A deal on the debt ceiling looks imminent, but is it any good?

It looks like our elected leaders in Washington may have finally struck a deal that would see the federal debt ceiling raised, thereby averting a situation with America’s credit rating… which would have, by the way, likely hit us all pretty hard in the pocketbook. Here, with more on that, is a quote from Obama a few days ago.

…(F)or those who say they oppose tax increases on anyone, a lower credit rating would result potentially in a tax increase on everyone in the form of higher interest rates on their mortgages, their car loans, their credit cards. And that’s inexcusable…

On the subject of taxes, I’m still trying to make sense of it, but, from what I can tell, the Republicans seem to have gotten their way. The agreed to legislation, it would appear, would see neither increased taxes on the wealthy, nor the closing of tax loopholes commonly exploited by them. The agreement would, however, see significant cuts to unspecified federal programs, totaling $3 trillion over 10 years. And, while the deal would avert another blow-up like this until after the 2012 election, it would do so by shifting the burden to the White House, thereby allowing Congressional Republicans to avoid personal responsibility for raising the debt ceiling. Here, with more on the specifics, is a clip from the Washington Post’s Felicia Sonmez:

…On Sunday morning, McConnell sketched the outlines of a $3 trillion, debt framework that would pair an immediate increase in the federal borrowing limit with immediate spending cuts. The proposal would also include caps on spending over the next decade and would mandate that a bipartisan committee of lawmakers recommend further cuts and potential changes to entitlement programs by the fall, with a “trigger” mechanism to ensure that action is taken to reduce the debt if the committee reaches a stalemate.

The process would involve a “resolution of disapproval” by Congress that would allow the debt ceiling to be further raised next year if one-third of either chamber agrees – an idea first proposed by McConnell in a “Plan B” he unveiled several weeks ago. The move would shift the political burden of raising the debt ceiling to the White House from congressional Republicans.

Also included in the nascent proposal would be a provision calling for a vote on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution – an element that has become a rallying point for House conservatives. But one potential sticking point in any House vote is that the plan calls only for a vote on such an amendment, not the passage of one, something at which many conservative Republicans are likely to balk…

So, if I’m reading this correctly, not only will the Republicans be able to shift the blame for raising the debt limit (which is something that they know has to happen), to the President, whom they can then attack viscously for doing so, but it also allows them to bring a balanced budget amendment to a vote, which they know will fail (for good reason), but will allow them the opportunity to cast their Democratic rivals as being “against balancing the budget.” I’m inclined to say that this is a horrible deal for the Democrats (and for Americans in general), not just because it seeks to balance the budget on the backs of the non-wealthy, but because it sets the Republicans up nicely to play the victims come November… but maybe I’m missing something. Here, with the other point of view, is a clip from a Reddit reader by the name of garyp714.

…This deal would be a huge win for progressives in ways most progressives rarely concede or understand. The Dems boxed these tea party folk right into showing their asses, acting the fool and killing their chances at reelection. Obama played them like a fiddle and they exposed their ineptness and inability to play politics.

You may not like these games, you may think politics is a game where your side must win every single match 100-0 but that’s not reality, that’s not how US politics works. In terms of US politics, Obama skull fucked Boehner and the tea party into killing their reelection chances while making a deal that isn’t that bad (for fucks sake, we have to start doing something – just like HCR) and doesn’t touch any of the left’s sacred cows.

But just like the far right, the immature progressive users, joining with our far right cacophony will cry a river about how this is a failing of Obama to act like a 13 year old and stomp his feet and do nothing. And that’s sadly, not an accurate portrait of how things work or how the rest of the US and moderates in general will read the situation.

And, as he goes on to point out, the Bush tax cuts are still scheduled to sunset at the end of 2012.

So, what do you think of the deal? Am I being unrealistic when I say that I think we could have pushed for more? Am I naive for thinking that we could have struck a deal with some tax increases on the wealthy, seeing as how a vast majority of Americans (even Republicans) agree that’s the way to go?

update: The following bullets on the deal were just shared with reporters by the White House

• The president will be authorized to increase the debt limit by at least $2.1 trillion, eliminating the need for another increase until 2013.

