So just how good was the deal?

posted at 8:40 am on August 1, 2011 by Jazz Shaw

While it remains a bit premature to begin crowing over correct predictions, as of last night we have what appears to be the framework of a debt deal. (For those who missed it, Allahpundit had a summary of the details along with John Boehner’s Powerpoint presentation sketching it out fairly well.) Of course, as was pointed out during the more heated portions of the end game, nothing is agreed upon until everything is agreed upon. The rank and file on each side will still have to swallow this pill, and some folks – particularly on the left – aren’t exactly jumping for joy.

And with good reason.

So do we have any winners and losers yet? We can break that question down into two parts: the political ramifications and the real or imagined effects on policy. In the political camp, while there will still be some grousing from the most strident voices, it’s fairly easy to see who won. One need look no further than the progressive foot stomping of Greg Sargent at the Washington Post.

Anything can happen, but it apppears the GOP is on the verge of pulling off a political victory that may be unprecedented in American history. Republicans may succeed in using the threat of a potential outcome that they themselves acknowledged would lead to national catastrophe as leverage to extract enormous concessions from Democrats, without giving up anything of any significance in return.

Chris Cillizza goes a bit further, providing a list of winners and losers. Who does he pick? Among the winners are Mitch McConnell, the Tea Party and Grover Norquist. (As an interesting side note, he also includes David Wu, who set a world record for disappearing from the front page in the middle of a sex scandal. Anthony Weiner hardest hit.)

On the “loser” side of the fence we find Congress, the Gang of Six and Liberals. His one very strange pick, though, is to list President Obama with the winners. To a very limited extent I suppose I can see how Chris feels that Obama needed to “prove that he was capable of making the government work.” And the president will surely try to take credit for being at the helm when the opposing factions finally came to an agreement. But even though the ship may now be brought into the harbor, as far as liberals are concerned, Obama let all of the cargo wash over the side during the storm, so I don’t know how much that buys him. The one and only thing Obama got from his initial list of demands was a deal to see him past the next election. (And with the committee still to be formed, it’s not entirely clear that he even gets that.)

Probably the surest sign that conservatives came out of this in good shape is if the New York Times editorial board is upset about it. And boy howdy… are they upset!

There is little to like about the tentative agreement between Congressional leaders and the White House except that it happened at all. The deal would avert a catastrophic government default, immediately and probably through the end of 2012. The rest of it is a nearly complete capitulation to the hostage-taking demands of Republican extremists. It will hurt programs for the middle class and poor, and hinder an economic recovery…

President Obama could have been more adamant in dealing with Republicans, perhaps threatening to use constitutional powers to ignore the debt ceiling if Congress abrogated its responsibility to raise it. But this episode demonstrates the effectiveness of extortion. Reasonable people are forced to give in to those willing to endanger the national interest.

Some are arguing that the potential “trigger” of deep cuts to defense spending is some sort of a “win” for the Democrats, but I’m afraid I don’t see it that way. First of all, with six Republicans on the super commission charged with finding the rest of the cuts by Turkey Day, it’s unlikely that the triggers will come to pass. And even if they did, if the only “victory” a Democrat can claim is being happy over slashing military spending in the middle of two wars and a Time – Limited – Scope – Limited – Kinetic – Military – Action – Lasting – Days – Not – Weeks – Or – Months then that’s a pretty hollow victory if you ask me. Besides, serious conservatives have known for some time that defense spending cuts were going to have to be part of the eventual solution to our debt problem. We just don’t need them to be abrupt and artificially forced by a deficit committee.

But was all of this a victory on the policy side? As Norquist termed it during the round of Sunday morning shows over the weekend, it was a “victory” in terms of seeing movement in the correct direction and it being done without tax hikes. (Which may still come out of the committee under the cloak of tax reform.) But the totals will fail to impress. Even if you reduce the deficit by roughly $3T over the next ten years, that means that instead of our nation debt ballooning to $26T one decade out, it will only go up to $23T. It’s hard to deny that this gaudy sounding number is actually nothing more than a few good sized drops in a still very large bucket.

What we’ve yet to achieve is a fundamental shift in our national theory on government spending and the debt. Whether that comes or not will depend not only on the outcome of a few more election cycles, but on how keenly the voters feel the effects of decades of reckless fiscal policy. And that’s the next chapter in this book.

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HondaV65 on August 1, 2011 at 10:18 AM

Right, we gave him everything he wanted. It is always about him and him only. Re-election is top priority for B.O. And he’ll use any tool (Reid, etc) to accomplish that. Sad that the House is helping him. The Senate have done what they could. The House have no excuse.

