The Other McCain

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Congress Expected to Vote on Debt Deal Today; Left, Right Spin It in Blame Game

Posted on | August 1, 2011 | 37 Comments

Spin filters into the news at CNN:

The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are expected to vote Monday on a deal to raise the debt ceiling and cut the deficit, a compromise that President Barack Obama and leaders in Congress reached on Sunday night.

The votes come one day before the United States faced the prospect of an unprecedented default on the nation’s debt. . . .

The Senate plans a first vote on the deal on Monday afternoon, a Senate Democratic leadership aide told CNN. If the measure passes an expected Republican filibuster attempt, the House could vote on it Monday night, the aide said.

The idea of Aug. 2 as the drop-dead default date? Spin. Tim Geithner estimated the Aug. 2 date months ago but — even if you trust Geithner, which I don’t — it wasn’t like we were automatically going bankrupt Tuesday. Also, now that Mitch McConnell has approved a deal, this “expected Republican filibuster attempt” exists only in the minds of the kind of deluded young leftists who work as Senate Democratic leadership aides or CNN reporters.

You want neutral objective facts? Try the blogs:

The debt-limit deal relies on gimmicks . . . the credit rating is still at risk, and our massive federal debt will continue to grow like a malignant tumor.

That’s Right Klik, pushing back against a lot of spin — from Chris Cillizza of the WaPo, among others — claiming that this deal is a Gigantic Right-Wing Triumph, “Return of the King” for the Tea Party Hobbits, which it obviously ain’t.

Yet if the debt-deal isn’t a Tea Party triumph, it does involve a couple of key defeats for Democrats, as Tim Carney says:

Abandoned in the debt deal are the liberal ideal of “shared sacrifice” (i.e., tax increases) and the Keynesian tenet of government spending surges during recessions. Preserved is the political framing that helps the Democrats in the 2012 election: no more embarrassing debt-limit votes before the election, no prominent debate on a balanced budget amendment, and a stage set for some good old corporate-jets-vs.-Medicare demagoguery.

White House economic adviser Gene Sperling was all over the morning TV news shows today replaying his “shared sacrifice” broken record, while Democrat Sen. Dick Durbin mourned the death of Keynesianism:

The Republicans are killing Keynesian economics with their attempt to cut spending as the economy rebounds from a recession, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said in a floor speech on Sunday.”I would say … that symbolically, that agreement is moving us to the point where we are having the final interment of John Maynard Keynes,” he said, referring to the British economist. “He normally died in 1946 but it appears we are going to put him to his final rest with this agreement.” . . .

Oh, if only it were so! Most sane people had thought Keynesianism died in the “stagflation” debacle of the 1970s, and yet for the past three years the ghost of Lord Keynes has haunted us again. Despite the discrediting of Keynes’s theories, liberals still believe in him and so, any time liberals wield decisive influence, we can expect to see the same disastrous deficit-spending policies pursued.

That is a neutral objective fact!

UPDATE: Legal Insurrection has posted the entire bill and — mirabile dictu!Da Tech Guy actually read through it.

UPDATE II: Linked by Cranky Conservativethanks! – and welcome, Instapundit readers!

This might be a good occasion to remind you that I’m rattling the tip jar to pay my way for a 10-day shoe-leather trip to Iowa.


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Comments

  • http://pointofagun.blogspot.com/ Dave C

    Tim Geithner estimated the Aug. 2 date months ago but — even if you
    trust Geithner, which I don’t — it wasn’t like we were automatically
    going bankrupt Tuesday.

    He was supposed to be the ‘only man for the job’ and he couldn’t even figure out his taxes.. (well, he could but he had no problem cheating on them) 

    And hasn’t the US been using Keynesianism since the start of the War on Terror in Afghanistan and Iraq?  Borrowing money to pay the  troops and their suppliers?  Those checks would come right back to the mainland to ‘stimulate’ the economy..   

    At least, that was the theory why WWII ended the Great Depression..   Because of the war effort got the economy going again

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  • JeffS

    I’m hoping this wasn’t a phyrric victory.  But it’s beginning to sound like it.

  • Keith Ent

    This deal was to keep us from “default” (which wasn’t gonna happen regardless) and to keep the S&P happy (which it won’t).  What did the American people get out of it?  Debt reduction?  Nope.  Meaningful spending reform?  Nope.  Fiscal sanity from our leadership?  Nope.  Please, someone tell me why this deal was so necessary.

  • http://2011.ak4mc.us/ McGehee

    Because they couldn’t get away with another TARP or bailing out another car company.

  • http://thepagantemple.blogspot.com/ ThePaganTemple

    If it passes at least we won’t default, and granny doesn’t have to hunt down an old crate to live in, but we’re still going to be downgraded and that’s going to be a problem.

