Kudos to Jared Bernstein for this spot-on analysis of how we got here, specifically why is Washington now consumed with self-inflicted "crisis" after "crisis".  We recommend you read the entire post but here is a sample:

"I’m reminded of a particularly pernicious rule of today’s politics: the self-fulfilling prophecy of dysfunction.  Many of today’s conservatives run for office on a platform that government doesn’t work.  And when they’re elected, they work their hardest to prove it true.  They say, “we’re Greece!” when of course we’re nothing like Greece, then they threaten default to make us Greece.

This is an alarmingly simple ploy, but once you tune into it you see it everywhere.  The prophets of dysfunction must convince us a spending crisis, an entitlement crisis, and debt crisis despite their factual inaccuracies.  It there’s no crisis—if, as is clearly the case—our fiscal challenges can actually be met with reasonable policies involving analysis (e.g., squeezing inefficiencies out of health care delivery) and compromise (spending cuts and revenue increases), these hair-on-fire-slash-and-burners have no use.

An important job of progressives throughout history is the exposure of such false prophets.  Of course, these prophets have huge profits riding on their ruse, so they won’t leave quietly.  But we must expose them nevertheless.  Our system is broken because a broken system works for the false prophets of dysfunction.  It doesn’t work for the rest of us."