Well, barring something unexpected, the debt ceiling will be raised after the deal between Biden and McCarthy. I don’t really say this with any great joy. Personally, I would have supported the hit to the global economy to force the Republicans to heel. You can’t negotiate with terrorists. On the other hand, it’s pretty clear that the corporate desire to keep the economy flowing beat out the far-right extremists and the actual hit to social programs isn’t as bad as it could have been. But it’s still certainly not good. Of course the far-right hates it, so that’s something I guess. But it’s not a lot.
The biggest divide in the Democratic Party at this point is not liberals versus moderates. It’s age. It’s those who were in Congress before about 2004 and those after that. Most of those long veterans still have dreams of hanging out in the Senate locker room while a naked Jennings Randolph told jokes, a la Biden. They long for an ideal of bipartisanship that simply doesn’t exist. And they are not particularly concerned with economic justice questions. Most of those after that time may have different political views, but they usually fundamentally get that Republicans can’t be dealt with like rational humans. But the leadership very much is in that older generation. So such a scenario was going to be tough to resist. Biden himself has defended the debt ceiling. A rational party would have eliminated the debt ceiling entirely when it had the trifecta, but there are just too many olds in the party for that. So this is where we are.
One thing that was becoming crystal clear is that the media was more than happy to Blame Both Sides But Especially Democrats if this did not go through. In short, the Beltway elites do not care about the poor. Additional work requirements on the poor sound good to them because they neither know nor care about the poor. But the thing is that Biden doesn’t really care much about these issues either. Biden is pro-union, yes. But being pro-union is not the same as being an advocate for the poor because the union members he cares about the most are not poor. They are long-standing unions with good contracts. So forcing more work requirements on the poor might not be Biden’s top priority or anything, but it was something he would give on and he did.
Pretty clear as well that Democrats decided to buy off Manchin here too. Democrats had resisted Manchin’s pipeline demands, but with him making noises about not running for the Senate or even running a third party presidential campaign, Biden did what he had to do here. It’s hard to square stuff like with taking climate change seriously, but Biden has already clearly shown he will sacrifice the climate for short-term political goals, as he did in the Alaska issue recently. Manchin has to be the center of attention because he is a big whiny man baby and he has the power to put himself there.
So it’s not a great deal. But it’s a less terrible deal that a lot of people feared. I don’t like it. But I can at least see the argument for taking it, especially as it kicks this can down the road for two years. I’m sure it will be terrible then. Such is life in the 21st century.