In addendum to my earlier trillion-dollar-deficit and possible-Moody’s-credit-downgrade post, here’s what our Congressional leaders had to say on the subject, via The Hill. Speaker of the House John Boehner, in response to a question about Moody’s announcement, says that President Obama and the Senate Democrats have gone AWOL on producing a viable debt deal:
“I’m not confident at all. Listen, the House has done its job, on both the sequester and the looming tax hikes that will cost our economy some 700,000 jobs. The Senate at some point has to act. And on both of these, where’s the president? Where’s the leadership? Absent without leave.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, on the other hand, seems to disagree (it’s shocking, I know):
Reid told reporters that it is far too early to give up on the prospect of a bipartisan deal on taxes and spending during the lame-duck session after Election Day.
He said Republicans need to look at the glass “half full” instead of “half empty,” noting that Democrats are willing to extend the Bush-era tax rates for 98 percent of American families.
“I was disappointed when my friend John Boehner said today that he has no confidence on a budget deal. I think we have to look at the glass being half full and not half empty all the time. I’m confident that we will reach some kind of arrangement,” Reid said.
“It’s much, much too early to give up,” Reid added. “I’m not going to give up.”
At the risk of shocking you all again, I’m with Speaker Boehner on this one. For what feels like the zillionth time, hiking taxes on families making more than 250k a year is not a solution to our debt problem. It’s a populist balm that makes people feel better by channeling their resentment toward the wealthy and making them participate in “shared sacrifice” or whatever, but it’s a balm that will come at the price of jobs, stability, and economic growth. President Obama has been steadily touring the country, focusing his campaign around this one faux-point, and trying to convince Americans that he can’t get anything done now because of those darn obstructionist Republicans but that his hitherto unknown leadership skills will magically materialize on a second term. …Why do I still feel so skeptical?