So the House passed the Senate’s “fiscal cliff” bill, with the support of most House Democrats but less than half of House Republicans. But seemingly in a fit of pique, yesterday the House flushed an appropriations bill for Sandy victims down the toilet.
If we were living in a Dickens novel, the GOP would send Tiny Tim to the workhouses without his crutch.
As to the deal itself, Paul Krugman says it’s not terrible, but …
Well, the CBO estimates cumulative potential GDP over the next decade at $208 trillion.So the difference between what Obama got and what he arguably should have gotten is around 0.1 percent of potential GDP. Thatâ€™s not crucial, to say the least.
And on the principle of the thing, you could say that Democrats held their ground on the essentials â€” no cuts in benefits â€” while Republicans have just voted for a tax increase for the first time in decades.
So why the bad taste in progressivesâ€™ mouths? It has less to do with where Obama ended up than with how he got there. He kept drawing lines in the sand, then erasing them and retreating to a new position. And his evident desire to have a deal before hitting the essentially innocuous fiscal cliff bodes very badly for the confrontation looming in a few weeks over the debt ceiling.
If Obama stands his ground in that confrontation, this deal wonâ€™t look bad in retrospect. If he doesnâ€™t, yesterday will be seen as the day he began throwing away his presidency and the hopes of everyone who supported him.
See also Michael Lind, “Right-Wing Dreams of Demented Utopias.”