Yesterday it appeared that John Boehner and congressional Democrats were close to a deal on the debt ceiling. But Boehner caved under pressure from his Right.
House Speaker John A. Boehner abandoned efforts Saturday night to cut a far-reaching debt-reduction deal, telling President Obama that a more modest package offers the only politically realistic path to avoiding a default on the mounting national debt.
The negotiators were close to an agreement on a deal that would have included significant cuts to sending plus substantial tax increases. But the ultra-Right among the congressional GOP let Boehner know they would not support tax
The sweeping deal Obama and Boehner had been discussing would have required both parties to take a bold leap into the political abyss. Democrats were demanding more than $800 billion in new tax revenue, causing heartburn among the hard-line fiscal conservatives who dominate the House Republican caucus. Republicans, meanwhile, were demanding sharp cuts to Medicare and Social Security, popular safety net programs that congressional Democrats have vowed to protect.
Obama, at least, was willing to make that leap and had put significant reductions to entitlement programs on the table. But on Saturday, Boehner blinked: Republican aides said he could not, in the end, reach agreement with the White House on a strategy to permit the Bush-era tax cuts for the nationâ€™s wealthiest households to expire next year, as lawmakers undertook a thorough rewrite of the tax code.
Steve Benen explains what happened in a little more detail, adding,
As a substantive matter, the anti-tax extremism that dominates Republican politics is well past the point of being farcical. Given a chance to cut the debt by $4 trillion, GOP leaders who claim to be frantic about a non-existent debt crisis have been exposed as frauds
Do read “Playing Chicken With History” by Paul Glastris. Glastris is making a point I know I’ve tried to make in the past, which is that the extremely wealthy who game the system in their own favor are ultimately just hurting themselves by cutting the legs out from under the economy.
Conservatives say, incessantly, that “a rising tide raises all boats.” By this they seem to mean that if the wealthy get wealthier it benefits everybody. History is full of examples that say otherwise, however, as Glastris says. To stick to the boats and tides analogy, boats that are not properly maintained will fall apart and sink.
What the righties need to understand that while a rising tide might not raise all boars, but an ebbing tide will sure as bleep lower all boats.
See also Susan Mettler, “$20,000 Leagues Under the State.” It’s a stupid title but a good article.