I like to check in on my former home of Belgium from time to time, and it turns out Tuesday was a historic day in the land of good beer and chocolate:
Belgium tied the world record with Iraq for time without a government on Tuesday, but months of political waffling that was once a joke is quickly wearing thin.
Tuesday marks the 289th day the country’s bickering Dutch-speaking and Francophone politicians have failed to form a government after a June 13 election — and there’s no agreement on the horizon.
Early irritation turned into almost giddy celebration as the country broke the European record in January. Then parties were thrown last month as Belgium matched the time it took for an initial agreement to form an Iraqi government two years ago. Iraq then took another month to actually present its government.
On Tuesday, as the real moment came and went, Belgium was subdued.
“Belgium was subdued” — now there’s a line that could be said nearly every day, government or no government.
Belgium’s lack of a government isn’t really akin to the potential government shutdown in this country: There, the bureaucracy continues to operate on autopilot under a “caretaker” political leadership, rather than closing up shop. But having political leaders unable to increase spending would have been preferable to the spend-spend-spend Congresses of the past decade.
Anyone up for a “caretaker Congress”? It couldn’t be worse than what we’ve had most of the last 10 years…
– By Kyle Wingfield
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