Debt-ceiling Fight Over
August 3, 2011
A final deal was passed by the House of Representatives on Monday, and passed by the Senate and signed by the president on Tuesday. It raises the debt ceiling by $2.4 trillion, enough to get the government through the 2012 elections, as President Obama wanted.
Michael Tanner has the details on the deal (which has some things in common with the one Boehner proposed last Monday). He also gives some helpful perspective and numbers on America’s larger debt situation, and explains that the compromise bill’s first round of spending cuts aren’t spending cuts at all, but only a “reduction from the planned baseline increase in spending.”
Tanner suggests that this compromise is as good as conservatives could have hoped for under current political constraints (Democrats still control the Senate and the presidency). Jonah Goldberg examines what happened here politically, and strikes an optimistic note about where we go from here. The National Review editors also offer their opinion on the deal and on where we go from here.
Rick Santorum says the deal doesn’t do enough to rein in government spending, and renews his commitment to a balanced-budget constitutional amendment. Paul Ryan reminds us how bad things will get if we don’t start getting serious about reducing government spending and reforming entitlements. As the American Thinker points out,
Moody’s, S&P, and other rating agencies have made clear that the issue is not the debt limit, but the debt itself — and America’s credibility in reducing it over the next ten years.
(emphasis and link to New York Times as source in original)
On his radio show today, Rush Limbaugh argued that this deal forces Republicans in the coming year to choose between tax increases and cuts to national defense, but I don’t know whether that makes this deal as bad as some people think. In Mark Steyn’s cover story “Too Big to Win” (National Review, June 6th, 2011, page 32, currently available on his Web site, but that will expire), he wrote,
Here I part company somewhat from my National Review colleagues who are concerned about inevitable cuts to the defense budget. Clearly, if one nation is responsible for near half the world’s military budget, a lot of others aren’t pulling their weight. The Pentagon outspends the Chinese, British, French, Russian, Japanese, German, Saudi, Indian, Italian, South Korean, Brazilian, Canadian, Australian, Spanish, Turkish, and Israeli militaries combined.
Steyn isn’t the only one to argue that America’s paying for basically all of Europe’s national defense—while it may have seemed like a good idea when Europe was in ruins after World War Two and the Soviet threat loomed large—has done more harm than good, corrupting the nations of Europe and causing, in no small part, the mess they’re in today. Steyn has called it “defense welfare”.