Wednesday, October 02, 2013

The budget crisis end game

Despite all of the political theater and gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands, the end game for the current federal budget crisis in the House is quite simple. Boehner knows how to read the writing on the wall, what the future holds, but he also must pay allegiance to the here and now reality in front of his nose. In other words, he needs to let the rebels run until they feel like they have achieved a moral victory, and once they have exhausted all of their ideas, Boehner can then afford to stand up and say "Okay, we held our ground and put up a good fight, but we just don't have the votes in this congressional cycle, so we need to acknowledge the reality of today and work towards a better future in 2014" – or something like that.
IOW, if Boehner tries to quash his rebels too early, he loses badly, but if he lets them learn from experience that they "don't have the votes and can't get them", then he wins both by letting them have their moral victory and being a respectful leader.
I expect that the rebels will have exhausted their limited legislative quiver within one or two or three days.
The debt limit? That's a completely different saga, but I expect it to be resolved by the conservatives forcing Obama to agree to another $100 billion in expenditure cuts. IOW, yes, the debt limit must and will be raised, but Obama needs to concede that the deficit is still way out of control. And Obama doesn't have the leverage to force a tax hike.

-- Jack Krupansky


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