Obviously better than crumbling under the pressure like Democrats usually do. Hey, they do this a few more times, Democrats might even become respected and feared. Maybe.
Needless to say, though, this doesn’t really make right Obama’s prior decision not to stand firm on the debt ceiling. While it’s possible that Republicans will be less enthusiastic about jacking us up over the debt ceiling again, the damage–3% of GDP–is already done due to crises which all trace back to the first debt ceiling skirmish, not to mention the damage done by sequestration which might well make it more. Obama does not deserve all the blame for this. However, it’s impossible not to award him a large share of it, given what we know of the process that led to the standoff–in short, dumb political calculation and poor impressions of their opposition. It obviously remains to be seen whether the debt ceiling will subside and once again become a boring quirk of our system, and if it does, then it will offer some measure of redemption for Obama on this matter. But only some.
It’s fair to say that the president has learned from this particular mistake and is now doing the right thing. Unfortunately, there’s simply no way of reversing many of the effects of the initial mistake absent a silver DeLorean and Christopher Lloyd. It’s good and all that Obama didn’t compound his earlier mistake, but trusting Boehner and negotiating over the debt ceiling still stands as the biggest blunder of his first term, and I’m quite certain that history will eventually record it that way.
The battle is over, motherfuckers. Put down your weapons and return to your homes. Kiss your loved ones. And we can all warm ourselves by the fire made from the corpses of Republicans who threw themselves at the barricade
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So it looks like we’re already falling off the cliff and most of us haven’t noticed yet:
The global faith in US institutions has already been undermined. The mechanism by which catastrophe would arise has already been set into motion. And as a result, economic growth in both the US and the rest of the world will be lower than it should be. Unemployment will be higher. Social unrest will be more destructive. These things aren’t as bad now as they would be if we actually got to a point of payment default. …
While debt default is undoubtedly the worst of all possible worlds, then, the bonkers level of Washington dysfunction on display right now is nearly as bad. Every day that goes past is a day where trust and faith in the US government is evaporating — and once it has evaporated, it will never return. The Republicans in the House have already managed to inflict significant, lasting damage to the US and the global economy — even if they were to pass a completely clean bill tomorrow morning, which they won’t. The default has already started, and is already causing real harm. The only question is how much worse it’s going to get.
Not like anyone that reads this blog actually believes that the Republican deficit peacocks in Washington actually give a shit about the deficit, but it’s worth pointing out that, surprise!, when the economy tanks, deficits skyrocket.
Will that in mind, all that self-righteous, pearl-clutching hand-wringing about us drowning our children in debt is pretty funny. In the most morbid sort of way.
The other day I decided to take a look at how prior shutdowns have worked out for the party doing the shutting down, on the state level. Turns out there are very few examples of this occurring, which surprised me. Then I thought for a second and realized that California during the Schwarzenegger years constantly operated under budget crises and missed deadlines for budgets, but the government never actually shut down due to mechanisms that locked in funding for most every service that the government provides. Given the extreme infrequency with which full-on shutdowns occur, I have to assume that most states either have similar mechanisms or have parties that are more serious about governing. The only two real examples I could come up with were in New Jersey in 2006 and Minnesota in 2011.
The New Jersey example doesn’t actually seem all that meaningful. It wasn’t partisan so much as an intraparty dispute over tax hikes that was resolved in a few days. In retrospect, the battle foreshadowed the bizarre ascendancy of neoliberal Democrats in a progressive state, as exemplified by party boss George Norcross and imminent Senator Cory Booker. But it seemed to have no further effect beyond a couple days of inconvenience. Minnesota, on the other hand, ought to be a worrying example for the GOP. Essentially, you had a newly elected Republican legislature and a newly elected Democratic Governor with completely different budgetary priorities, leading to a shutdown that lasted about three weeks. During this time, legislative Republicans decided to use the hostage of the budget to move a whole host of other unrelated policies like abortion rights and vouchers that a liberal Democrat would never ordinarily approve of. The whole thing apparently ended in a reasonable compromise, but the Republicans lost the legislature the next year, leading to the first unified Democratic state government in Minnesota in decades. Which promptly moved major legislation on marriage equality, among other things. Obviously, this is something of an apples-to-oranges comparison since the coattails of President Obama’s re-election no doubt had an effect on downballot races as well, while there will not be anything equivalent in 2014 U.S. Reps. But it’s hardly an encouraging sign for shutdown fans that the two pertinent precedents of government shutdown in the United States–the Gingrich shutdowns and the Minnesota shutdown–left the party shutting things down little better off in terms of policy after the fact, and both times wound up losing electorally at the next available opportunity.
Republicans need to seek a kind of integration, which embraces the positive aspects of the new populism…, its relative openness to policy innovation [ed: LOL], its desire to speak on behalf of Middle America and the middle class — while tempering
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