• The first tranche of cuts will come in at nearly $1 trillion. That includes savings of $350 billion from the Base Defense Budget, which will be trimmed based off a review of overall U.S. national security policy.

• A bipartisan committee with enhanced procedural authority will be responsible for pinpointing $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction from both entitlements and tax reform, as well as other spending programs.

• The committee will have to report out legislation by November 23, 2011.

• Congress will be required to vote on Committee recommendations by December 23, 2011.

• The trigger mechanism — should the committee’s recommendations not be acted upon — will be mandatory spending cuts. Those cuts, which will begin in January 2013, will be split 50/50 between domestic and defense spending. Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries and “low-income programs” would be exempted from those cuts.

As the Huffington Post’s Sam Stein notes, “there is another enforcement mechanism that the president possesses.”

“The Bush tax cuts expire as of 1/1/2013, the same date that the spending sequester [the trigger mechanism] would go into effect,” the fact sheet reads. “These two events together will force balanced deficit reduction. Absent a balanced deal, it would enable the President to use his veto pen to ensure nearly $1 trillion in additional deficit reduction by not extending the high-income tax cuts.”

So, does this mean that the President might have an easier time of allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire? That is, of course, assuming that a Democrat wins in 2012.

update: Glen S just left the following comment in another thread. I thought that I should move it up here.

This evening, President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced that a “compromise” on the debt-ceiling has been reached, and a Senate vote will follow soon.

If passed, Republicans, the Tea Party, and President Obama will get much of what they’ve wanted all along — immediate, massive cuts, followed by additional major cuts that are guaranteed by a sham “Super-Special-Secret-Senate Committee,” and a series of “triggers” that virtually guarantee the cuts will be made one way or the other — and not a single penny in additional taxes on corporations or the wealthiest Americans.

On the House side, the Progressive Caucus has called an “emergency meeting” for tomorrow morning to try to decide whether they will support the deal. Meanwhile, the Congressional Black Caucus already announced (yesterday) that they will not support anything other than a clean, “no-string” debt ceiling bill.

Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced that she wanted to review the final legislation before committing to supporting it, and added:

“I have to meet with my caucus tomorrow to see how they wish to proceed,” Pelosi said. “We all may not be able to support it, or none of us may be able to support it. But we’ll wait and see.”

At this point, this seems to be a done deal … but there is still time to call/e-mail Congressman Dingell and Senators Levin and Stabenow, and ask them to vote against the Republicans and President Obama — and for the American people.

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  1. Posted July 31, 2011 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    I am sick of the perversion of our language. Taxes are something Governments do–our President feeding into debasing our understanding of reality with statements like this
    “(F)or those who say they oppose tax increases on anyone, a lower credit rating would result potentially in a tax increase on everyone in the form of higher interest rates on their mortgages, their car loans, their credit cards. And that’s inexcusable… ” just dumbs down the discussion. Interest rate hikes are not TAXES. Interest rate hikes are what BANKERS do to us, ie. another form of rent extraction. When I pay taxes, I get something in return. A poverty program that helps needy people, a new road, or perhaps a pot hole filled. Since we are paying for our wars with barrowed money, I guess paying the interest on the government bonds is something of value. An interest hike adds no value, and simply pays off the banksters. I am ashamed of my President buying into such shallow polemics–I expected more from a constitutional lawyer—stupid me.

  2. Posted August 1, 2011 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    Although I agree with you, it is true that, in the end, any increase in federal interest rates essentially becomes a tax.

    The government raises interest rates on the money it lends to banks, an increase which gets passed on (eventually) to the consumer.

    Your “tax” supports the ability for the government to lend money to banks, which is a service.

    I read that during the last default (1981?), interest rates went up .6% and have never receded. I don’t know if there’s any truth to that.

    I am no expert on such matters.

  3. Glen S.
    Posted August 1, 2011 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman, in this morning’s NYT:


    “A deal to raise the federal debt ceiling is in the works. If it goes through, many commentators will declare that disaster was avoided. But they will be wrong.

