The Mother of All No-Brainers

By DAVID BROOKS

The Republicans have changed American politics since they took control of the House of Representatives. They have put spending restraint and debt reduction at the top of the national agenda. They have sparked a discussion on entitlement reform. They have turned a bill to raise the debt limit into an opportunity to put the U.S. on a stable fiscal course.

Republican leaders have also proved to be effective negotiators. They have been tough and inflexible and forced the Democrats to come to them. The Democrats have agreed to tie budget cuts to the debt ceiling bill. They have agreed not to raise tax rates. They have agreed to a roughly 3-to-1 rate of spending cuts to revenue increases, an astonishing concession.

Moreover, many important Democrats are open to a truly large budget deal. President Obama has a strong incentive to reach a deal so he can campaign in 2012 as a moderate. The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, has talked about supporting a debt reduction measure of $3 trillion or even $4 trillion if the Republicans meet him part way. There are Democrats in the White House and elsewhere who would be willing to accept Medicare cuts if the Republicans would be willing to increase revenues.

Read the rest on the NYT.

Tags: congress, debt ceiling, democrats, politics, republicans, spending, taxation

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Replies to This Discussion

Cut to the bill raising the debt ceiling being passed, and what have we got? No increase in revenues, and an almost airtight bill calling for massive spending cuts with virtually no chance for an increase in revenues later on down the road. The GOP has got an amazing business model - spend their brains out on defense (a misnomer for bullying the rest of the world into becoming more like us) while they are in power, and when they lose power, use the fact that we are in debt up to our eyeballs as a fulcrom for reducing government spending for what the Dems want to spend on. If they blow all our money away on hawkish policies, then they can claim they are acting out of the nation's interest by under-funding or completely not funding the policies of the doves. Obama looks like a very weak president at this moment in time, someone who will turn to appeasement strategies which will cause him (and the entire left by extension) to look weak and only invite more aggression from the right.
Clinton  balanced his last three budgets, leaving Bush 43 with a surplus.  A fiscal conservative would have kept the surplus for a rainy or used it to reduce the national debt.  Bush gave it away.  No Bush tax cuts, no deficit.  No Iraq war, no deficit.

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