I’m reminded of that saying, are you a man or a mouse? Squeak up.

bluefox on August 1, 2011 at 10:31 AM

Primary anyone who thinks it’s OK to enable spending beyond our means. And worse, once again, this is being rushed thru without review. Despite the spin, I bet there will be a number of unexpected and unintended consequences.

I can understand situations where someone like West has to consider the constituients, ie Seniors that have been paniced by the threat of Obie withholding their checks or veterans not getting their care/checks. So he has to ride with the stampedeing herd until they calm down. But I believe he truly understands fiscal conservatism and not merely pandering.

On the other hand, looking at OK, I believe all the reps, except for Boren (D) have been stalwarts on this debt issue which is good. Yet, being that OK is a very red State, the TeaParty needs to primary them next year anyway just to keep them ‘honest’.

But the bad is Coburn enabling the gang of 6 crap, it is high time for Dr No to go. Fortunately, he’s stated he won’t run again in ’16. There’s also Inhofe who is up in ’14, but it’d be nice if he or both retires early. If OK allowed it, I’d be aboard in a NY minute to recall both — they have left us hanging with the smoke and mirrors on several fronts.

As for the rest of you, ya’ll need to look at primarying and/or recall. The clock is running against us, both with regards to debt and runaway spending. That pluse ObamaCare is the jackboot on the necks of our future. We can never begin to recover until this is repealed, not replaced or ‘tweaked’.

AH_C on August 1, 2011 at 10:35 AM

The biggest losers of course, will be the American people Taxpayers and their dependents!

America has no distinctly criminal class……….except Congress!

GFW on August 1, 2011 at 10:29 AM

NoNails on August 1, 2011 at 10:35 AM

ajacksonian on August 1, 2011 at 10:22 AM

Yes, indeed, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

But it was sacked in 3.

Touche, Touche!!!

bluefox on August 1, 2011 at 10:36 AM

ProudPalinFan on August 1, 2011 at 10:23 AM

Thanks. I just heard the Senate is in session and Reid is speaking. Some “structure” of how this bill is going to be handled. Don’t have C-span2 on my cable, so going online.

I don’t trust Reid, and heard that whatever he’s doing is going to make Boehner’s work much harder.

bluefox on August 1, 2011 at 10:39 AM

As opposed to your theme, which is that we were doomed unless we increased spending.

fossten on August 1, 2011 at 10:19 AM

I admire your passion but you will have to learn to direct your energies to where it is most effective.

You know what my theme is, the 2012 elections. Use your energy to get the right people elected so we can have better outcomes. I am going to work my a$$ off to get rid of McCaskill here in Missouri. Care to join me?

Vince on August 1, 2011 at 10:40 AM

Save your breath. The overall theme of commenters here is that we are doomed because we didn’t balance the budget with this deal. They’ll acquire more patience national debt and tax burden as they get older.

Vince on August 1, 2011 at 10:16 AM

Yeah, silly us, not wanting to watch the national debt continue higher another $10trillion dollars as a result of this ‘win’.

Midas on August 1, 2011 at 10:40 AM

A “fundamental shift”? How so?

We achieved:
1. A one year hiatus in spending increases,to be scored as a “cut” due only to CBO rules.
2. A reduction in spending suggestions to future Congresses. Real reductions in those years are obviously a function of which party controls Congress, and which members control the GOP. John McCain, just to pick one example, isn’t going to feel bound by suggested spending restraints in 2015 unless the hobbits are a strong force on capital hill.
3. Another committee to study spending in future years, and maybe to discuss entitlement reform.

We did not achieve anything fundamental on that list, no matter what hyperbolic rhetoric with which you choose to describe it.

“Fundamental” change is still to come. The future battles are far more important than this one, including the new Continuing Resolution battle coming up in only one month. We won a holding action against the totalitarians on the left, that’s all. But we do now know they can be beaten. And that, of and in itself, is a great lesson.

MTF on August 1, 2011 at 10:41 AM

@shopgirl49 @SpeakerBoehner But if we cut Agriculture & Education, we the people won’t be smart enough to know how to farm! LOL

ProudPalinFan on August 1, 2011 at 10:42 AM

I admire your passion but you will have to learn to direct your energies to where it is most effective.

You know what my theme is, the 2012 elections. Use your energy to get the right people elected so we can have better outcomes. I am going to work my a$$ off to get rid of McCaskill here in Missouri. Care to join me?

