Do Not Go Gently Into That Goodnight
by David Atkins ("thereisnospoon")
If you're well enough informed to be reading Hullabaloo, then you probably already know that a debt ceiling deal is apparently in the works. And it's bad. Very, very bad.
- $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.
Needless to say, this is a truly horrible deal. $2.8 trillion in cuts to discretionary spending. An unaccountable "super committee" that will probably recommend cuts and "adjustments" to Medicare and Social Security. No new tax revenue of any kind.
It's hard to imagine how it gets much worse than this. If this deal goes through, it would represent nothing less than a capitulation on the part of the President and the Democratic Senate to economic terrorism on the part of the Republican caucus, and would set a major precedent for more accountability-free hostage taking in the future. Grover Norquist seems pretty happy about it, and why not? The gameplan for drowning the government in the bathtub is obvious from here. It's clear that the Democrats won't do a thing to get in the way, because there's no hostage the Democrats will be willing to shoot--or even threaten to shoot--when the GOP takes one, nor will the media abandon its postmodern "both sides are just as bad" shtick no matter how asinine the GOP becomes.
None of which even touches the fact that the discretionary spending cuts and bipartisan commission to recommend entitlement cuts are right in line with what President Obama has repeatedly said he wanted, anyway. We're certainly not going to get any help to stand up to this atrocious "compromise" from the President: he actively wants most of what is in it.
The only saving grace here is that some reports suggest that this might be a trial balloon: i.e., that the reaction from the rank-and-file on both sides might affect the ultimate acceptability of the bill. This is true on general principle, of course: the bill would still have to get through Congress, regardless of what Obama, Reid, McConnell and Boehner may have hammered out behind closed doors.
This is ultimately where the rubber meets the road. The only way to stop this "deal" at this point is to lobby Congress to oppose it.
Call (202)224-3121 and ask to speak to (or leave voicemails for) your Representative and Senators--particularly if they're Democrats. Tell them you don't want massive cuts to spending that will throw us even deeper into recession even as corporations are making record profits but not hiring Americans.
It may not be much, but it's worth a shot. It's certainly more valuable than screaming helplessly into the online ether even as austerity mania consumes the nation alive. Do not go gently into that goodnight.