    If the GOP had been smart, they would have told Obama, OK we’re going to give you the tax raises you want, but you have to give us four trillion in spending cuts in return.

    What could he have said? He would have had no choice but to go along with it. We might have gotten significant cuts in the EPA and the FDA, Departments of Energy and Education, Commerce, Labor, the NLRB, etc.

    The business community probably would have been fine with it, on a temporary basis. We could always change it when we took over in 2012. And on balance, what businessman worth his salt wouldn’t readily agree to a tax hike of three or four percent in return for having the EPA, among others, off his back?

    But no, people hear the word “taxes” and all of a sudden, reason and common sense take a hike.

  • Anonymous

    Part of the problem is, with the Democrats it is always a tax hike now and promises of cuts later. Even if the GOP could have squeezed 4 trillion in cuts, it would have been a “promise” for cuts over what 10 years? If you think they would have actually materialized, I have a bridge up for sale…

  • http://thepagantemple.blogspot.com/ ThePaganTemple

    Obama would have went for the cuts in return for the tax hikes. He wouldn’t have had any choice. No he wouldn’t have liked it, but it could have been done. The reason it would is because moderate Democrat, and I mean moderate Democrat voters, and Independents, would have went ballistic if he had turned down the opportunity to raise “revenues” just because he couldn’t bring himself to cut spending in government agencies most of them don’t really give a rats ass about anyway.

  • Joe

    This deal is about getting Obama re-elected.  Boehner and pals were worried it would back fire on the GOP. 

    I would urge extreme caution about now.  I sense a trap. 

  • Anonymous

    Except the “spending” cuts were (and are) future promises, not immediate, today cuts to the budget. They never are. The tax increases always kick in as quickly as is politically expedient (like just after the next election) but the cuts are always spread out over 10 or more future years and by then, the promise to cut is always forgotten and don’t happen. For that reason a better deal would have been zero ceiling increase. Make the government cut this budget now and not kick the can a little farther down the road.

  • http://thepagantemple.blogspot.com/ ThePaganTemple

    I know its stretched over ten years, and yeah, I agree that it would have been better if they did what you said. But like I keep telling people, as long as we only control one-third of the government, that’s just not going to happen.

    I’ve had people on here tell me they are so mad at the Republican if they don’t do exactly what they want them to do, they won’t vote for them in 2012, which means of course Obama would be re-elected, with probably a majority in both houses of Congress if enough “conservative” voters take that stance and act on it. And if that happens then you can count on a liberal Supreme Court that will stand for two or three decades.

    I don’t see how anybody can say stuff like that and say with a straight face they’re concerned about the nation. Hell though, as far as I know they might be sitting there snickering at their keyboards when they spout this nuttiness.

  • http://carlbridges.wordpress.com/ CBridges6159

    The August 2 deadline reminds me of the original Star Trek series in this one way: Engineer Scotty tells Captain Kirk the ship will blow up in 24 hours. For the rest of the episode Kirk keeps saying, “We now have 11 hours and 39 minutes” and the like, as if the prediction were precise.

  • Oceanspray

    When they go around spouting this baloney about “shared sacrifice,”  why don’t our Republican/conservative leaders just come back with: “Good idea.  First, tell me how much the federal governments share of the sacrifice is going to be.”?

  • Anonymous

    I agree. Far too much lately I wind up holding my nose when I pull the lever because taking your ball and going home just forfeits the game to the other team and this is too important. I don’t like it though and when it gets really bad sometimes I can’t help thinking that “Atlas Shrugged” can’t get here soon enough because that is the only way to “learn them” that this just does not work in the long term. That the card has a limit and eventually the bill comes due.

  • http://thepagantemple.blogspot.com/ ThePaganTemple

    Scotty-”Cap’n I’m doin’ the best I can

    Kirk-”You’ve got to try harder Scotty”

    Bones-”We’re dead Jim”

    Kirk–”Where the hell is Sulu?”

    Scotty-”The last time I saw him he said something about ‘beaming down’ with that new young ensign.

    Bones-”Great, we know he’s never coming back. Well Spock any Vulcan words of wisdom? Let’s see that famous logic help us out of this mess.

    Spock (raises one eyebrow)-WTF is wrong with you crazy humans?

  • True Texan

     No Sh*t, I have yet to hear anyone say that.  Where is the federal, state and local “sacrifice”?

  • True Texas

     The first deadline was in February.  All panic and fear mongering was used by the Administration to highlight that deadline.  Then, amazingly, it passed and everything was OK.  Timmy figured out how to continue!

