What if they threw a budget war and nobody came? That about sums things up in Washington today:
House and Senate Republican leaders announced Tuesday that their sole appointees to the May 5th meeting would be House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.)–neither of whom are budget leaders and both of whom function largely as political mouthpieces for their party. GOP leaders also each opted to send only one appointee, instead of the requested four, to the meeting.
“I remain skeptical that the administration will take this effort seriously, especially after it all but ignored its previous debt commission and President Obama had to be dragged kicking and screaming to consider minimal spending cuts for the rest of this fiscal year,” Cantor said in a statement.
The Democrats, too:
Pelosi’s picks for the talks make the meeting “look silly” because Van Hollen and Clyburn “are just going to do what Pelosi wants, and she’s not interested in compromise,” said a senior Democratic aide. “The picks for this task force all reflect a lack of seriousness.”
Maybe because they’re getting advice like this from Heather “Digby” Parton:
It’s clear everyone understands the debt limit will be raised. The crazy Republicans aren’t completely crazy (and according to The Washington Post, Wall Street is having a very special chat with those who are). Nixon’s “madman” theory looks a little bit silly when both sides already agree on the outcome. So the only real question is why the White House and the Democrats are pretending that they need to negotiate at all.
And advice like this from Matt Yglesias:
You have a government set to steadily increase spending on autopilot as a result of demographic change and rising health care costs. And you have a Democratic President urging congress to enact spending cuts. But you have conservative politicians refusing to make a serious effort to reach an agreement out of some blend of taxophobia and fear of giving the President a win. The result, again, whether the right realizes it or not, is a gift to the wing of the Democratic Party that disagrees with Obama about the desirability of enacting spending cuts.
Please note that even Yglesias admits right up front that we “have a government set to steadily increase spending on autopilot.” But in the very same paragraph, he treats the President’s non-existant cuts seriously and accuses the Republicans of “taxaphobia.” If only Obama were serious and if only the GOP was actually taxaphobic, we might get the kind of deal (Ryan’s plan is decent) which would allow us to grow our way out of our debt.
Instead, the Democrats offer pretend cuts and very real tax hikes — even as we continue to pile up $1.5+ trillion dollars in new debt each year and the Federal behemoth squashes employment and growth.
Left unsaid by any of the lefty punditariat is that the financial crisis could come as soon as this summer, even if the debt limit is raised to a squijillion dollars.
We are going to get smaller government. The only question is whether we get there prudently or via more drastic means.