by Emily Miller The Washington Times OpEd Aug. 1, 2011
President Obama wanted three things from the debt-ceiling fight:
trillions in new borrowing authority, status quo on spending and no more
drama before his shot at re-election. He got everything.
in control of the House could have refused to raise the debt ceiling,
but their leaders were afraid. They believed failing to raise the debt
ceiling would lead to a default and a disastrous reduction in America’s
GOP leaders claim they cut the best deal possible in a divided government.
is very important for our fiscal future, but it’s also important for
the fact that our economy needs to get going,” House Speaker John A.
Boehner said on Monday. “Beginning to take steps toward fixing our
fiscal problems will, in fact, provide more confidence for employers in
America.” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Sunday night
that the deal “will ensure significant cuts in Washington spending.”
an exaggeration. The bill would cut a minuscule $7 billion in 2012 and
$3 billion total in 2013 - the only enforceable years. Meanwhile, the
nation will continue to borrow at a rate of $100 billion a month.
second tranche of “cuts” will be left up to a new bipartisan committee
tasked with finding up to $1.5 trillion in savings. There are a bunch of
gimmicks involved, but essentially we’re supposed to believe that even
though Congress can’t cut a days’ worth of spending now, it’s somehow
going to have the fortitude to reduce spending by far greater amounts
down the road.
It’s likely to be the opposite, as Mr. Obama is
already eyeing this “super committee” to fast-track tax hikes, saying on
Sunday night, “I’ll continue to make a detailed case to these lawmakers
about why I believe a balanced approach is necessary to finish the
Worst of all for conservatives is that there will be no
Balanced Budget Amendment. The deal sets a token vote in the fall and a
trigger if the joint committee fails to complete its work. Without the
leverage of the debt ceiling, it’s simply not going to get enough
Mr. Boehner arguably put his speakership on the
line last week to get a bill passed that increased the debt ceiling only
until early 2012. Two days later, the president walked away with a deal
that lets him get through the next election.
In November, the
American people sent Tea Party conservatives to Washington to bring
spending under control. These freshmen were beaten down by their
leaders, who were outplayed by the president.
Mr. Obama won the
debt-ceiling game, and Republicans lost the season.
Emily Miller is a senior editor for the Opinion pages at The Washington Times.