    Dave C, don’t you think that most of the money spent on troop pay actually comes back to the US?  Those military personnel don’t have many places to spend it on in Afghanistan.  Some have families at home to support, too.  Granted, much of the money spent on supplies is probably used up overseas but some of it is used to purchase beans, bullets and boots here.

  • http://pointofagun.blogspot.com/ Dave C

     That’s what I meant..

    I think I should have clarified..   It’s been kind of Keynesianism to pay for the war..  So shouldn’t that of been translated back to a roaring budget here in the states if Keynes was right? 

    Should be in a surging economy for this last decade if K worked. 

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  • http://2011.ak4mc.us/ McGehee

    There was never going to be a default.

  • Steve S.

    I thought Keynesianism died when Nixon famously claimed “”we’re all Keynesians now” back in 1970.  All the Democrats, news anchors, economists, and analysts declared it dead. 

    It had to be, you see.  Nixon could not be allowed to be right, so Keynesianism surely must’ve run its course.  That’s the way the arguments actually ran back then!

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  • Anonymous

    It is a trap.

  • Anonymous

    You must have a victory to have a “pyrrhic victory”.
    Changing the conversation is about all the victory we can claim. 

  • Anonymous

    I think people who keep reminding us that we only control ” one-third of the government” should receive electroshock therapy. “We” actually don’t even control that by the numbers because the people we sent to congress are mostly poltroons. “My” leaders would be willing to risk absolute collapse of the whole system rather than settling for the status quo. With the requisite ruthless, brutal if necessary, dedication to the task at hand and only with that single minded dedication will this Republic be saved.

  • JM Hanes

    “Preserved is the political framing that helps the Democrats in the 2012 election: no more embarrassing debt-limit votes before the election”

    I have to disagree.  Obama wanted the longer reprieve; Congressional Democrats wanted to push this battle into campaign season because they thought they had a winner.  They didn’t, but our side has gotten about as much mileage out of this squeaker as we’re going to get.  

    We can have a much clearer, cleaner fight over the debt itself without another debt ceiling vote always hanging fire.  Nor do we want spending cuts and structural reforms in entitlement and the tax code to be “held hostage” to a putative default again.  We need some breathing space just to design the necessary legislative packages.  

    Another debt ceiling fight would suck all the oxygen out of a campaign that should be attacking Obamacare and other federal depredations on the states, the economy and the body politic. We need to be fighting Senate Dems on their promises & failures. We need to be challenging them to pass a credible budget and to vote on the stand alone, balanced budget amendment Americans overwhelmingly support, instead of attaching it like a poison pill to our own legislation.  We need Paul Ryan, not John Boehner the Negotiator, back out in front.   

    Democrats’ prime directive heading into Campaign 2012 is to drive a wedge between Republican “moderates” and Tea Party “extremists” — not just because they think infighting will dilute Republican effectiveness, but because that’s what they want the election to be about.  Why hand them the hammer? 

  • Anonymous

    None of these “cuts” are ever going to happen.

    They’re simply going to spend all of the money authorized in the debt limit increase – very quickly, I’d guess – and time it so that it runs out immediately after the elections.

    Then, if the R’s win (i.e., Presidency, plus maybe Senate), the D’s are going to fight against the next increase – because they know the Republicans depend on  buying friends almost as much as the Democrats do.

    If Obama is re-elected, the D’s will have a good ad campaign right after the election claiming the R’s are doing it all AGAIN!!, and the R’s will immediately fold (“ooo, the voters will HATE us!”) and approve another huge debt limit increase.

    (Wondering how this all ties in with the Los Zetas Executive Order BO just quietly – very quietly – signed.)

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  • mojo

    “Washington DC is based on the idea that you should put all your rotten eggs in one basket and keep a gun trained on it.”
    – Granpaw Stone

  • http://thepagantemple.blogspot.com/ ThePaganTemple

    The electroshock therapy will come when the Democrats only control one third of the government and derail everything we try to do. This shit has got to stop sooner or later or we’re done for. And yes, when you only control one third of the government there’s only so much you can do when it comes to getting what you want. That’s not some arcane theory, that’s simple math that a second-grader should comprehend.

    But what really gets me is when I say stuff like this people react like I’m the enemy. No, I’m not, I’m the guy who wants to beat the Democrats, take over the Senate, expand our majority in the House, and send Obama’s ass packing. If I had my way we’d have a large enough majority in both houses and a conservative president who would set about healing this country and putting it back on a sane path.

    All everybody else seems to care about is “principle”. Screw principle. Let’s hear that song when we have six or seven liberal justices on the Supreme Court for the next twenty years.

  • Anonymous

    Republicans abandon pass at Thermopylae citing lack of adequate forces. Congratulate themselves on heroic victory anyway.

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