Vince on August 1, 2011 at 10:40 AM

I am put off by your condescension.

Don’t start thinking that you know me, son.

fossten on August 1, 2011 at 10:51 AM

It’s not like this is the last time EVAR we are going to discuss the budget. And the odds are good the next Congress and President will be much more amenable to the cuts that need to happen. Bush’s and the GOP Congress’s big problem 2000-2006 was that the 2000 result was so controversial, and the Dems rendered so desperate from the imminently retiring Boomers, that the rhetoric was ratcheted to 11, and the media played right along. 2012 is likely to have a much more definitive result, liberal Boomer money is going to dry up, and Soros is going to start worrying about extradition treaties. This time, the Tea Party will nip at the GOP’s heels to the right, instead of angry liberals to the left. I just don’t see why we have to have the perfect budget deal right now?

Sekhmet on August 1, 2011 at 10:29 AM

Once again you assume there will be a perfect vacuum down the road if/when we have more control.

All they need to do is create another crisis (see Bush/bailouts) and the GOP will fold again.

Do you NOT see the pattern?

fossten on August 1, 2011 at 10:53 AM

Romney comes out against this bill.

csdeven on August 1, 2011 at 10:54 AM

I am put off by your condescension.

Don’t start thinking that you know me, son.

fossten on August 1, 2011 at 10:51 AM

Sigh. Hopeless.

Vince on August 1, 2011 at 11:01 AM

I unfollowed the VP’s feed and the White House’s feed. Blocked them and reported them as spam. I DIDN’T want to follow them!

Talk about Big Brother.

ProudPalinFan on August 1, 2011 at 11:10 AM

All they need to do is create another crisis (see Bush/bailouts) and the GOP will fold again.

Do you NOT see the pattern?

fossten on August 1, 2011 at 10:53 AM

We don’t fully understand what triggered the collapse of 2008, setting aside for a moment the terrible social-engineering legislation that contributed to setting the stage. I am confident that the lefties pushed it along, and can do it again. The bad odor that lingers over it tells me that the democratics favorite Nazi stooge George Soros may have had something to do with it.

So if they did it again, who/what would be blamed? Little Bammie, capitalism in general, the banks, Republicans??

slickwillie2001 on August 1, 2011 at 11:13 AM

Vince on August 1, 2011 at 10:40 AM

McCaskill? I don’t live in that State, but have a relative there that is politically literate:-) Will pass the word!

bluefox on August 1, 2011 at 11:16 AM

I don’t have a good handle on the defense cuts. If the cuts are based on the standard predictions of 7-8% growth, and if the amount in there for defense includes Af/Iraq war funding at surge levels, then we probably can afford the cuts. In fact if my assumptions are correct they won’t really be cuts either. They may simply be a restatement of Dingy’s ‘cuts based on no longer fighting two wars’.

One problem though, the defense cuts agreed to by little Bammie will probably be enacted promptly, whereas other cuts will be in the hazy ‘out-years’.

slickwillie2001 on August 1, 2011 at 11:17 AM

Romney comes out against this bill.

csdeven on August 1, 2011 at 10:54 AM

Finally at the 11th hour and 59th minute.

AH_C on August 1, 2011 at 11:22 AM

BTW:

Until we get rid of the phony CBO scoring and have real private-business style (GAAP-like) scoring, the numbers aren’t worth the paper they are printed on.

We need “Zero Baseline Budgeting” and measurable Cost/Benefit results from every nook and cranny of government.

landlines on August 1, 2011 at 11:22 AM

fossten on August 1, 2011 at 10:53 AM

Those that are always counting their chickens before they are hatched sometimes come up empty:-)

A bird in the hand is always better than two in the bush.

We have NOW and now is what is important.

Yes, we can work toward 2012, but if this deal passes, it makes that job so much harder.

Tax increases? Oh, Yeah, they are coming. Then we’ll see what those wanting to depend on 2012 have to say.

bluefox on August 1, 2011 at 11:23 AM

We don’t fully understand what triggered the collapse of 2008, setting aside for a moment the terrible social-engineering legislation that contributed to setting the stage. I am confident that the lefties pushed it along, and can do it again. The bad odor that lingers over it tells me that the democratics favorite Nazi stooge George Soros may have had something to do with it.

