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With the debt ceiling deadline looming and the government shutdown now in Day 14, the problem in Washington is a "case of massive dysfunction and lack of leadership," former Citigroup Chairman Richard Parsons told CNBC on Monday.
"It's sad. There's no good story you can tell. There's nothing that you say, 'At least out of this will come X or Y or Z,'" he contended in a "Squawk Box" interview.
The stalemate after a weekend of negotiations reflects "narrow-focused" partisan politics, said Parsons, who served as a member of then President-elect Barack Obama's economic transition team in 2008.
"It's never one guy's fault," he said, adding that there's a "new breed of politician. A lot of the highly conservative element that's come in … are actually anti-democratic."
"The will of the people, … which is a founding principle of this country, is no longer relevant," Parsons said.
(Read more: Debt ceiling stock sell-off a buy: Strategists)
In response, Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., said there isn't really a debt limit crisis, and those who believe that are "pro-American."
"We recognize the seriousness of the financial issues we've been in," he said on "Squawk Box," but added that he and fellow conservatives define a U.S. default differently, and more narrowly than Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, who set Thursday as the deadline to increase the nation's borrowing limit.
"If you're talking about a default—in the financial markets, we're really talking about paying creditors," Brooks said. "We have roughly $2.5 trillion a year in revenue, according to the GAO [and] roughly $250 billion a year on interest obligations."
"We have the revenue to pay our creditors," he maintained, even if there's not enough money to also pay other government obligations like Social Security payments.