    For the deal itself, given the available information, is a disaster, and not just for President Obama and his party. It will damage an already depressed economy; it will probably make America’s long-run deficit problem worse, not better; and most important, by demonstrating that raw extortion works and carries no political cost, it will take America a long way down the road to banana-republic status. …

    “Make no mistake about it, what we’re witnessing here is a catastrophe on multiple levels.

    It is, of course, a political catastrophe for Democrats, who just a few weeks ago seemed to have Republicans on the run over their plan to dismantle Medicare; now Mr. Obama has thrown all that away. And the damage isn’t over: there will be more choke points where Republicans can threaten to create a crisis unless the president surrenders, and they can now act with the confident expectation that he will.

    In the long run, however, Democrats won’t be the only losers. What Republicans have just gotten away with calls our whole system of government into question. After all, how can American democracy work if whichever party is most prepared to be ruthless, to threaten the nation’s economic security, gets to dictate policy? And the answer is, maybe it can’t.”


  4. Watching Laughing.
    Posted August 1, 2011 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    The Republicans of today are like the dark ages, just slaughter people and they don’t care except their views. You can’t talk or negotiate with that.
    They will destroy all and don’t realize that.
    I guess, just vote them out. Heh.

    Watching Laughing.

  5. Posted August 1, 2011 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    Freeze The Budget And Stop Plundering American People! – OpEd

    Written by: Ron Paul
    July 31, 2011

    One might think that the recent drama over the debt ceiling involved one side wanting to increase or maintain spending with the other side wanting to drastically cut spending, but that is far from the truth. In spite of the rhetoric being thrown around, the real debate is over how much government spending will increase. No plan under serious consideration cuts spending in the way you and I think about it. Instead, the cuts being discussed are illusory and are not cuts from current amounts being spent, but cuts in prospective spending increases. This is akin to a family saving $100,000 in expenses by deciding not to buy a Lamborghini and instead getting a fully loaded Mercedes when really their budget dictates that they need to stick with their perfectly serviceable Honda.

    But this is the type of math Washington uses to mask the incriminating truth about the unrepentant plundering of the American people. The truth is that frightening rhetoric about default and full faith in the credit of the United States being carelessly thrown around to ram through a bigger budget than ever in spite of stagnant revenues. If your family’s income did not change year over year, would it be wise financial management to accelerate spending so you would feel richer? That is what our government is doing, with one side merely suggesting a different list of purchases than the other.

    In reality, bringing our fiscal house into order is not that complicated or excruciatingly painful at all. If we simply kept spending at current levels, by their definition of cuts that would save nearly $400 billion in the next few years, versus the $25 billion the Budget Control Act claims to cut. It would only take us five years to cut $1 trillion in Washington math just by holding the line on spending. That is hardly austere or catastrophic.

    A balanced budget is similarly simple and within reach if Washington had just a tiny amount of fiscal common sense. Our revenues currently stand at approximately $2.2 trillion a year and are likely to remain stagnant as the recession continues. Our outlays are $3.7 trillion and projected to grow every year. Yet we only have to go back to 2004 for federal outlays of $2.2 trillion, and the government was far from small that year. If we simply referred to that year’s spending levels, which would hardly do us fear, we would have a balanced budget right now. If we held the line on spending and the economy actually did grow as estimated, the budget would balance on its own by 2015 with no cuts whatsoever.

    We pay 35% more for our military today than we did 10 years ago for the exact same capabilities. The same could be said for the rest of the government. Why has our budget doubled in 10 years? This country doesn’t have double the population or double the land area or double anything that would require the federal government to grow by such an obscene amount.

    In Washington terms a simple freeze in spending would be a much bigger cut than any plan being discussed. If politicians simply cannot bear to implement actual cuts to actual spending, just freezing the budget would give the economy the best chance to catch its breath, recover and grow.

