Reported ‘deal’ reads a whole lot like Democratic capitulation

News sources are reporting a ‘deal’ between debt-default negotiators that, if passed, reads to me like a massive capitulation by the Democratic Party to the Tea Party ransom demand.

That Americans want something to happen is clear from the volume of phone calls to Congress. (I tried to call Sen. John Kerry’s office this morning but his voicemail in Boston and Washington were full.) But from my perspective, “something” should not be “anything.”

Here is the deal, as summarized by from at least two news sources:
— Immediate budget cuts of about $1 trillion in exchange for raising the debt ceiling
enough for the government to function for another five or six months.
— Targeted additional cuts of roughly $1.8 trillion to be arrived at by a bipartisan
special committee which must make recommendations by Thanksgiving.
— Authorization to cut, presumably proportionately, across the board, including
Medicare, in January should the Congress fail to endorse these recommendations.
— Agreement to allow both Houses of Congress to vote on a Balanced Budget Amendment
(such amendments are so rare that the last one ratified and added to the
Constitution as the 27th Amendment was in 1992. It set limits on Congressional pay
raises and dated back to an idea of one of the Founding Fathers.)

So what’s so bad about this arrangement? From my perspective a whole lot.

1. It raises no additional revenue — something polls show a majority of Americans support.
(For now at least, millionaires will keep their Bush tax cuts, their inheritance
protection, their corporate jet loopholes and so forth. Programs will be cut, no
question. But no one will be asked to sacrifice to keep the social safety net from
getting seriously frayed.)
2. It assures another donnybrook a few months ahead and more months of paralyzed
3. It endorses the decision to simply make large across-the-board cuts a few months down
the road because no one can agree on the right thing to do.
4. It essentially allows our elected officials the right to NOT govern, to do little more
than run for re-election.

Is it better for the government to default on its debts? To me, it’s starting to look like an awfully close call.


About jerrylanson

I teach, write, coach and sing, though you're not required to listen to the latter. I'm a journalism professor at Emerson College in Boston. My third book, "Writing for Others, Writing for Ourselves," was published in November by Rowman & Littlefield Publishing. You can read a sample chapter at My passions are politics (generally liberal in outlook), music, mountains, golden retrievers and my grandchildren, though not in that order. Please stop by and mix it up with me. I always answer those who post.
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One Response to Reported ‘deal’ reads a whole lot like Democratic capitulation

  1. The deal involves $1 trillion in cuts over the next decade. Merely ending the Bush-era tax cuts (which should have been allowed to expire at the end of last year anyway) would result in $3.9 trillion in revenue over that same period, and, contrary to the Republican lie, endorsed by Obama, that this would cause grave economic harm, practically no one except those at the top would have even noticed it–median household income in the U.S. is just over $46,000, and the Bush tax cuts give such a household less than $18/week.

    This is a capitulation, exactly as you describe, but giving Republicans ANYTHING in exchange for raising the debt ceiling was, alone, a complete capitulation, and should have never even been contemplated. This new deal sets us up for a major gutting of Medicare in six months, when Republicans will necessitate it by throwing exactly the same tantrum they just did to get their way on this.

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