BBC BLOGS - See Also
« Previous | Main | Next »

See Also: Media reaction to the US budget deal

Host | 15:16 UK time, Monday, 1 August 2011

obama3.jpg The US Congress is preparing to vote on an increase to the nation's debt ceiling, one day before the US risks defaulting on its financial obligations. But critics appear cautious in applauding President Barack Obama and Democratic and Republican lawmakers for reaching a deal in the budget talks.

In a hard-hitting piece Paul Krugman of the New York Times says that even if the deal passes Congress, it will have a long-lasting, negative effect on the US economy.

For the deal itself, given the available information, is a disaster, and not just for President Obama and his party. It will damage an already depressed economy; it will probably make America's long-run deficit problem worse, not better; and most important, by demonstrating that raw extortion works and carries no political cost, it will take America a long way down the road to banana-republic status.

Mr Krugman says that because the US already has a "deeply depressed economy", the "worst thing you can do in these circumstances is slash government spending".

Writing for CBS News, Jonathan Cohn reports that the debt negotiations skip over the most important issue facing Americans.

This agreement would not address our most pressing economic problem: lack of jobs. On the contrary, by reducing deficits starting next year, this deal would do the very opposite of what virtually every mainstream economist now believes we should do: increase consumer demand by pumping more money into the economy.

Ezra Klein of the Washington Post says Republicans should be warned that, despite what House Speaker John Boehner has told congressmen, Americans may still see tax increases as a result of the deal.

Boehner is misleading his members to make them think taxes are impossible under this deal. But make no mistake: The Joint Committee could raise taxes in any number of ways. It could close loopholes and cap tax expenditures. It could impose a value-added tax, or even a tax on carbon.

And Reid Epstein of The Daily Beast forecasts that the US may now see Republicans using debt ceiling negotiations as a platform for pushing an array of other economic policies in the future.

The truth is that the GOP has successfully held the debt ceiling hostage to drastic cuts in discretionary spending, without any concession on revenue. If they've done it once, they can do it again. Will an imminent future tax hike be enough to produce support for a balanced revenue-and-spending package in the super-committee? I just cannot see the House [of Representatives] Republicans being that adult.

But the one thing that does seem to have emerged... is that defense spending has proven less sacrosanct than low taxes for the current GOP. We may finally begin to have defense cuts that are somewhat proportionate to the level of collective bankruptcy we are in.

Time magazine's Jay Newton-Small says that despite how far President Barack Obama was willing to bend in negotiations, the deal could make the president appear in a more positive light with conservatives.

The one clear winner from all this seems to be President Obama. If the bill passes, he can now claim the mantle of fiscal conservatism - a surefire defense to ubiquitous Republican accusations of socialism and big government. If the debt ceiling were breached and the economy tanked, he likely would've borne the greatest political price. But by swooping in and making the deal at the last minute, Obama can say he saved the day.

But in an editorial piece,The Chicago Tribune says the compromise between Republicans and Democrats may cause difficulties debating in the upcoming 2012 election.

The long to-and-fro of this process will deprive both parties of attack lines they had been practicing for the 2012 campaign season. Democrats had planned to exploit the proposal from Republican US Rep Paul Ryan of Wisconsin to reshape Medicare. But how can Democrats accuse Republicans of wanting to trim Medicare when their own president proposed cuts to Medicare during the debt ceiling negotiations?

Similarly, Republicans will have a hard time saying Democrats alone wanted to raise taxes now that we all know Boehner at one point agreed in principle to hundreds of billions in revenue hikes.


More from this blog...

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.