  6. Edward
    Posted August 1, 2011 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    I saw an article this weekend by a political consultant on why people don’t vote for Democrats, in spite of the fact that they agree with them on most issues. Unfortunately I can’t remember where. There were two main points as I recall. The first was that the “anti government” feeling among the population hurts them more than Republicans. It seems as though people consider the Democrats the “government” party, even though Republicans have been in power just as long, if not longer. The second had to do with the perception that, even though people agreed with Democrats on policy, they didn’t believe that the party would, or could, act on those ideas. In other words, people don’t believe that Democrats will actually do what they say that they will. It was an interesting article.

  7. Edward
    Posted August 1, 2011 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    Ron Paul also wants to get rid of the EPA and the Department of Education, and believes that the world is 6,000 years old. I’m just saying.

  8. wetdolphinmissile
    Posted August 1, 2011 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    The sky is not falling…it just got a whole lot gloomier but keep in mind that pendulum will swing back. I think that people that would (and should) vote democratic do not because they simply do not understand how our government works. I know we are all supposed to take US government in high school, but I have to think no one paid attention… No one gets all they want (unless you are a teapartier???) go figure AND vote.

  9. Mr. X
    Posted August 1, 2011 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    From a friend on Facebook who writes for FireDogLake:

    If you think that this deal is horrendously bad and believe that there are options other than acquiescing to hostage taking, it is time to act. In this post there is a script and a list of the Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Progressive Caucus. Call them and tell them to vote no on this plan. Force the president to do the right thing, and invoke the 14th Amendment.


  10. Posted August 1, 2011 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    It’s really not that people don’t know how government works, it’s that they don’t understand the difference between election politics and true governance.

  11. Posted August 1, 2011 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Edward. I could care less what religion Ron Paul is. Do you think he’ll force you to convert? Yeah……

  12. Glen S.
    Posted August 1, 2011 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    @ wetdolphinmissile

    ” … the pendulum will swing back.”

    To WHAT?

    And WHEN?

    Will it “swing back” once what’s left of the “New Deal” social safety-net has been entirely gutted?

    Will it “swing back,” once we’ve enacted a balanced-budget amendment and spending/cut “triggers” designed to strangle government funding to the point that weak, ineffectual government becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy?

    Will it “swing back,” once the wealthiest 1% gain TOTAL control of our political system, our economy, our media, and education system?

    Why is it that when the Republicans had the White House and the House (but not the Senate), they seemed to get most everything they wanted … but, now, when Democrats control the White House and the Senate (but not the House), Republicans are not only getting what they want — but actually getting more than they could ever have IMAGINED?!

    If Democrats are *really* interested in swinging the pendulum back, and regaining the confidence and support of the millions of poor, working-class, and middle-class people who “would” and “should” support them, here’s a radical proposal: How about actually propose and FIGHT FOR programs and policies that directly benefit the 99% of us who are not obscenely wealthy?

  13. wetdolphinmissile
    Posted August 1, 2011 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    it will swing back when democrats start supporting democrats…novel idea? Throwing stones at our sitting pres. is not the answer though. While I supoort your right to do so…I do not agree. You seem determined to lay blame one way.

  14. EOS
    Posted August 1, 2011 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    This bill sucks. Obama might be able to get the Dems to pass it in the Senate, but it’s not likely to get a majority in the Republican controlled House. Its exactly what the majority of Democrats hoped for. This year, it only cuts 1 trillion in spending (Last year’s deficit was 1.5 trillion). They vote on cutting 1.5 trillion in Dec. (“cuts” include tax increases), and when that fails, mandatory cuts will begin in January 2013 (Delayed until the new President takes office) It mandates that the next President must cut $1 in Defense spending for every $1 in Domestic spending but eliminates any possibility of reducing expenditures where the majority of current Domestic spending occurs. Don’t hold your breathe that this will pass.

  15. EOS
    Posted August 1, 2011 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    The more I read, the worse it gets. There’s a 2.4 trillion dollar hike in spending over the next two years and a 1 trillion dollar cut over the next 10 years. No cuts are allowed in the Obamacare health plan.

  16. Glen S.
    Posted August 1, 2011 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    I don’t “blame” the Republicans, because I EXPECT them to be craven assholes who only look out for the interests of their corporate masters.

