Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Debt ceiling play-acting

Dean Baker on what a phony show this whole business of Obama negotiating with the Republicans over the debt ceiling really is: The Endgame on the Debt Ceiling Huffington Post 06/20/2011. After painting a dramatic word picture of how Wall Street would beat the Republicans into line to vote for the debt ceiling if they were seriously trying to avoid raising it, he writes:

When everyone remembers that this is what the endgame looks like, they will realize that there is no need to put essential programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid on the chopping block to get Republican support for raising the debt ceiling. The gun is pointed most directly at Wall Street's head, and this incredibly powerful lobby is not going to let Congress pull the trigger.

This means that at the end of the day, President Obama holds the cards. He could say that he wants a clean debt ceiling bill and no deals on cutting back the country's key social insurance programs. Of course, that may not be President Obama's agenda. [my emphasis]
Whatever cuts come out of those debt ceiling negotiations, in other words, will not be something the Republicans forced the Democrats to accept. They will be something the Obama Administration wanted to do and the Democrats in Congress were willing to accept. all the rest is theater.

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