"Beclowned." That was a characterization made by Washington Post economics columnist Catherine Rampell when commenting on the U.S. debt limit deal.

And that was one of the kindest assessments of the agreement I’ve found. The last-minute deal averted a genuine crisis, but it confirmed the ugliest assessments of U.S. politics and policymaking. Fortunately, those sentiments are already priced in: Its partners expect this silliness from the U.S. That isn’t license to continue such awful business as usual; it is an upsetting commentary on expectations of U.S. leadership.

A legislative quirk obliges the U.S. government to authorize issuance of new debt whenever the national deficit hits the existing ceiling. In other words, Congress has to pass legislation to pay bills already incurred when obligations hit the current debt limit.