So if they did it again, who/what would be blamed? Little Bammie, capitalism in general, the banks, Republicans??

slickwillie2001 on August 1, 2011 at 11:13 AM

It’s one thing to knock down the economy when George W Bush was there to take the blame. Another collapse is too likely to be blamed on the current Administration.

Sekhmet on August 1, 2011 at 11:24 AM

Romney comes out against this bill.

csdeven on August 1, 2011 at 10:54 AM

Schadenfreude on August 1, 2011 at 11:26 AM

I find it hilarious that defenders of this horrid deal uses talking points from far-left progressives and MSM types as proof that it was somehow “good”.

Norwegian on August 1, 2011 at 11:26 AM

ProudPalinFan on August 1, 2011 at 11:10 AM

I tried yesterday to get the feed from thomas.gov. It said you needed Windows Media Player or Silverlight. However, when the window opened, it required Silverlight, which I don’t have. It can cause issues with Flash Player and it also can conflict with Firefox. I only use IE, so don’t have that.

I wouldn’t want the VP/WH feed EVER, LOL

Just finished hooking up my Router so I can use both PC’s.
Power cycling, updating Anti-Virus, etc. Grrr:-)

bluefox on August 1, 2011 at 11:27 AM

Finally at the 11th hour and 59th minute.

AH_C on August 1, 2011 at 11:22 AM

PS. Plus he can demonstrate how CCB worked for MA under his peerless leadership. Wait… here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3FnpaWQJO0.

AH_C on August 1, 2011 at 11:27 AM

Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Ron Paul are my first 4. That ought to get the Dems riled up to start!

barnone on August 1, 2011 at 9:02 AM

I’d agree with you about all of them, except for Ron Paul.

Come next spring, he’ll be the GOP candidate for POTUS, and I don’t think it would be appropriate for him to spend all his time in DC, when he should be on teh hustings, recapturing the WH for the GOP.

8)

JohnGalt23 on August 1, 2011 at 11:41 AM

I thought the idea was to avoid castrating our military, ‘kay?

KingGold on August 1, 2011 at 9:09 AM

Really?

I thought the idea was to balance the budget.

Because there isn’t a army on the planet that can take this country down, much less one that’s right around the corner.

With regards to the seriousness of the threat and its proximity, you cannot say the same about the debt crisis.

JohnGalt23 on August 1, 2011 at 11:44 AM

Let’s see, how good was the deal?

Was it better than having a Federal government whose spending was limited to its revenue, beginning Q4 of this year?

No.

If the debt limit had been allowed to stand, and the Feds not allowed to borrow past their current indebtedness, would we have balanced spending and revenue? With or without a long-delayed budget?

Yes.

QED: Deal was worse than nothing.

cthulhu on August 1, 2011 at 11:44 AM

The only winner here was politics as usual.

Moody’s is still going to downgrade our credit. And how will the media blame that on the conservatives?

Freelancer on August 1, 2011 at 11:51 AM

Moody’s is behind the market, since some AA credits already trade at better prices and (lower yields) than US debt. The cost has already been factored into the market.

MTF on August 1, 2011 at 11:54 AM

Carney coming up.

Let the carnival display its glory.

Schadenfreude on August 1, 2011 at 11:55 AM

Just another comment on this “deal” They try to say Medicare won’t be cut, just the Providers. They have already cut the Providers by 20%. Now how many more Providers will continue to take Medicare patients if they are going to receive more cuts?

Idiots. I’m surprised they can find their way to their offices without help.

bluefox on August 1, 2011 at 11:57 AM

JohnGalt: Actually, there are quite a few armies on this planet that can take this country down. China’s springs immediately to mind.

Witness a handful of terrorists that were able to kill 3000 of our civilians on 9/11/2001.

I’m not going to argue that there could be quite a few cuts in the military (I am personally familiar with the acquisition process), but to think that the defense budget can be raided for funds is a bit… too much, I would think.

Scott H on August 1, 2011 at 11:59 AM

Freelancer on August 1, 2011 at 11:51 AM

I’m not sure if they are a standard, seeing their past pre-2008 performance (lack of)

S&P may be.

Off topic, but I wonder if the S.S. checks were received today. Another bluff? LOL

bluefox on August 1, 2011 at 12:01 PM

bluefox on August 1, 2011 at 10:36 AM

We aren’t on the building up side any more.

Our choice is how to take it apart.

Cloward-Piven is all about complex system destruction, to overwhelm it and collapse it.

