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Not only are they still at the table, they are the only ones at the table, and we suckers — the unwitting co-signers on their financial calamity — stand on the sidelines watching them debate.

Is it any wonder, then, that the one reigning principle on which both sides seem to have reached an agreement is that under no circumstances will they stop or slow spending money we do not have unless and until they finalize arrangements for you and me to give them some more of our hard-earned money?

Charles Hurt can be reached at charleshurt@live.com.