With the clock ticking ever closer to that fateful August 2 date when the federal government can no longer uphold all of its obligations and the markets tank and everyone starts cracking each other's heads open and feasting on the good inside, has President Obama, a.k.a. Sir Cave-a-lot of Cavenshire, decided to cave to Republicans out of sheer desperation/maturity? Maybe! Earlier this afternoon, the Times reported that Obama and John Boehner "were starting to close in on a major budget deal that would enact substantial spending cuts and seek future revenues through a tax overhaul." So Democrats will agree to massive spending cuts, and Republicans will agree to pretend to consider tax increases at a later date? Apparently! The Washington Post reports:
According to congressional sources, Obama has apparently offered to forgo any tax increases in the initial deal, postponing an overhaul of the tax code until next year.
Democrats, not surprisingly, do not care for this vague, alleged pseudo-deal one bit. The Post again:
[Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid said his caucus would oppose any plan that did not include increased tax revenue, questioning whether Obama had gone back on his pledge to include “balance” in the final deal.
“The president always talked about balance, that there had to be some fairness in this, that this can’t be all cuts,” Reid said. “There has to be a balance. There has to be some revenue and cuts. My caucus agrees with that. I hope that the president sticks with that. I’m confident that he will.”
When “we hear these reports of these megatrillion-dollar cuts with no revenues, it was like Mount Vesuvius,” said Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.). “Many of us were volcanic.” She added that Senate Democrats would reject such a deal.
Meanwhile, both Boehner and the White House deny that any deal has been reached. But if Obama signs off on an agreement that doesn't include guarantees of tax increases, the Democrats will be livid. The Democrats have won the PR battle, after all. The public is clearly on their side. If someone has to give ground to break the tax impasse and they do you would think it should be the GOP. And yet, a large segment of the GOP, in the House at least, seem to be debt-ceiling nihilists unconvinced that a failure to raise the ceiling would harm the economy, or at least willing to deal with the consequences if that's what it takes to force the government to live within its means. The normal rules of negotiation and compromise just don't seem to apply to them. Someone has to be the responsible one.