The Corner

Economy & Business

The Budget Deal Has No Pretense of Fiscal Responsibility Whatsoever

Despite Republicans’ having their largest congressional majority since 1928, we just got a budget deal that is a total surrender to the Democrats and gives them almost everything that they want. This surrender makes the French look brave. But that’s only if you are holding on to the idea that it is in fact a surrender, and that the GOP is the party of fiscal responsibility.

The people responsible for this deal will say that they had no choice but to compromise. They will also promise that once Chairman Ryan becomes speaker, things will be different, and that this is the last compromise until the Republicans control both the White House and Congress. But consider an alternative: Deals like these are actually what Republicans in Congress stand for. A quick recap:

The budget deal busts the budget caps on defense and non-defense spending by an extra $66 billion, and gives president Obama 90 percent of the $74 billion he originally requested. It ends the one fiscal victory of the last six years. 

It also promises yet again that in exchange for the extra spending today, Congress will cut spending tomorrow. Does anyone actually believe this? Seriously. This deal and its busting of the current spending caps almost guarantees that they’ll never return, as was promised in the awful Ryan-Murray deal of 2013. As I have said before, these promises are akin to a child who promises he will eat his spinach tomorrow if he can gorge on desert now. 

The budget deal doesn’t raise the debt ceiling but actually suspends it until March 15, 2017. You can see the freedom it gives the budget boosters in Congress. 

This budget deal bypasses was agreed upon behind closed doors by the Republican leadership and the White House. As Paul Ryan said last night, the “process stinks.” That may be the understatement of the year considering that two of the actors involved in this behind closed doors deal are on their way out for sure (Boehner and Obama) and the other one could be too, soon.

Dan Mitchell has a great post on the whole thing here.

On a semi-positive note: While the reforms to the Disability Insurance program are not great, they are much better than all of the horrible non-solutions I would have expected them to come up with. The deal also doesn’t include an Ex-Im reauthorization. But that’s probably because those who want its return are confident that they will get it through other means soon enough. Their confidence may be overrated. 

That being said, watch out for the Ex-Im votes today. As I mentioned yesterday, it will tell you a lot about where Republicans stand on Ex-Im. The “reform” bill some are voting for is full of either fake reforms or reforms that already are in place but that have never been implemented and wouldn’t be this time around either. 

Update: Read this excellent piece by Phil Klein.

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