Tuesday, August 2, 2011
The Debt Deal: A Temporary Truce
I have a new post up on The Corner detailing why the debt deal is only a patch, and the real fights are still to come:
Fittingly, the “deal” that has emerged from the protracted, months-long stand-off on the debt limit isn’t so much a deal as it is a (very) temporary truce between the parties. Because, while its passage will result in some real and desirable spending reductions in exchange for a bump up in allowable federal borrowing, it also purposely sets the stage for new confrontations in the months ahead — confrontations that will bring to the surface all of the reasons this battle has been so heated, and which weren’t resolved at all by [the deal]....
For starters, it’s clear that both sides will find it exceedingly hard to live with the automatic cuts that will go into place if no plan comes out of the joint committee, or if the plan that does come out is defeated in the House or Senate. Keith Hennessey estimates that the automatic 2013 cut in defense could reach 10 percent. That’s not responsible, and most Republicans would find it extremely difficult to swallow.
Indeed, the Democrats are hoping that enough Republicans will balk at this prospect that the joint committee will be able to recommend a “balanced package” – meaning something with tax hikes. But as Hennessey notes, the automatic cuts in domestic spending would be nearly as deep as they would be for defense — perhaps 8 percent in 2013. And so it’s not clear who would feel the most pressure. Are rank-and-file Democrats really ready to go along with automatic, across-the-board cuts in education, labor, and health programs? Moreover, the president is the commander-in-chief. No one will get more blame than he will get if the military is hamstrung, and the country more vulnerable, from the cuts that would be imposed by political gamesmanship.
Read the whole post here.