Krugman: “The President Surrenders”

We could pretend, or we could tell the truth. (Or we could tell the other truth, that it’s entirely possible that Obama is getting just what he wants, like he usually does.)

Paul Krugman this morning:

[T]he deal itself, given the available information, is a disaster, and not just for President Obama and his party. It will damage an already depressed economy; it will probably make America’s long-run deficit problem worse, not better; and most important, by demonstrating that raw extortion works and carries no political cost, it will take America a long way down the road to banana-republic status.

But wait, there’s more:

[T]hen there are the reported terms of the deal, which amount to an abject surrender on the part of the president. First, there will be big spending cuts, with no increase in revenue. Then a panel will make recommendations for further deficit reduction — and if these recommendations aren’t accepted, there will be more spending cuts.

Republicans will supposedly have an incentive to make concessions the next time around, because defense spending will be among the areas cut. But the G.O.P. has just demonstrated its willingness to risk financial collapse unless it gets everything its most extreme members want. Why expect it to be more reasonable in the next round?

Krugman then talks about all the options Obama had, which he didn’t take. Why not? Krugman nicely doesn’t answer. (But pick me…I know. He does it because he wants to, says my inner Occam’s Switchblade.)

Krugman sees nothing but losers:

It is, of course, a political catastrophe for Democrats, who just a few weeks ago seemed to have Republicans on the run over their plan to dismantle Medicare; now Mr. Obama has thrown all that away. And the damage isn’t over: there will be more choke points where Republicans can threaten to create a crisis unless the president surrenders[.] … [And] [w]hat Republicans have just gotten away with calls our whole system of government into question. After all, how can American democracy work if whichever party is most prepared to be ruthless, to threaten the nation’s economic security, gets to dictate policy? And the answer is, maybe it can’t.

A clean sweep. The death of the Dem party, should the over-under in next year’s headline unemployment be, say, 12% or so; and the death of the Republic (though the jury is out whether Republicans would see that as a loss).

I know I’ll see that as a loss, but I’ve been suffering that loss since Reagan Days — so no news there. Sigh.


Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States. Click here for more. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius and Facebook.

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