    I do “blame” President Obama and the Democratic leadership because I EXPECT them to at least pretend to look out for the rest of us.

    This meme of “blame rank-and-file Democrats for not being supportive enough, not contributing enough, not voting enough … ” is offensive, and just plain wrong.

    In the years roughly between FDR and the Carter Administration, Democrats initiated, fought for and passed tons of progressive legislation that helped ordinary poor, working-class and middle-class Americans in multiple, practical ways — passing Labor laws, Civil Rights laws, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid– while ensuring that wealthy Americans and major corporations paid their fair share.

    The result was the rise of the middle class, and the greatest prosperity the world had ever seen. As a consequence, Democrats didn’t need to wring their hands worrying about how to get people to the polls — since they enjoyed a decades-long semi-permanent majority in Congress.

    I think the essential point of debate between the two factions boils down to a classic “chicken and egg” question:

    Does simply increasing Democratic support/turnout drive success in achieving “Democratic” policy?

    Or, does demonstrated success in achieving good “Democratic” policy inspire voter support and allegiance?

  17. Anonymous
    Posted August 1, 2011 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    I’ve gotten to the point where I just don’t care anymore. I think it’s time for the teabaggers, and the rest of the stupid, or otherwise unengaged people in the United States, to experience the kind of government they’ve made possible. I’m tired of fighting it off on behalf of others. I’ve got a job, and I’m not counting on Social Security to be there when I’m old. I don’t know why I give a fuck if some redneck teabagger in Mississippi has his disability check cut, or some bitter old twat with a Tea Party bumper sticker in Ohio has her Social Security check slashed. I’m beyond caring for these people. I say, “Bring it on!”

  18. Chairman Meow
    Posted August 1, 2011 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Mike Whitney on BO:

    Obama has been zeroing in on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security from the very beginning. Why else would Wall Street throw their support behind a total “unknown”; a two year senator with no foreign policy experience and a background in community organizing. That’s hardly the type of resume that makes one a shoo-in for Empire’s top-spot. There must have been a quid pro quo, a tacit understanding that if Obama was elected, he’d carry out the corporate/Big Finance agenda. And, so he has. The debt ceiling fiasco just proves that Obama keeps his promises. In other words, it’s “payback time.”

  19. Meta
    Posted August 1, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    The Congressional Budget Office confirmed Monday that the debt-reduction deal struck by the White House and congressional leaders would cut deficits by at least $2.1 trillion over the next 10 years, if lawmakers approve the plan later Monday.

    The independent budget analysts reconfirmed that it contains up front savings of $917 billion, the same level as initially proposed in legislation offered by House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) last week, and it credited President Obama and the leaders with at least $1.2 trillion in savings for the follow-on work to be done by a special committee.

  20. Mr. X
    Posted August 1, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    EOS, when has one of your predictions ever proven true? I remember you prognosticating on quite a few occasions as to what the Republicans would or wouldn’t do, and, without fail, you’re always wrong. As much as I’d love to have the Tea Party nuts walk away from this, forcing Obama to invoke the 14th amendment, I don’t see it happening. I’m afraid that you’re going to be proven wrong yet again.

  21. TaterSalad
    Posted August 1, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Obama’s Utopia

    Barack Obama’s hand-picked regime has 11 steps in bringing a total fascist, police state to the United States:



    “Everything Obama does comes straight from the most stilted and destructive clichés of the left. The man has never had an original idea in his life, and wouldn’t recognize one if it were served up on a plate with arugula. He is intellectually locked in concrete.”

  22. Mr. X
    Posted August 1, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Another friend had the following to share on Facebook:

    Just called the White House and said I can’t support this. 202 456 1414, or 202 456 1111, the first one is the switchboard, they will connect you to the comment line. I had to wait ten minutes to get thru.

  23. Glen S.
    Posted August 1, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    I just called Congressman Dingell’s office (202-225-4071) and was shocked to get through on the second ring.

    Ten minutes later, I got this from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee:


    Last night, President Obama agreed to a deal with top Republicans that is widely seen as a big victory for the Tea Party.

