up.  The last thing we need is even more government created at the expense of the job creating portion of the economy. 

The second thing Republicans must not do is permit the debt ceiling to not be increased.  This absurd strain of John Wayne right wing stupidity emanating from the Bachmann wing of the party must stop immediately.  You can't allow the United States AAA rating to be devalued.  This blog was against a bailout in 2008 and stands by that position.  There may have been more acute short term pain but the long term gain would have far outweighed the consequences - and this current debt conundrum is one of the results of that stupid bail out decision.  However, has Michele Bachmann stopped to think what might happen if all the US debt held by various large entitities across the globe were suddenly devalued?  Let me translate for you:  it's very bad.  Vote for an increase and cut the crap.

Third, The Wall Street Journal is right about a balanced budget amendment.  So is the President when he says Congress should just do their jobs.  There's no need to screw up the Constitution because you can't control your own spending.  If it ever passed (probably impossible), it would more likely wind up being an excuse to raise taxes than anything else.  That said, Cut Cap and Balance is by far the best option out there.  While the president may be right about the amendment, he's wrong to use its existence as a reason to oppose Cut Cap and Balance.  Republicans should spend less time being skittish and more time pushing this bill - even if there's no chance the Senate will pass it.  Make them vote against it.  If the Republicans were more united behind this plan, we might even force the president to veto it.  That would be an important victory.

The whole Gang of Six thing - annoying as that dumb name is and the theatrics surrounding it are - came up with some good ideas.  Closing tax loopholes is not raising taxes, so it's good to see the party moving in that direction. Reducing overall rates in exchange for closing loopholes is an even better idea.  However, the details were scanty and deferring the specifics of tax increases to committees in the Democrat controlled Senate is the worst idea in the history of Republicans.  Basically, they're saying "Hey Max Baucus and Demorats who wrote health care, go find a few trillion dollars in the economy."  Let's hope they don't do this.

The best we can hope for at this point is that Boehner comes up with a short term stop gap and backs the President into a corner to sign it.  This whole "playing politics with the debt" line of conventional wisdom is also annoying.  Of course they're playing politics with the debt, that's how government works.  There are too many people in too many places - especially on the right - suggesting that Congress can't get things done efficiently and that "politics" gets in the way of governing.  Politics is supposed to get in the way of governing, that's the point.  Here's David Cote, one of many recent examples:

"It's the sort of thing that scares me is. We're-- I'm-- Honeywell's a global company with $37 billion in sales. Got 130,000 people. Half our sales in people outside the U.S. I've traveled the world a lot and the world has changed. We went from a billion participants in the global economy to four billion over the last 20 years.

Yet we still act like we did 20 years ago. And we need-- an American competitiveness agenda that-- gets our finances right, gets our energy policy, math and science education, infrastructure. And we can't even do something like this. It's very scary as a businessman."

This is bullWe don't need any competitiveness agenda unless it consists of reducing the size and scope of government.  The reason we've been so successful for so long as a nation is that we allow economic direction to grow organically.  No politician said "We need an IPOD.  Get to it Steve Jobs."  Government is a referee and performs best when it gets out of the business of outcomes.  Hayek's Road to Serfdom is paved with entitlements.  The road to entitlements is paved with forced outcomes.  And the road to forced outcomes is paved with do gooders who think they know what's best for everyone.  Cote is by no means a left wing do gooder but too many on the right are flirting with this government as an efficient business model mentality.  Republicans need to shed this nonsense, get on the same page and remember that the only reason we have a government at all is freedom.  There's your vision statement.  Now get back to using the deb ceiling as a poker chip to reduce the size of government.