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I’ve been trying to come up with an analogy for the mess in Washington. I don’t think I’ve been entirely successful, but try this on for size.

Let’s imagine the federal government as a big family. The parents have decided the house needs some remodeling. Most of the kids are excited about that. Some aren’t sure, and a few of the younger ones like things just as they are. But they know they’re outnumbered, so they promise the rest of the family they’ll come up with a better design.

That was way back in January of last year. But since then, they’ve done nothing but complain. So the rest of the family moved ahead, hired an architect, had plans drawn up, got the city building department to approve them, and hired a construction company. Now those younger kids, who never did present their own plan, have hacked into the family’s bank account so the family can’t pay for the work they’ve already committed to.

If you were the parent, what would you do?