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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Fiscal Fracas: It's a Deal!

Well, it seems congressional Republicans and Democrats have struck a deal to raise the U.S. borrowing limit and cut spending (sort of). President Obama presumably supports the agreement, since he announced it earlier this evening from the White House briefing room. No votes are expected to be cast until tomorrow (because the legislation has to at least be drawn up and brought to the floor of both houses for a vote), so only time will tell if this compromise becomes law. I'll hold off on analyzing the content of the deal until then. Tonight, however, I ask the question that a lot of people are (or will soon) be asking: is this a good deal? To answer that question, I use an objective three-part test that can be applied to just about any compromise, regardless of the details:

1. A good compromise leaves everybody mad.

I first saw this expression used in a Calvin & Hobbes comic strip. Like many expressions, it's generally applicable if you don't interpret it too literally. I suppose the political version of this may be, "Both sides walk away feeling like they caved." That was certainly the case of the last two grand compromises to come out of D.C. (the agreement on taxes last December and the budget deal this past spring). From what I've heard said by members of Congress on this agreement, this criterion has definitely been satisfied.

2. The far left hates it, and the far right hates it.

The major blogs were already abuzz this evening, and from a sampling of left-wing and right-wing forums, I can safely say that this deal has very much angered the extremes. Far-left members of Congress are already attacking the deal. The Congressional Black Caucus, which has only one Republican member, reportedly called the deal a "sugar-coated Satan sandwich," and out-and-proud socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said it was "grotesquely immoral."

3. A majority of the electorate voices at least tacit support for it.

Here, we'll have to wait and see what the American people say, but I expect a majority of those polled about this big debt deal to express relief (or some positive reasction) that a huge crisis was averted but react unfavorably to the content of the legislation.

Well, that's all I've got for y'all tonight. I'll be adding more posts to this blog and updating my web site quite frequently in the next few weeks, so check back often, and spread the word!

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