FORTUNE -- I guess we're all supposed to feel relieved, happy, and gratified that our alleged leaders in Washington have finally managed to approve reopening the government and keeping our country from defaulting on its debts.
The stock market loved it, with the Wilshire 5000, the broadest measure of the U.S. stock market, reaching a record high on Wednesday, and extending it on Thursday, when the S&P 500 (SPX) also closed at a record high. The bond market loved it. The short-term Treasury market, which had been acting hinky as default moved from inconceivable to distinctly possible, loved it, too.
I don't know about you, but I didn't love what I saw. I'm relieved that we didn't have a debt default, which would have made the damage from Lehman Brothers' 2008 bankruptcy look like a rounding error. But I'm still angry about what I've just seen.
Why? Because we haven't resolved any of the underlying issues or even gotten good-behavior pledges from the major players. By the end of this year or early next year, we could be back in debt-ceiling crisis mode again. We've called a brief time out, but the game is still being played, and by the same rules.
Clearly, the most blame for this fiasco lies with the Tea Party types. But they wouldn't have had the impact they had without their enablers in the Republican Party, who through either conviction or cowardice didn't stand up to them until very late in the game.
And while the Democrats aren't to blame for this latest debacle, they've been, collectively, no prizes. Democrats could have long since solved the problem of the big entitlement programs -- Social Security and Medicare -- that will eat us alive if left unchecked. But rather than tweak these programs, Democrats are defending them -- and their current benefit levels -- as if they were Holy Writ handed down by the Lord from Mt. Sinai.
Then there's the White House. Two years ago, during the debt ceiling debacle in the summer of 2011, the Republican zealots managed to roll President Obama by getting him to agree to what has since become the sequester.
Then this year, we saw Obama proposing (publicly) to take military action against Syria, and proposing (semi-publicly) to nominate Larry Summers as head of the Federal Reserve. The Obama forces talked and spun and leaked, but at the last minute, faced with serious opposition, the President in both cases walked away.
If you were a Tea Party zealot, this history would encourage you to think that Obama could be rolled this time, too. In fact, had the tea party types gone after something other than Obamacare, they might have succeeded in extracting serious concessions.
In an ideal world, I would throw everyone in Washington out of office, even the good people, and start all over again with a new set. Unfortunately, I have no idea how to do that.
However, because I'm fundamentally an optimist -- an optimist who's deeply angry, but nevertheless an optimist -- I like to think that our alleged leaders might have learned something from this debacle.
It may have dawned on the tea party people that maybe they're not as right -- or as bright -- as they thought they were. It may have dawned on the Republican leaders that they should lead, regardless of the risk to their own political careers, because they have responsibilities to the country rather than just to themselves.
And it may have dawned on the Democrats in both Congress and the White House, who tend to go on about "root causes" when it comes to problems like poverty, that their unwillingness to tweak Social Security and Medicare or to challenge other runaway federal programs is the root cause of the anger that has given the Tea Party such outsized influence.
But, after all, we're talking about Washington politicians, possibly the only group who are more self-involved and self-regarding than the people in my business.
Therefore, even though I'm now about to put my anger back in the cage where I normally keep it, I'm afraid that after a brief hiatus, all the players will go back to being themselves.
And that, of course, is the most enraging thought of all.
The real lesson of recent scandals should be this: Civil service reform is desperately needed in Washington.
By Tory Newmyer, writer
FORTUNE -- What's becoming clearer now probably should have been obvious from the beginning: The IRS scandal sprung from bureaucratic incompetence -- and not some grand conspiracy to stifle the Obama administration's opponents that goes all the way to the top.
That won't deter the President's lead inquisitor, House Oversight and MOREJun 4, 2013 6:31 AM ET
Emerging growth companies may need emerging growth banks.
Over the past several months, I've been critical of venture capitalists who believe over-regulation has prevented some of their portfolio companies from going public. In fact, I've characterized the so-called "IPO crisis" as imaginary.
But that debate ended yesterday, when the U.S. Senate passed the JOBS Act. The House of Reps is expected to vote on the amended bill next week, after which President MOREDan Primack - Mar 23, 2012 10:47 AM ET
Why the JOBS Act does, and doesn't, matter.
The Senate right now is debating the JOBS Act, with a full vote expected later this afternoon. Champions of the legislation, including a large number of venture capitalists, argue that it will increase capital access for emerging businesses. Critics believe it is a dangerous rollback of investor protections, including some put in place following the Enron and Worldcom accounting scandals.
So who's right? From MOREDan Primack - Mar 22, 2012 12:44 PM ET
Private equity stands to lose big from Obama's corporate tax overhaul.
President Obama yesterday unveiled plans to reform the corporate tax code, including an item that strikes at the very heart of private equity. No, I'm not talking about taxes on carried interest, even though Obama did reiterate that they should be treated as ordinary income. Instead, this is about the deductibility of interest on corporate debt (i.e., the "L" in MOREDan Primack - Feb 23, 2012 11:01 AM ET
Chris Christie's blunt talk crosses the line.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is tired of Warren Buffett's tax talk, telling CNN's Piers Morgan that the famed investor "should just write a check and shut up."
No Chris, he shouldn't. And someone in your position shouldn't be telling him to do so.
To be clear, this isn't about the merits or demerits of Buffett's preferred tax scheme. Or Christie's, for that matter. It's about an elected MOREDan Primack - Feb 22, 2012 12:34 PM ET
Don't expect bombshells in Romney's tax returns.
Mitt Romney tomorrow will release his 2010 and 2011 tax returns, after which folks like me will spend hours going through the details.
And I do mean hours (plural), because these returns will be hundreds of pages long. There's no short form when you're invested in dozens of private investment partnerships.
Here's what I'll be looking for:
Overall rate: Romney last week admitted that he pays closer MOREDan Primack - Jan 23, 2012 3:05 PM ET
Updated 1/23 Mitt Romney is running for president as a "job creator," based on his time as a venture capitalist and private equity investor at Bain Capital. Some of his rivals are beginning to accuse Romney of being more of a job destroyer, citing some of Bain's more troubled investments.
So we've decided to keep track of who is saying what about Romney's tenure at Bain, and about private equity in the MOREDan Primack - Dec 13, 2011 3:01 PM ET
It's human nature to want to be able to say, "I told you so" when a prediction you've made comes true. But there are times — including this one — that I wish I'd been wrong.
Back in August, I wrote a rage-filled screed about the fools, cowards and incompetents who brought our country to the brink of defaulting on its debts, averting total catastrophe by passing last-minute debt-ceiling legislation that MOREAllan Sloan, senior editor-at-large - Nov 10, 2011 6:09 AM ET
By Larry Doyle, contributor
I received a call yesterday from a reporter inquiring about my recent post Occupy Wall Street' Should 'Occupy Washington. Having had a number of previous discussions with this reporter, I welcomed her question as to what I thought the OWS movement should look to achieve or demand.
I prefaced my comments by stating that I hope civil unrest and random violence do not come from these demonstrations. America MOREOct 11, 2011 1:29 PM ET
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