Debt Limit Deal: It Looks Like Oscar Was Right

Earlier this week, the rat wandered out of his usual comfort zone of funny videos and cute animals to do something on the debt limit debate – and lo and behold, what he predicted would happen looks like it actually happened…

Now go back to what we just talked about with Reid. He’s already sacrificed tax hikes and the dollar-for-dollar deal. His last holdout is making this settle down until the election’s over. And he won’t budge on that. He can’t. He’s made it a hill to die on, and so has Obama.

Like I said, is it really worth our while? Why not let Reid have that one, but in return he’s gonna have to offer up actual, real stuff to get that debt limit increase. You get in a conference committee with this guy, and there’s your deal. He’s showed you his hand – above all else he’s got to make this debt limit thing go away until January 2013 – and the guess is you can get pretty much whatever you want out of him if you give him that.

Via Hot Air, the parameters of a deal are now out there…

Via Jeff DunetzNational Journal’s Major Garrett also gets a similar story from his sources, but the news is a little better:

  • 2.8 trillion in deficit reduction with $1 trillion locked in through discretionary spending caps over 10 years and the remainder determined by a so-called super committee.
  • The Super Committee must report precise deficit-reduction proposals by Thanksgiving.
  • The Super Committee would have to propose $1.8 trillion spending cuts to achieve that amount of deficit reduction over 10 years.
  • If the Super Committee fails, Congress must send a balanced-budget amendment to the states for ratification. If that doesn’t happen, across-the-board spending cuts would go into effect and could touch Medicare and defense spending.
  • No net new tax revenue would be part of the special committee’s deliberations.

I expect plenty of hyperventilating at the term “Super Committee,” but it’s basically the kind of ad hoc committee that Congress can authorize at any time.  It sounds a lot like the BRAC process used by Congress to identify military bases for closure.  The prohibition on net tax revenue gains is a big, big win for Republicans if it holds.  I should note that Jimmie Bise in his post believes that the second round of cuts might be actual cuts; if so, then this is an even bigger win.

Note too that the second round of cuts appears to be guaranteed; if the Super Commission can’t agree on specific and precise reductions, then an across-the-board cut goes into place.

This is a pretty significant example of a compromise, and I can live with it.

I was ambivalent about Oscar’s position that letting the debt limit increase go past the election was a bargaining chip to throw onto the table. I don’t know that it helps Republicans all that much to have this thing about the debt limit out there on a constant basis, because the public doesn’t like a stalemate and they’re already at “pox on both your houses” territory with the current round.

What’s more, the Democrats have shown themselves willing to go to any rhetorical lengths in an effort to demonize our side. You’ve got that harpy from San Francisco saying she’s fighting for life on this planet, for crying out loud, and the Angry Perm from Florida is trying to argue that the GOP is attempting to install a dictatorship. They trade in nonsense on that side of the aisle. People who actually pay attention to this stuff recognize it for what it is, but people for whom John Stewart is the new Walter Cronkite don’t know the difference.

Which means the GOP has to get these things done in blitzkreig fashion. The model has to be World War II, not World War I. And with the way things are, where you only hold the House, a stalemate is the best you can get. There is a danger that if you keep getting into these stalemate situations it’s going to make things difficult next November.

But on the other hand, this will be the largest debt limit increase in American history. And it’s not even going to cover two years of deficits. That’s shameful, and it’s a disgrace no matter what the Republicans get in return. Trey Gowdy, the freshman Republican congressman from South Carolina, had said that what he wanted in return for voting for a debt limit increase was an assurance that this would be the last time we’d need to increase the debt limit. Adding $3 trillion to it while cutting $1 trillion over 10 years to start and then another $2 trillion over 10 years in six months – that’s not going to satisfy Gowdy’s criteria.

So from that standpoint this is going to come off as a capitulation of sorts. And Obama will be able to claim credit for getting the debt limit off the table – he’ll also claim that he came over to the GOP’s side, too, since there are no tax increases in the deal and the spending cuts are greater than or at least equal to the debt limit increase. He’ll send all his minions out on the hustings to say the Tea Party people are so stupid that they don’t even know when they’ve won, and the legacy media will regurgitate that from now until the election.

So the way you want to handle this if you’re one of the House conservatives is that you maybe take this deal, insist on getting the six Republican members of this ad hoc committee to be your people, which if I’m John Boehner I’m more than happy to do because I need to increase the peace on my side, and then I launch offensive after offensive on the deficit outside of the debt limit deal from now until the election in an effort to shame not only Obama and the Democrats but the RINO’s, too. The narrative then being you proved you’re reasonable by letting this deal come to pass but if the other side and the wet noodles on our side think they’ve resolved anything with this compromise that doesn’t balance the budget they’re high. You trash this deal in public starting 30 seconds after it passes, and you scream about how we had to practically burn the economy down just to get this because of what a bunch of low-life communists Obama and Reid and the Senate Democrats are.

That said, this is a deal which does move the ball forward. You keep the BBA on the table, you’re getting a round of budget cuts, at least in the out years which I agree don’t really constitute budget cuts at all unless they happen now but that’s the way it’s going to be in Washington until the place is populated by a majority of fiscal conservatives. And the other side spent months screaming about how taxes have to go up but ended up with nothing. That, like the Hot Air guys noted, is a huge win for our side because not only don’t they get what they want but they get remembered for having jaw-jacked about it. Give these people a majority and they’ll raise your taxes.

Plus this is a deal Obama had no part in crafting. Do this deal and you can point out again and again that he’s of no use whatsoever in resolving the debt/deficit problem, which is more important than anything else in this country. In fact, since the basic principles and structure of the deal come from Boehner, you should be able to impress on the public that it’s the Republicans who are leading on this issue and if it’s ever going to be resolved it’s going to have to be Republicans in charge.

That’s important, because as Oscar pointed out a few days ago the most important thing at this point is getting Reid out of the high chair in the Senate and getting Obama out of the White House. Almost anything you do in the meantime which furthers that helps you. This deal should help in that regard.

Of course, they haven’t consummated this thing yet, so it could easily blow up before it passes. For all we know, Obama might blow it up. Should he do that it would probably be the end of his presidency, but at this point you can’t count on him to recognize that fact.

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