Reasonable Expectations

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The idea that we’re going to get some sort of ‘grand bargain’ negotiation completed or frankly even started in the next eight weeks sounds basically ridiculous. And as important as ridiculous, simply unnecessary. In the short to medium term, the country’s fiscal gap is shrinking and despite House Republicans adding to the debt load by marginally increasing the costs of borrowing by the Defundo stunt, things are moving in the right direction. But given where we are, both politically and economically, the starting point for any grand bargain discussions needs to be a one for one formula between cuts and new revenue. And that means net new revenue. The earlier discussions were on the basis of zany 10:1 ratios and even then Republican leaders couldn’t actually get their caucuses to agree to any new revenue at all.

Enough of that. The conversation begins with parity between cuts and revenues.

Also, the idea that Democrats should exchange any long term ‘entitlement’ reforms(i.e., cuts) for inherently short-term up-tweaks on the sequester is equally ridiculous. Republicans are guffawing amongs themselves that they can get the motherlode in the outyears in exchange for crumbs in the short run. And if you’re for slashing middle class benefits and intensifying economic stratification, it’s a great deal. But why?

None of these deals are good. They’re crazy, frankly. At best, they’re based on the political situation two years ago. Not the different situation coming out of the shutdown debacle. Just no. The country needs to get back on regular order, real budgeting and real tending to the country’s long term fiscal position. But it needs to be done on the basis of good policy. Not crazy or hostage taking demands from congressional Republicans.

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Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.
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