Now in day 11 of the federal government shutdown it appears the House GOP may be ready to end the budget and debt ceiling fight. The deal involves trading a clean CR and clean debt ceiling raise as part of a package that includes cuts in benefit programs. In other words, letting Obamacare stand but demanding more cuts to entitlement programs including Medicare.
In addition to ending the shutdown and increasing the debt limit, the proposal includes an easing of the across-the-board spending cuts that began taking effect a year ago, and replacing them with curbs in benefit programs that Obama himself has backed.
Among them is a plan to raise the cost of Medicare for better-off beneficiaries.
To recap, the House Republicans shut down the government and threatened to default on US debt, their poll numbers collapsed, and now they want further cuts to undo their own damage. Meanwhile America is stuck in an economy with record poverty and stagnant incomes where austerity has proven itself to be entirely ineffective at fostering growth.
There is no good reason politically or otherwise for President Obama take this deal. If anything it will prove once again that playing chicken with the debt limit and shutting down the government are legitimate tools of governing. Which means Obama will be stuck dealing with the same tactics next time around. If anything Obama should demand concessions at this point given the strong public reaction against the House GOP and Tea Party.
In short, the House Republicans must open the government back up and raise the debt ceiling or watch America hate them even more (if that’s possible). The last thing they deserve is to be rewarded for their reckless and unpopular behavior.
Photo by Jan Jacobsen with permission