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Plans to tear down old Cole County jail and sheriff's house move forward April 16, 2014

Our Opinion: Partisanship plays out on high-stakes game board

Perhaps we should put a sign outside Congress that warns: “Children playing.”

With a deadline looming a week from today, our representatives and President Obama are playing dangerous political games with our country’s economic future.

If our leaders cannot agree on a method for the U.S. to pay its bills, our country will enter the dangerous realm of defaulting on its obligations.

The national debt now exceeds $14 trillion in borrowed money and continues to grow.

We largely are in this predicament because our elected officials repeatedly have placed political expediency above courageous governing.

Rather than jeopardizing re-election by confronting the politically unpopular choices of raising taxes or cutting spending, our elected leaders and representatives have borrowed money.

Now, the debt ceiling looms. Although elected officials almost uniformly agree default is unacceptable, partisan brinkmanship continues. Each party seems intent not simply on avoiding the crisis, but on seizing the moral and political high ground. None of this is new. This is how the political game is played. The difference, this time, is the magnitude of the risk; the stakes are nothing less than our nation’s economic standing in the world. Within the coming week, the parties likely will agree to a compromise, both sides will claim victory and superior statesmanship, the borrowing will continue and the debt will increase. And despite resolution of the crisis, the game will continue.

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