    It has trillions in spending cuts that will hurt poor and middle-class families and no taxes on the rich. It also lines up Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits for future cuts.

    Nancy Pelosi said “none of us may be able to support it” — but many Democrats are making up their minds in the next few hours.

    Can you call your Representative, John Dingell, right now? Tell him to vote NO on this bad deal — click here for the number and a script.

    Here’s what folks are saying about this deal:

    Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Missouri, Black Caucus Chair): “This deal is a sugar-coated Satan sandwich. If you lift the bun, you will not like what you see.”

    Paul Krugman, Nobel economist: “The deal itself…is a disaster, and not just for President Obama and his party. It will damage an already depressed economy…The worst thing you can do in these circumstances is slash government spending, since that will depress the economy even further.”

    Robert Reich, former Labor Secretary: “Anyone who characterizes the deal…as a victory for the American people over partisanship understands neither economics nor politics. The deal…puts the nation’s most important safety nets and public investments on the chopping block…the largest threat to our democracy is the emergence of a radical right capable of getting most of the ransom it demands.”

    Rep. Dingell needs to hear from constituents right now.”

  24. Andy Cameron
    Posted August 1, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Being angry at the dems or Obama is fine, but allowing that anger to help elect a Republican president next year would be idiotic. Here’s a another view from a reader at talking points memo:

    “Let me get this straight. The President kept revenues on the table, did not touch the sunset provisions in the Bush tax cuts, ensured that military cuts keep the GOP honest, protected Medicare by adding in only provider cuts in the trigger, made the reduction apparently enough to stave off a debt downgrade, got the debt ceiling raised, wounded Boehner by demonstrating to the world that he is controlled by the Tea Party caucus, took out the requirement that a BBA be passed and sent to the states and got the extension through 2012? What exactly is wrong with this deal?

    The fact that there are cuts? If people don’t like that, why in God’s name didn’t they turn out to vote and bring back our Congressional majority? Once these nut jobs were in there, it was inevitable that this crap was going to happen. Whether or not it is advisable to cut spending, what exactly was going to stop this from happening? My experience is that the primary factor in all negotiations are the facts on the ground. The complaints center on a ridiculous notion that if the President had only said “no” harder, that these guys would have caved in. This isn’t negotiating over who gets the side of the bed near the A/C. This is a complex matter involving 3,000 members and staffers. Negotiations in these situations don’t work like this. That’s why I’m irked by the constant parade of people comparing the negotiations to movies and card games. These comparisons obscure more than they reveal.

    The GOP came out of this looking unreasonable–I’ve been getting E-mail messages from friends saying they are back with the Democrats because the Tea Party is “destroying this country.” Nate Silver tweeted last week that local conservative talk radio in Kansas was filled with callers attacking the Tea Party! The Wall Street Journal ran two editorials which called the GOP delusional and “childish.” The vaunted GOP message discipline broke down–I read stories all over the “inside baseball” papers here in DC where GOP House members went on the record after the Friday vote wondering out loud if the party had been damaged! I don’t know if you noticed, but John Boehner spent last week negotiating with himself. No new proposals came out from the Dem side, but he produced two proposals, one of which he had to pull after he didn’t have votes. A congressional Dem staffer told me his dad, an urban Catholic who voted for Nixon over Kennedy and has always voted Republican suddenly thinks the GOP is out to lunch and supports the President.

    Hey, we all hate the pain, but this is an ongoing process. They are going to try this again with a government shutdown. When that happens, I’m pretty sure that the country will be resoundingly against a repeat of these types of hijinks.

    On a better note, we know that Boehner has the votes if Mitt Romney “sticks his neck out” opposing the deal. “

  25. EOS
    Posted August 1, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Mr. X,
    Funny, I don’t remember prognosticating on many occasions on what Republicans would do. The spin is that the Dems have caved to the Tea Party. Who are the people associated with the Tea Party that are announcing their support of this compromise?

  26. Glen S.
    Posted August 1, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    “They are going to try this again with a government shutdown. When that happens, I’m pretty sure that the country will be resoundingly against a repeat of these types of hijinks.”

