Deal or No Deal? The Answer? Surrender!
By Mark Riley
Blog Entry 8/1/11
That fetid smell wafting across the US this morning is the rancid smell of surrender. President Obama raised the white flag to Republican hostage takers, and the only thing left to do is vote on a debt reduction deal that will not put a single American back to work. Sure, world markets rose on news of the deal. But so what? Paul Krugman makes it plain in the NY Times. He calls the deal a disaster. He may be an optimist.
So here are the devilish details. The deficit will be cut by $2.5 trillion over a decade. $900 billion to a trillion will come from domestic discretionary spending (watch what they start cutting), and there will be no new revenues. That’s right. No increased taxes on the wealthy. Once again, the president punts on making those best off in this society pay a nickel more. When he did this before, on the Bush tax cuts, some (including me) thought he’d live to fight another day. I was wrong.
The other $1.5 trillion dollars will be cut by a so-called super-committee of 12 lawmakers. They could, in theory, recommend taxing the rich, but don’t bet on it. Half the committee members will be Republican. If no deal can be reached by this useless group, $1.2 trillion in across the board cuts would go into effect in early 2013. The Big Three (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid) would then be on the table.
THIS IS LUNACY! The Democrats, from President Obama on down, gave away too much. Worse, he now looks like a weakened chief executive to the rest of the world. Now the GOP, despite the wailings of Michele Bachman, have Barack Obama over a barrel. For them, holding the American people hostage worked. The question is, what’s next? President Obama would have done better to test their mettle by invoking the 14th Amendment than capitulating like this.
And if this debt deal doesn’t have the effect of lifting the US economy (it won’t), guess who the Republicans will blame? Anyone think the unemployment rate will drop like a stone because (yet again) the rich won’t see a modest tax increase? Barack Obama may well have given his base a gilt edged reason to desert him next year. He’d better hope they have short memories.
Today I mourn not for a bad debt deal, but the damage this whole thing has caused our system of government. For once, Republican overreach has paid off. The only question now is, what’s next?