The worried looks on the faces of the incumbent and the two candidates belie their intentions.
The massed congress and senators staring questioningly into the cameras belies the survivor in each one of them.
When someone, anyone, stands up and says: "I'll take a 50% pay cut if it will help my country." Then the political and economic leadership may, at a stretch, regain some of its credibility.
Searching as they are for some technical solution to this man-made fiscal fiasco is tantamount to searching for a pardon. How can US electorate pardon the unpardonable? One means them no disrespect of course, but it is their country, their politicians, their views and their vote.
No matter how long he may plan or how bitter he feels or how well-financed and supported he is, Osama Bin Laden would be hard-pressed to wreak as much havoc on the United States through acts of terrorism has the US electorate has managed through negligence to weaken itself to the degree that it has.
Terrorists can relax for many years to come, the US is well on the way to self-terror.
One is conscious that a 50% pay cut for each individual in the public service in the United States, politicians and staff, would resolve the problems of the US in a blink of an eye.
In the meantime we watch bemused as greed knocks at the foundations of a once meaningful sovereignty.