    HELLO! The country is “resoundingly against” the “hijinks” that Republicans are pulling off right now, as we speak (type) … but that doesn’t seem to be stopping President Obama and the Dem leadership from giving in to their extortion.

    What makes you think anything will be different next time? Or the time after that? Or the time after that … ?

  27. dragon
    Posted August 1, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Dear Glen
    I would like to apologize for being less than kind to you in the past. Now that you have been FrontPaged I realize the soundness of your arguments and can only assume that Mark overlooked the impassioned speech Dennis Kucinich’s cat gave on the nuances of exolinguistics last night. Congratulations!
    Keep up the good fight.

  28. Tommy
    Posted August 1, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Fully agree with the commentary of Mike Whitney as posted by Mr. ‘Meow’. POTUS is serving his master’s wishes as he was supposed to. If anyone of this blog does not understand this, I pity the lot of you. Hope, Change my ass. This man is the Dems version of Ronald Reagan from an oratory standpoint, only without the top cover from his own party. One term is enough.

  29. Meta
    Posted August 1, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    The Wall Street Journal’s By James Taranto makes the case that when Obama called for the American people to stand up and demand action from their members of Congress, few of them did. Here’s his post.

    Remember a few weeks ago when President Obama reportedly said to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor: “Eric, don’t call my bluff”? Lots of commentators said that this was a “tell”–that by referring to “my bluff,” Obama was admitting he was bluffing.

    Actually, his play was even worse than that. A bluff is a pretense. The bluffer knows he has a weak hand but bets as if he has a strong one in order to induce his opponents to fold. Obama had a weak hand but thought he had a strong one. His next words to Cantor, according to Politico, were a vow to “take his case ‘to the American people.’ ” He actually believed–for all we know, he still believes–all that World’s Greatest Orator nonsense.

    Obama’s hand wasn’t even this good.

    Thus he ended up maximizing his losses. Last weekend congressional leaders appeared to be on the verge of striking a deal, but Obama scuttled their efforts and commandeered the airwaves for a prime-time address. As we predicted, the American people were unmoved.

    Obama had looked at his cards and seen that he was holding a 2, a 3, a 4 and a 5. He was sure he had an ace to complete the straight, but in reality he was looking in the mirror. By the time he realized how weak his hand was, there was no time left to improve it or to bluff. Faced with an imminent liquidity crisis–which would have been a political disaster for him as well as an economic one for the country–he was forced to agree to a deal more or less along Republican lines.

    From the standpoint of a small-government conservative, the agreement is far from perfect, but it’s probably the best possible outcome as long as a left-wing Democrat is in the White House and his party has a Senate majority. One measure of that is the rage it has provoked on the liberal left.

  30. Glen S.
    Posted August 1, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    There are reports that Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is not “whipping” votes for the deal, but rather, leaving it up to individual Dems to decide for themselves whether or not to support it — which in and of itself is a dramatic statement

    Meanwhile, the Congressional Progressive Caucus just announced that all its 76 members plan to vote “no.”

  31. Edward
    Posted August 1, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    What about the Democratic Black Caucus?

  32. wetdolphinmissile
    Posted August 1, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    liberals are mad and conservatives are mad and the rumors abound…

  33. TaterSalad
    Posted August 1, 2011 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    Maybe you should move to Lansing and get a “two for one”!


  34. Glen S.
    Posted August 1, 2011 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    This POS legislation just passed the House by a margin of 269-161, with a comfortable majority of Republicans in support, and Dems splitting just about 50/50.

    Many local Democratic Representatives voted “No,” including John Conyers, Hansen Clarke, and Marcy Kaptur — who represents the Toledo area.

    Our own Representative, John Dingell, voted “Yes.”

  35. cmadler
    Posted August 3, 2011 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    “So, does this mean that the President might have an easier time of allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire? That is, of course, assuming that a Democrat wins in 2012.”

    Well, that doesn’t necessarily depend on reelection. If the magic date here is 1/1/2013, Obama will still be in his current term (inauguration day is January 20).

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