Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Government Shut Down?

If there was any doubt that the tenor of the discussion in Washington regarding the budget and spending has changed, consider this:
The potential difficulty of their job became clear after Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., following an evening meeting with Senate Democrats, said negotiators had effectively settled on $33 billion in reductions from current spending, a substantial difference from the $61 billion endorsed by the House in February.
By keeping the pressure on, and not bowing to threats of taking the blame over a potential shut down, Speaker Boehner is making the progress needed. Further, he is positioning himself for next year's budget battle by learning what tactics are working. The negotiations currently in progress only affect the fiscal year that ends on September 30, so a much bigger fight looms over fiscal year 2012 spending.

Meanwhile, you know you are making the right enemies when Chuckie Schumer is conspiring against you.
Speaking to several Democratic colleagues Tuesday, Sen. Charles Schumer, the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate, said they should all use the word "extreme" when describing the budget cuts that Tea Party Republicans were seeking in the ongoing budget negotiations.
However, what is actually extreme is the unprecedented peacetime deficit racked up by this administration. Congratulations Tea Party.

Also, is there any better evidence that removing earmarks from the process has made it easier to get budget reductions? Since the House imposed an earmarks ban, the debate has only been about the size of the cuts, not a peep about raising spending. John Hitchcock explains why in the comments on a previous article. I do not recall in my lifetime such spirited debate about how much to cut government spending. I realize that spending has risen out of control in the first place, but the tenor of the discussion is heartening.

With regards to a government shut down, I don't think it will happen, because both sides are too uncertain about the outcome. Its like a game of high stakes poker, where shutting down the government is the equivalent of calling all in on two pair but your opponent is betting like he has a decent hand. You might win, but is it the smart move?

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