President Obama

The Cave-In That Wasn’t


Now that we have the details of last Friday's budget compromise, and now that we know that President Obama clearly out-played the Republicans in every aspect, will the very serious media and the pants-pissing Professional Left apologize or walk-back their narrative of cave-in and capitulation?

I wouldn't count on it, even though it's painfully obvious that a narrative was chosen to run with before anyone actually knew what was included in the bill. I myself am guilty of this. I conceded that this bill, which cuts $38.5 billion dollars in spending, would be bad news for the economy. It turns out though that we were all wrong, because the vast majority of the cuts are steeped in fiscal hijinks.

WASHINGTON – A close look at the government shutdown-dodging agreement to cut federal spending by $38 billion reveals that lawmakers significantly eased the fiscal pain by pruning money left over from previous years, using accounting sleight of hand and going after programs President Barack Obama had targeted anyway.Such moves permitted Obama to save favorite programs — Pell grants for poor college students, health research and "Race to the Top" aid for public schools, among others — from Republican knives.The full details of Friday's agreement weren't being released until late Monday when it was officially submitted to the House. But the picture already emerging is of legislation financed with a lot of one-time savings and cuts that officially "score" as savings to pay for spending elsewhere, but that often have little to no actual impact on the deficit.

I can hardly contain my laughter at this point.The president not only managed to hijack the Republican's deficit-cutting mission statement and make it appear to be his own, but he did so without actually cutting much of anything and denied Republicans everything they wanted in the process.You see -- the Republicans have touted the compromise as a victory in the war against the deficit, so by extension, the President also gets credit for cutting the deficit even though the savings are all very creative in nature. And as the polls show, the majority of Americans credit President Obama for the compromise.After reading the details, it appears that it wasn't actually much of a compromise at all though. It looks to me more like John Boehner bending over and taking it while the Democrats receive most of the credit for a non-deficit-reducing, deficit reduction and non-compromise, compromise.Well played sir. Well played.

As a result of the legerdemain, Obama was able to reverse many of the cuts passed by House Republicans in February when the chamber passed a bill slashing this year's budget by more than $60 billion. In doing so, the White House protected favorites like the Head Start early learning program, while maintaining the maximum Pell grant of $5,550 and funding for Obama's "Race to the Top" initiative that provides grants to better-performing schools.Obama also repelled Republican moves to cut $1 billion in grants for community health centers and $500 million from biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health, while blocking them from "zeroing out" the AmeriCorps national service program and subsidies for public broadcasting.Instead, the cuts that actually will make it into law are far tamer, including cuts to earmarks, unspent census money, leftover federal construction funding, and $2.5 billion from the most recent renewal of highway programs that can't be spent because of restrictions set by other legislation. Another $3.5 billion comes from unused spending authority from a program providing health care to children of lower-income families.

This is what responsible budget cutting looks like if the other party in the room is going to force you into it by adopting a scorched-earth policy of hostage-taking.I can only imagine that Tea Party Nation will shit after they read the details of the bill. The Republicans got nothing they wanted. Literally nothing.If the Tea Party didn't like John Boehner before, now they will really love him. He put President Obama in the position of being able to go on television in front of the entire country and claim credit for the biggest spending cut in history and Boehner got screwed in the process. I really can't overstate the brilliance in that.There is a lot of anxiety in the Democratic community right now in anticipation of President Obama's long-term deficit reduction proposal which is to be revealed on Wednesday, but after reading the details of this latest compromise, my optimism has been reinforced. The president has proven again that he is the smartest man in the room.I would advise against jumping to conclusions before fully reviewing the details of any proposal.