Post-Shutdown Budget Talks to Focus on Continued Punting of the Problem

Can an entire economy sigh?

Republicans and Democrats will use budget talks that start next week to try to minimize or reorder broad spending cuts that began in March, with both sides Thursday playing down the possibility of a "grand bargain" that would address the nation's long-term fiscal problems.

In de-emphasizing the likelihood of a larger deal, both parties appeared to be looking for limited areas of agreement in order to bypass the next round of the automatic spending cuts known as the sequester and buy time to deal with tax reform, entitlement cuts and other big-ticket items next year.

This is precisely why I practically needed to be restrained every time an establishment Republican blathered on about "living to fight another day" during the recent shutdown. Their game is to pretend that we just have to be weak this one last time and next time we will be super-serious about it.

There is no fight in this group. Their concern is their own immediate comfort and the fact that they are wilfully hastening the economic demise of the country they've sworn to serve is not only disingenuous, it's dangerous.

Let us be clear about this: the Democrats will never come around and realize that the economics they favor are sending the country careening towards catastrophe. The only hope is real and vigorous pushback from the Republicans and that won't happen until the perma-capitulation crowd in leadership is unceremoniously shown the door.