Government Spending

GOP Debt-Limit Deal to Suspend Limit, Obamacare For a Year Isn't Serious. Neither is Obama.


According to National Review's Jonathan Strong, House Republicans know what they want to get out of a debt-limit showdown. The big takeaway? The House will suspend the debt limit for a year in exchange for a year-long delay of the start of Obamacare, a green light for the Keystone XL Pipeline, and a bunch of other stuff (including means-testing Medicare, blocking net neutrality, and fast-track authority for tax reform legislation).

The whole list. Elsewhere, Strong describes the "kitchen-sink proposal" as getting a "mixed" reaction from House conservatives.

Who can blame them? I totally understand the idea of bargaining, but at the same time, it would be nice for the folks involved to, I don't know, actually discuss the specific issue at hand. Which is the country's debt level.

Is having a national debt that's equal to or slightly greater than the nation's economy a good idea? If it isn't, then what are they doing to address that (as opposed to kicking the can down the road for a year, as if they won't have to raise the limit again giving spending patterns)? President Obama has said that he will not accept any conditions related to a debt-limit increase (hey, he's bargaining too!), so we'll see where any of this goes.

Then there's the spending bill that the feds need to pass. As it happens, back in the spring, the House passed a budget that calls for spending $3.5 trillion in fiscal year 2014. And (for the first time years), the Senate passed a budget that calls for spending $3.7 trillion. If they split the difference, that would keep spending (which is way too high, IMO) at basically the same rate as this year (and the past several years when adjusting for inflation; see chart).

How is it possible that these two august bodies can't immediately cut a handshake deal to spend $3.6 trillion next fiscal year? Are they really that incorrigible?