Predictable dismantling goes much quicker than building the thing and doesn’t give opportunity to those who wish total collapse. No Nation has attempted the latter and has, instead, gotten versions of C-P, be it Rome, Babylon, various Chinese Empires, the Mayans, Incas… pick your poison. The UK came close to such dismantling and points out that you can’t keep spending like an Empire for frivolities when you don’t have an Empire any more. America was founded on the principles of sound, small government that made it nearly impossible to collapse the system unless we purposely forgot it. Yet it is possible to tear away sections and get back to that core of government.

Not easy, no.

Not safe by any means.

Every time we kick the can down the road you are closer to unpredictable collapse of a cascading sort, like the Bronze Age Trading System. Who knew that Troy was key to the upkeep of civilizations from India to the British Isles? Yet you can find trade items that passed through that centralized trade port all across the area between those points and as far north as Siberia. A decade of war and one key part fell out of the system and the system collapsed. Sound scary? That’s the real world for you, and our politician play with fire and gasoline, never thinking that they, too, can be burned.

Our choice is to take the safer route of quickly getting to something that still works, or asking for the day of complex collapse from any single event to happen. We are asking for trouble and lots of it, far beyond anything in politics. We aren’t Rome… what we have is far more complex than anything Rome had… and we are not one bit better off thinking like the Romans that Rome would be the Eternal City. Too bad they didn’t start to reform their spending, military and social patterns before that. History teaches us much and when we start to see the patterns fall into similar arrangement we just might want to flip ahead a few pages to see how things turned out in the past and learn our lessons, now, not in a year, not in five years and not in a decade.

ajacksonian on August 1, 2011 at 12:12 PM

Re defense cuts: French Secularism Dies in the Middle East

The Middle East is ready to blow.

slickwillie2001 on August 1, 2011 at 12:26 PM

ajacksonian on August 1, 2011 at 12:12 PM

I’m not a student of history as yourself. We should learn from the past as you say. It appears that pride & arrogance plays into our current status. The lust for power is fueled by greed for it and the pride & arrogance says, “I can do it smarter & better” No matter who the particular “I” is at the moment, singular or a group.

Wisdom looks at the past, but has no place in the mindset of those I just described above.

So with this “debt-ceiling deal”, you see the pride, arrogance, greed and power all behind it.

That is what I see, not only with this issue, but prior ones as well.

bluefox on August 1, 2011 at 12:45 PM

Foxnews has a poll on this. I just voted!!

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2011/08/01/would-vote-for-debt-plan/

bluefox on August 1, 2011 at 1:12 PM

Scott H on August 1, 2011 at 11:59 AM

Actually, there are quite a few armies on this planet that can take this country down. China’s springs immediately to mind.

Stop. Just stop, before you embarrass yourself any further.

Witness a handful of terrorists that were able to kill 3000 of our civilians on 9/11/2001.

You do realize that “9-11″ is some magic incantation that will balance the budget, right?

But since you bring it up, exactly how would having an additional $200 billion/year in defense spending have done anything to prevent 9/11?

JohnGalt23 on August 1, 2011 at 1:20 PM

From Marc A. Thiessen in an opinion piece in today’s WaPo:

According to Sen. Rob Portman, a former White House budget director, if we cut a dollar of spending for every dollar we raise the debt limit, we will balance the budget in 10 years — something that even the Paul Ryan budget would not achieve.

Per Jazz Shaw in the above post:

Even if you reduce the deficit by roughly $3T over the next ten years, that means that instead of our nation debt ballooning to $26T one decade out, it will only go up to $23T.

Is Rob Portman’s analysis potentially correct?

Vik_R on August 1, 2011 at 1:56 PM

Vik_R on August 1, 2011 at 1:56 PM

I think this has to do with the baseline that is used with any balancing the budget plan. The way the Accounting tricks are used have a bearing on this. Apples to Apples so to speak. At least that’s what I’ve gotten out of this.

Connie Mack out of Florida has the Penny plan. A penny cut would balance it in 6 or 7 years. Hannity is promoting this and Mack was on his TV show this past week.

http://www.onecentsolution.org/2011/07/27/senator-rand-paul-and-sean-hannity-on-one-cent-solution/

bluefox on August 1, 2011 at 2:11 PM

Thanks for the great link. Cutting 1% a year to balance the budget – that is easy to communicate to the public, and it doesn’t sound like a sacrifice.

Vik_R on August 1, 2011 at 2:19 PM

ajacksonian on August 1, 2011 at 12:12 PM

Amen Brother!

AH_C on August 1, 2011 at 4:59 PM

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