America is a brand that is exported daily through its protection of fundamental human rights, its currency dominance, and its Hollywood movies and pop culture appeal. But when its own system proves to be paralyzed by self-serving politics, the legitimacy of the brand is thrown into question both at home and overseas.
A recent visit to a free hotel buffet got me thinking about the broadly subsidized costs of such things. As the debt-ceiling dialogue revealed, the ethos of wanting things cheap or free has saturated our political culture. Cheaper government now, many clearly think, won't entail costs later. But isn't everyone—including me—indirectly paying?