Saturday, April 09, 2011

The budget deal doesn't look good to me, for either the economy or the Democrats

The budget deal that keeps the federal government running now until September 2011 looks to me like one in which the Democrats got rolled. Again. With all the spinning going on, it's hard to know how the White House's more intense involvement in that last stage of this affected things. But I'll be surprised if it turns out that Obama was doing anything much more than pressing the Dems for more concessions.

David Dayen gives a summary of the deal in The Ugly, the Ugly, and the Ugly: A Look at the 2011 Funding Deal FDL News 04/09/2011.

Here's the President's spin:

I agree with David, "the boasting about 'historic' cuts coming from Democrats, after months of rhetoric where they said these same cuts would eliminate jobs and hurt the economy, was tough to take." Obama framed the results virtually completely on the Republicans' terms of austerity and tax cuts:

This is an agreement to invest in our country's future while making the largest annual spending cut in our history. ...

A few months ago, I was able to sign a tax cut for American families because both parties worked through their differences and found common ground. Now, the same cooperation has made it possible for us to move forward with the biggest annual spending cut in history. And it’s my sincere hope that we can continue to come together as we face the many difficult challenges that lie ahead – from creating jobs and growing our economy to educating our children and reducing our long-term deficits.
This is why economists like Paul Krugman, Joe Stiglitz, Robert Reich and Dean Baker been rhetorically tearing out their hair over both the economics and the politics of austerity budgeting. It's certain to hurt the economy, and unlikely in the extreme to help the Democratic Party in 2012. And yet Obama as President and leader of the Democratic Party is pushing that same destructive austerity politics.

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