As expected, Congress and White House Reach Tentative Budget Deal. It will “modestly increase spending over the next two years, cut some social programs, and raise the federal borrowing limit.” The last bit is the most important, because it raises the debt ceiling to a point where we don’t have to worry about it until the next president is in office. But this highlights the importance of having a Democrat in the White House. I no longer think that Republicans will act responsibly if they get total control of Washington. They’ve convinced themselves that Obama has made radical changes to the country, and they are going to push back — hard. Think they won’t repeal Obamacare?! Think again.
Of course, Paul Ryan was out this morning to claim that he was shocked — Shocked! — to find that these negotiations were going on. He said that he thought the process sticks. And that’s all fine. But we know he’s lying. He knew what was going on and he is pandering to the Freedom Caucus in the House. Ryan is very much in the “libertarian” wing of the Republican Party. His biggest concern is taking care of the rich. Causing a global economic collapse is not good for the rich.
We know that the vast majority of the House Republicans will still vote against this deal. But most of them will do it because the crazies in the party will make a big deal out of a vote that increases the debt limit. They will be said to be RINOs. It’s kind of interesting that a small number of extreme Republicans can wield the word RINO as such a weapon. After all, the vast majority of the House Republicans are not of the Freedom Caucus type. So aren’t the real RINOs the people in the Freedom Caucus? I have a term that the Freedom Caucus could use: FINO — Fascists In Name Only.
A regular conservative political party would like this deal. It has social program cuts. It gets rid of one of the mandates in Obamacare. It increases spending on the military. But this is not enough. The only thing that will make these Republicans happy is if they get exactly what they want. In this case, it is the defunding of Planned Parenthood. But it is clear that even if they got that, it would only lead to greater demands. As I’ve noted in the past, the primary Republican complaint is just that they aren’t in total control of Washington.
So we continue to manage the federal government the way a junkie manages his habit: we find a fix for today and hope that we can find a fix tomorrow. And it is a curious spectacle. If you are masochistic enough to read David Brooks or Charles Murray, you know that conservatives are convinced that people are poor because of their lack of middle class values and long term planning. That’s all a crock, of course. But the Republicans who are in charge in Washington behave exactly as this conservative stereotype: no compromises to get some of what they want; no long term planning. They are just waiting until they win the proverbial lottery and have total control so they don’t have to make any compromises.
But don’t worry: soon the American people will rise up and vote these malefactors out of office. Just kidding! There’s a far great probability that we will breech the debt ceiling than that the American people will punish the Republicans. The best we can hope for is a Democratic president in 2017.