With the short term Federal budget crisis averted last week, attention in DC will now turn to longer term solutions for the spectacular budget deficit this country has.
And as this debate starts, here's something to ponder...
While the proposal from the Republicans to cut out $6 trillion in spending, together with more tax breaks for the wealthy is WAY, WAY off the deep end of reasonable, it will accomplish one thing even if none of it is exactly adopted. And what is that? It moves the debate over what to cut, what not to cut and what to offer as tax policy radically to the right.
By staking out a position so far on one side, conservatives can "negotiate" away a lot of their official plan, but still end up with what they want - spending cuts or elimination of big domestic programs (but not defense) and big tax cuts for the wealth and corporations. I'll save judgement on how effective that economic recipe will be for the economy (although I think you already know), and just say that I think that's what's going on here. That's what the Rs are up to with this radical initial proposal.
What should the Democrats do? Well, with the White House and Senate in their control, my humble opinion is they should simply say, "No, we reject out of hand what you are proposing. It is a non-starter. The provisions you are proposing have been proven again and again as failures. Try again. And oh by the way, here is our plan." And that plan better be sound, good and promoted big time to the American public. That would at least attempt to cut off the "move the debate to the right" strategy of the Rs and re-establish the debate somewhere near the real middle of the political and economic spectrum.
What will the actually Democrats do? Well, if recent history is any guide, they'll play the game. They'll try to chisel away some of the elements of this Republican plan so they are not as bad as initially proposed, but in the end they'll sign off on legalisation that is very, very conservative.