As many of you no doubt know, this is going to be a grim week in politics, with Washington’s attention riveted on a completely bogus congressional debate over a “cut, cap, balance” proposal to roll back government to the 1950s and then write that into the U.S. Constitution, against the background of actual negotations (and saber-rattling) between the two parties and all sorts of ominous signs of economic disaster.
While it’s obvious the “C-C-B” debate is designed to provide Tea Party conservatives and the GOP presidential field with opportunities to strut their stuff before the real deal goes down, there is a significant risk the posturing will overwhelm the deal-making. There’s no way to know how many congressional Republicans actually think a debt default would be no big deal, just as we can’t know how many of them think an extended depression would be good for the country by crushing the aspirations of all those shiftless freeloaders who don’t simply bend the knee to “job creators” and shuffle along in the great cattle drive of life. It is obvious that if congressional Republican leaders (at the behest of their Wall Street overseers) ever crack the whip for a deal, the line of Members of Congress begging for a “free vote” to denounce the whole thing as a godless betrayal of America on behalf of Big Labor and ACORN will be very long.
Ezra Klein’s analysis of the ultimate deal that is under development is nice and succinct:
It begins with the McConnell plan, in which the debt ceiling is raised three times between now and November, and each time, Republicans are able to offer a resolution of disapproval. Then it adds in $1.5 trillion in spending cuts harvested from the Biden talks. Then it create a committee of 12 lawmakers charged with sending a deficit-reduction plan to Congress by the end of the year. Whatever they decide on would be protected from the filibuster and immune to amendments.
If this is indeed the deal, it will be immediately denounced by most conservative and many progressive activists as a total cave-in, in part because of baleful assessments of “paths not taken” and fearful expectations of what the proposed “super-committee” might actually do. Between all that noise and the shrieking over “cut, cap and balance,” it will be very difficult to figure out what’s actually going to happen as we inch towards default.
Not a bad week to go on vacation, if you are lucky enough to afford it and aren’t on the permanent vacation of unemployment.