Why does America still have a government this morning? Because the Republicans caved.After an all-night negotiation session on Thursday night, the two sides in the budget deal had already agreed on a basic number for the budget cuts: $38 billion.
The only sticking point, as the Democrats shrewdly pointed out, was the Republicans’ insistence on cutting funding for Planned Parenthood and NPR.
As John Ellis explained yesterday, the small amount of money still at stake meant that the Democrats could easily portray the Republicans as reckless vigilantes willing to turn off the government of the entire country over a pet cause. The Republicans’ counter on this particular issue–that the Democrats wanted to bankrupt the country–was patently ludicrous.
So what averted the shutdown?
The Republicans finally caved on Planned Parenthood and NPR. (More at the NYT >)
Of course, the bigger picture is that the “shut show” that has paralysed the government for the past several months eventually resulted in cuts of $38 billion from a $1.6 trillion budget deficit (2%). And even these cuts, as President Obama has already pointed out, will hurt.
Meanwhile, the Republicans’ introduction of a more comprehensive framework for tackling the budget deficit has set off a violent response from Democrats–who have avoided the same vitriolic criticism only because they refuse to even acknowledge the problem, let alone offer a plan for dealing with it.
So it is harder than ever to imagine how our government will ever solve the real problems facing this country.
That is, at least until the folks who are lending us the money to fund our unsustainable spending and relatively low tax rates decide that enough is enough and send our borrowing costs through the roof.
See Also: A Short Course In Why The US Is Screwed