My first impression of the budget deal was pretty much, meh.
So, about that budget deal: yes, it was a small victory for Democrats. It was also, possibly, a small step toward political sanity, with some Republicans rejecting, provisionally, the notion that a party controlling neither the White House nor the Senate can nonetheless get whatever it wants through extortion.
But the larger picture is one of years of deeply destructive policy, imposing gratuitous suffering on working Americans. And this deal didnâ€™t do much to change that picture.
On the other hand, Dave Weigel thinks the Dems won big —
It’s largely the story of the deficit shrinking, Democrats denying Republicans any shot at entitlement reform, and Republicansâ€”who would never admit thisâ€”realizing they needed to stop looking like the antagonists who were ready to inflict massive casualties to force through spending cuts. It is a massive victory for Democrats, who took Social Security and Medicare cuts out of the conversation after two years of “Washington” insisting that they needed to happen.
And it’s also the funeral of Fix the Debt. No one’s taking selfies at this bash. Fix the Debt, the iconic “just use this current panic to cut entitlements” pressure group, spent at least $43 million to influence the conversation. Its reward: bupkis. . . .
. . . If liberals want to thank anyone for the stasis that killed debt mania, they should thank the conservatives who held out on a 2011 bargain and the consultant class that did basically nothing with all the money provided by debt-hawk business interests.
I take optimism wherever I can find it.