Wishing You Well

Celebrate, America! The ‘Grand Bargain’ Is Still Dead!

Posted on: August 30, 2013

  • In: Hopes
  • Comments Off on Celebrate, America! The ‘Grand Bargain’ Is Still Dead!

In this time of tension and trouble, it’s rare to have good news to bring you, but today I’m happy to say I have some: The “Grand Bargain” is still dead. Pour a drink and toast, America, because it’s not all bad!

The news came to me in the form of this story in The Washington Post, titled, “White House, Republican senators give up on budget talks.” And like I said, it’s “not all bad,” which means there are some regrettable things of which to bring you word.

First, these talks were geared toward avoiding a government shutdown in the near future and a debt ceiling apocalypse in the not-quite-as-near future. As it stands, that tension remains. Though there are some mitigating factors. First of all, while various GOP senators have been working very hard to bring some maturity back to these debates, even if they’d been successful, the House of Representatives still exists, and efforts to bridge the budget impasses and come to a deal would have likely been for nought. So it’s a loss, but not a great one.

And, as Jonathan Chait has been detailing, what House Speaker John Boehner seems to be ready and willing to do is simply steer his bath-salts caucus colleagues past the political disaster that would be a government shutdown. Of course, he’s had to promise them the chance to have a go at creating a debt ceiling crisis. That’s bad, because at that point, he runs out of worse Armageddons to which he can trade up.

Fortunately for everyone, the Obama White House has abandoned its previous position — that the debt ceiling marked a good occasion to negotiate the budget — and has reverted to the more traditional and responsible approach to the debt ceiling, which is to tell Congress, “There will be no negotiating on the debt ceiling.”

The best thing, then, that we can say about the failure of these talks is that while they haven’t improved anything for the budget impasse in the immediate sense, they’ve not made things worse. There is one area, however, in which you can be absolutely ecstatic that the talks foundered and failed. Per The Washington Post’s Lori Montgomery:

Through multiple meetings with White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, Deputy Chief of Staff Rob Nabors and Budget Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the group discussed a range of options, including a “grand bargain” that would involve a complete restructuring of Medicare, according to people familiar with the meetings, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the private talks.

Emphasis mine, because what a bullet America just dodged! Remember as always, that “Grand Bargain” is a euphemism for “further immiserating the American people,” and that “complete restructuring of Medicare” is a euphemism for “gutting Medicare.”

Do remember the following: The global austerity movement was founded on bunk math; we are living in a Golden Age of deficit reduction

August 2013
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