Monday, November 07, 2011

That $4 Trillion Thing

Out of nowhere comes a report that gives great hope. It appears that the Republican leaders in Congress, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, have come to the conclusion that the thing that President Obama most fears is a comprehensive debt reduction agreement on a large scale--like $4 trillion over ten years--such as has been proposed repeatedly in the past.

Therefore, since they perceive Obama is against it, they're now for it. This after months when it appeared they would block a deal 70% less than that because it would be too difficult to pass.

I never realized that the "Tar-Baby" approach would work so well: all Obama had to do to get a deal was have some of his people suggest it was the thing he feared most. He needs to stick to this line long enough for something to come out of the Supercommittee (and that means a few well-placed whispers in the ears of Supercommittee Democrats). Then, once the Gang of 12 votes it out, he can give his support--and the rules will prevent a filibuster!

We're not in agreement with those of the left who are opposed to any deal like this. It does have to be the right kind of deal, though: reductions in military spending, reductions in "tax expenditures" (loopholes) or an increase in tax rates (the former is more likely), and sensible adjustments in Social Security and, in particular, in Medicare. We've been backing such a deal for a long time. President Obama needs to support such a deal, as the best way to provide for our future, and I believe he will. Just not too soon in the process.

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