Article reposted from the Campaign for America’s Future
It’s a major victory. The shutdown has ended, the government isn’t defaulting (at least not yet), and Democrats didn’t yield in the face of threats and bullying. But what happens next could shape our fate for many years to come.
Congratulations are in order. President Obama vowed not to negotiate over the debt ceiling, and he was as good as his word. He stood up to the closet ideologues of the artificial “center,” the ones who unwisely argued that being the “adult in the room” meant surrendering to the tantrums of children.
Sen. Harry Reid’s tough talk was matched by equally tough action. (Reid also deserves credit for coining the phrase “banana Republicans,” as pithy a summation of their approach to governance as we’ve seen.)
Once and Future Losses
But the celebrations are premature. Yes, the public is furious at Republicans – Tea Partiers and plain-vanilla GOP extremists alike – for causing so much damage in pursuit of an ideology so far outside the political mainstream. Most Americans have rejected the things Republicans stand for: their values, their priorities and their apocalyptic economic vision.
And yet, unless something changes, this deal will bend the next few months’ deliberations along the same misguided lines that have guided our political discourse for years now. House and Senate members will be encouraged to come up with a “deficit reduction plan” – in other words, to impose another round of cuts just like those which have already wounded the economy and shredded millions of jobs.
That’s hardly cause for celebration. The conservative Peter G. Peterson Foundation estimates that the “crisis driven fiscal policy” of the past several years has resulted in the loss of 900,000 jobs. Discretionary cuts of the kind that will be urged upon Congress have already cost us 1.2 million jobs, according to the study, and have resulted in a loss of 0.7 percent from the GDP.
Remember, these estimates are on the conservative end.