Another debt ceiling fight from the Teaparty Republicans in 2013? Probably not. →
Jonathan Bernstein doesn’t think we’re going to see this debt ceiling fight again after the next election, whether a Republican wins the White House or President Obama is re-elected. The political rewards for the GOP just wouldn’t be there:
…if we get a Republican president and a Democratic Congress, the issue won’t play nearly as well in reverse (although it’s certainly possible that President Romney or Perry could veto a clean limit increase and demand cuts – but would a brand-new president really want to risk that?). Of course, a unified Democratic government would not only probably pass a clean increase, but it also might well scrap the debt limit entirely, as Jonathan Chait suggests they demand in the future.
What if we have the status quo in January 2013? Hard to say. But it’s going to be a whole lot easier for Republicans to vote for a clean debt-limit increase at that point (perhaps loaded with some symbolic stuff). One of the key problems for Republicans this year is that they were just elected on a lot of extravagant promises about immediate, absolute change. My guess is that those who are reelected in 2012 won’t repeat those promises, at least not quite as loudly. They will have voted to raise the debt limit. They will have voted for appropriations bills that spend gazillions of dollars. They will have voted for budgets that don’t immediately balance. They may not own up to those things, and some of them will certainly keep up the rhetoric, but the bulk of them? We’ll see.
Moreover, should we have a status quo election in 2012, the incentive of defeating Barack Obama will, of course, be gone in 2013. Instead, members of Congress will be worrying about their own reelections, and triggering an economic crisis just after the president is inaugurated may not work well for that goal.
Deficits don’t matter! Sometimes!
And today people may actually realize that elections have consequences
… especially that last election in 2010. You stayed home during the mid-terms because Obama disappointed you for X, Y or Z — or because Ed Schultz told you to? Whoops! Not only is the Teaparty grateful, but so are the rich and powerful. Did the results of that last election (losing control of the House, losing some Senate seats) move Obama a little bit to the right? Probably. And why wouldn’t it?
Imagine how outstanding it will be if you decide to not vote in 2012. The “statement” you’ll make is so much more important than continuing to work for a progressive agenda. It’s like the statement all those people who voted for Nader in 2000 made. That was a great idea too. Maybe the Teaparty Republicans will take control of the Senate in 2012 — more Rand Pauls! And just look how great Wisconsin’s doing since 2010.
You worked so hard in 2008 — why should you have to keep working and pushing the people you helped get into Congress and the White House? Why should you have to wait in a line on Election Day to vote — again? It’s not like this crap should have to be an ongoing thing. Disappointment is just too disappointing.
Five things liberals can like about the Debt Deal →
#debt ceiling raised through 2013
#liberals can like some things
As Jay Newton-Small argues, if we lived in a world where the teaparty didn’t exist, this wouldn’t be a good deal. But the teaparty does exist — at least for now — and when you look at things a little closer, some of this deal is pretty okay:
- The 2012 budget: At one point in the negotiations, the 2012 budget was to be slashed by $36 billion. The final number of cuts: just $7 billion. And just to ensure we don’t have another bruising government shutdown fight over cuts in September, the deal deems and passes the 2012 budget. Yes, that’s right, the old Gephardt Rule or Slaughter Solution, is back. What’s deem and pass? It’s a legislative trick that essentially means that Congress will consider the budget passed without ever actually having to vote on it.
- The trigger: This is counterintuitive, but the trigger is actually pretty good for Democrats. For all that MoveOn thinks that it would force benefit cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, it actually wouldn’t trigger benefit cuts to any entitlements. The only cuts it would force would be a 2% or more haircut for Medicare providers. And House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, along with most Democrats, has never opposed provider cuts. Not only that, most progressives actually want the Pentagon cuts. So if the committee deadlocks and the trigger is pulled, Democrats won’t be miserable.
- The commission: Again, for all the liberal carping about a “Super Congress,” the commission of 12 members — three from each party in each chamber — set up to find the second phase of $1.5 trillion in cuts by Thanksgiving is actually rigged to force some revenue increases. Yes, the Bush tax cuts are off the table. But there are plenty of loopholes, subsidies and other corporate welfare programs that are on the table. And with such a strong trigger, it’s hard to imagine at least one Republican not voting to kill corporate jet subsidies over slashing $500 billion from the defense budget – even if the revenues aren’t offset. The question is: who are Republicans more afraid of, Grover Norquist or the joint chiefs? Democrats’ money is on the joint chiefs.
- The immediate cuts: It may seem like a lot, but the $917 billion in the first phase of cuts were carefully negotiated by Vice President Joe Biden and his group. They include $350 billion in Pentagon cuts – a win for liberals. They don’t touch entitlement benefits, another win. And they set top line numbers for the next decade of budgets that aren’t draconian. It still cuts where liberals might prefer to spend, but most of the savings are backloaded to avoid extreme austerity in next few years of fragile economic recovery. Just $7 billion would be cut in 2012, and only $3 billion in 2013. And of that combined $10 billion, half would come from the Pentagon. On top of that, the discretionary spending caps on budgets in future Congresses are subject to revision by those bodies.
- The debt ceiling: Raising the debt ceiling through 2013 will not be contingent on the second round of cuts. There will merely be a vote of disapproval. This avoids another messy fight in January and another round of painful forced cuts.
Maybe someday, say after the 2012 elections, the teaparty will be a bad memory. That’s something everyone can help make possible — if they just vote this time.
Josh Marshall: what exactly is everyone complaining about? (Especially those who didn’t vote in 2010) →
Josh Marshall’s take on the arguments over the budget / debt deal:
From TPM Reader RW …
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.
It’s the single-payer health reform argument all over again. It’s not perfectly progressive, so it’s a “shit sandwich.” OBAMA IS JUST LIKE BUSH.