Fiscal Wishes Meet Shutdown Realities

Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy speaks to reporters as he walks back to his office after opening the House floor in the Capitol on September 26, 2023. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

One of the unexpected joys of parenthood is reencountering Mother Goose. The charming old poems collected as fare for very young children are full of frank, often quite bracing, folk wisdom. One of my favorites is this classic warning:

If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

If turnips were watches, I’d wear one by my side.

If “ifs” and “ands” were pots and pans,

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