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More on the Gentle Fiscal Incline


To supplement Erik’s links and analysis below, see Scheiber on the one hand and Sargent on the other. I still lean towards the former, for similar reasons — given how little he was able to extract out of the Republicans when he had an unusual amount of leverage to work with, it’s hard to imagine that the debt ceiling isn’t going to be used to come up with something worse. But we’ll see. Of course, this is not all on Obama — the administration apparently thinks that conservative Senate Democrats can be persuaded to sell out and preserve more of the Bush cuts if the House takes the lead, and history suggests that this fear is far from unfounded.

The only encouraging thing about this deal is that is reinforces my skepticism about assertions that Obama is inherently committed to making big entitlement cuts. The best you can say for this deal is that the cost-of-living chains on Social Security were taken out of the deal. This is only a win if they don’t reappear during the debt ceiling negotiations, but much better to compromise on tax rates than on Social Security.

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