By the time I post this, there may already be a debt-ceiling deal. You may as well keep reading, though, as long as you’re here.
Take for consideration Krauthammer (via Sykes), essentially arguing that Repubs and Tea Partiers and such should accept a so-so deal, increase the debt ceiling, avoid the consequences of the alternative, put off their more ambitious ideas (like a balanced budget amendment – more on that later) and hope to gain more power in the next election to get a better deal next time around.
He’s not totally wrong. He’s not totally right, either.
Let’s stipulate the following: first, there will be more debt-ceiling increases after this one, there have to be; second, the ‘cuts’ that will be included in any agreement aren’t real spending cuts, they’re just decreases in the deficit – that is, they only slow (slightly) the growth of the debt, they don’t shrink government spending in any way; third, those ‘cuts’ can easily be superseded by the next Congress. Right now, they don’t mean jack shit.
Fourth, all the people having an opinion on what to do about the debt ceiling (including you) have one thing in common. None of them can see the future.
I can’t see the future either, as far as you know. If I could, here’s what I would want to find out.
Suppose the Boehner plan or something like it were to get passed. Ten years from now, in 2021, when we all look back on the last ten years, will we see a series of bills like it? Bills to increase the debt ceiling, but also to cut spending by a little more, and keep cutting it until we approach a balanced budget? Or do we see a one-off deficit reduction plan that goes nowhere?
If the former, then Krauthammer is right. If the latter, then we may as well have gone to the barricades on this one, ’cause we’re screwed.
Check this space in ten years, I’ll tell you how it turned out.