Maryann Tobin

Pledges are fine for Boy Scouts, but they represent nothing but disaster for America. Behind the current debt ceiling debate is a pledge from conservative activist Grover Norquist. In the pledge, republicans must refuse to raise revenue - not matter what. In the case of the debt ceiling debate, the no matter what includes a willingness to crash the US economy and send world financial markets into turmoil.

The Grover Norquist pledge is more than a tool by one man to manipulate the direction of an entire county; it is a sign of the decay of representative government. If politicians are beholden to a Norquist-sponsored pledge, then they cannot also be working in the best interests of the nation.

In the end, the self-created economic crisis brought on by the Norquist pledge serves no one. If the US defaults on its debt because to republican refusal to compromise, even millionaires will pay - through rising interests rates, jobs losses, and economic contraction on global markets.

It's one thing to take a pledge, it's another to take down a government enforcing it. What the republicans and Grover Norquist seem to be missing is common sense, and a desire to care about anything but themselves.