The debt ceiling will be raised, by $2.4 trillion, through 2012. Medicaid and Social Security are saved — for now. And for now, Medicare cuts will only be made on the suppliers, not beneficiaries, side. Those are the positives about the deal that the White House and Republican leaders agreed to late yesterday. But only in the most immediate sense. The rest of the deal, in plain English, sucks — not least because it is designed to snuff out the few lights that shine right now.
Last night, on MSNBC, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (who calls the deal a “Satan sandwich”) said that Republicans should be “dancing in the streets” because they got everything they wanted, and more than they could have dreamed of getting at the start of this process. The Wall Street Journal has good reason to crow, and it does. Smitty at The Other McCain tells Paul Krugman he has “the mentality of an insect” to believe that removing billions of dollars from an already anemic economy will inhibit growth even more. Donald Douglas at American Power recycles the usual right-wing idiocies about government spending being “out of control” and Democrats being the “obstructionists.” He does have the common sense to acknowledge that progressives have been “decisively crushed” — and adds that “with luck it’s just a start.” Millions of jobless Americans who are struggling to keep their homes and put food on the table will be pleased to hear that “with luck,” the current deal is “just a start” toward an even more depressed and stagnant economy.
I will have more as I continue to plow through the analysis, explanations, and commentary.