Monday, August 1, 2011

Debt Ceiling Capituation: Politics as Usual

So apparently, over the weekend, the leaders of both major political parties finally reached a "compromise" to raise the debt ceiling. To call it a compromise is disingenuous, though; essentially, both parties caved to the administration demand for a blank check through 2012, then added enough smoke and mirrors and other bullshit to try to deflect criticism that it's just another blank check. Honestly, I'm more upset about the clearly bogus rhetoric about having a serious discussion or fixing any of the real problems than the fact that our government ended up doing neither: if you were going to capitulate and write the check in the end, why create all the drama and uncertainly leading up to it?

Let's look at some of the facts for the "compromise", just to be clear:
- $2.4 trillion increase in the debt ceiling limit
- No spending cuts of any significance during this term of Congress; all spending cuts are non-binding to next term of Congress and easily reversible then, so no effective spending cuts
- No reforms to entitlement programs
- Vote on BBA required, but nothing tied to outcome, so a complete waste of time
- No new/higher taxes immediately, but door is open later (especially with debt commission recommendations)
- We spend more money on another debt commission, to tell the government what they obviously need to do (ie: cut spending, reform entitlements), so they can ignore it again

So, basically, this "compromise" is exactly what Obama wanted (sans class-warfare tax hikes, which can always happen later), and nothing that anyone in the Tea Party wanted (eg: actual spending reductions or entitlement reform). The politicians all get to claim victory, nobody's happy about it, and everybody loses, especially the American people. So, politics as usual.

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