Moderate right-wing and extreme right-wing lawmakers reach historic compromise on thing that shouldn’t exist
Contrary to popular opinion, the debt-ceiling does not limit the amount the US government can borrow, it’s actually an arbitrarily set repayment cap on debts already incurred. Let that sink in for a second.
Nowhere but in our inept government would such a thing exist. In fact, it’s such a stupid idea that only one other country in the world has a debt-ceiling (Denmark) and they keep it artificially high, so they’ll never have to face the manufactured crisis we’ve just experienced, nor would their most malfeasant legislators ever have the opportunity to hijack Denmark’s economy.
The terrorists definitely won here; don’t kid yourself. The Republicans took our economy–and the world’s economy–hostage. And our purportedly Democratic President negotiated with the thugs. It’s not that he’s bad at negotiating; he didn’t have to negotiate. Since its ill-advised creation in ’62, the debt-ceiling has been raised 74 without being tied to deficit-reduction measures. This is not even a compromise, as the word is commonly used. It’s an utter failure of governance.
I’ll let Ezra Klein give you the numbers breakdown:
The deficit-reduction side includes $1 trillion in cuts now, $1.5 trillion (or more) in deficit reduction later, and a vote on a balanced budget amendment. Meanwhile, it raises the debt ceiling by $900 billion immediately, and either $1.5 trillion (if the second deficit reduction package or a balanced budget amendment passes) or $1.2 trillion (if neither pass) later. Either way, the Treasury should have plenty of borrowing authority to get us to 2013.
Failure. Overzealous capitulation to the point of complicity. To call Obama a secret Muslim or socialist is insane. What he is is a secret Republican. And it’s barely a secret to those outside of the Tea Party loony bin. The most pernicious aspect of the deal is the trigger. According to Klein:
If Congress doesn’t pass a second round of deficit reduction, the trigger cuts $1.2 trillion over 10 years. Fully half of that comes from defense spending.
Somehow–lack of Democratic balls/ovaries/spine/principles–the extreme right-wing managed to piggyback its governing MO onto a completely routine and unrelated matter. But the real evil genius lies in the trigger. There’s been one imperialist sacred cow in our national budget since WWII, and those who’ve sought to rein in the bloated military beast have usually paid the political price. So, basically, what the trigger does is it paints Democrats into a corner. They’ll have a choice to cut a slew of social programs, possibly including Medicare, infrastructure, and moneys generally meant to improve our citizens’ lives and the economy on the whole, or be painted as unpatriotic swine who want to slash defense and, therefor, submit to Sharia Law.
The Republicans, aside from absolutely trouncing the Democrats initially, have set them up to choose between Guns & Butter. And we can’t fight three wars with butter.
But at least it’s all over. Until it happens again.