Tuesday, August 2, 2011

What's Next?

The Rushes and the Shauns weren't too happy yesterday as they discussed the debt deal. And they are right of course. The deal does allow for tax increases and defense cuts, and has very little in the way of spending cuts. We should be outraged!

But think what the dirty compromise means. It means that we will have the same argument in the Fall when it comes time to do the Appropriations bills.

Or does the debt-ceiling deal mean that we don't get any appropriations bills this year?

In any case, whenever the next skirmish occurs it will be the same old thing. Republicans will be calling for solving the debt problem and the Obamis will be arguing for tax increases. What in the world is wrong with that?

Let's not forget what this is all about. This is about changing the political culture of the US from the spend and elect culture to the cut and elect culture. You don't do that overnight. It takes years to make a difference and move the ship of state in a new direction. If Republicans had got what they wanted in the debt deal then we could disband the Tea Party patriots and go home. That would not be a good deal. What we want is for our chaps to be outraged at the other guys and not too happy with our guys and go out there and start organizing to put a lot more Tea Party supporters in Congress and in the state legislatures.

Let's admit, at least, that the president got what he had to have, which is a debt ceiling to get him through the election and the prospect of revenue increases and defense cuts to wave like a wand in front of his supporters.

Strategically, the president is flying up a box canyon. If he wins then he has to implement spending cuts. Period. And his second term will be a nightmare that will chop the Democrats down to a remnant. Much better to lose and let the Republicans make the tough choices. Then Democrats can barrack from the sidelines and complain that Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid "as we know it" have been destroyed.

Politics is all about fear. Used to be that the way to frighten the voters was to accuse Republicans of taking an ax to beloved social programs: Mediscare. But now the fear factor is a two-edged sword. There is the debt fear factor and the entitlement fear factor. Are you more afraid of ending up like Greece or more afraid of throwing grandma into the street?

That's how politics is shaping up for the next decade. Which is more frightening? Uncontrollable debt or cuts in entitlements?

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