Krugman writes: "If Obama stands his ground on the debt ceiling, this deal won't look bad in retrospect. If he doesn't, yesterday will be seen as the day he began throwing away his presidency and the hopes of everyone who supported him."
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman. (photo: AP)
Perspective on the Deal
01 January 13
o make sense of what just happened, we need to ask what is really at stake, and how much difference the budget deal makes in the larger picture.
So, what are the two sides really fighting about? Surely the answer is, the future of the welfare state. Progressives want to maintain the achievements of the New Deal and the Great Society, and also implement and improve Obamacare so that we become a normal advanced country that guarantees essential health care to all its citizens. The right wants to roll the clock back to 1930, if not to the 19th century.
There are two ways progressives can lose this fight. One is direct defeat on the question of social insurance, with Congress actually voting to privatize and eventually phase out key programs - or with Democratic politicians themselves giving away their political birthright in the name of a mess of pottage Grand Bargain. The other is for conservatives to successfully starve the beast - to drive revenue so low through tax cuts that the social insurance programs can't be sustained.
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