the national interest

Senator Rob Portman’s Compromise: Obama Can Keep His Daughters, I’ll Take Everything Else

Rob Portman speaks during the launch of the Senate Caucus to End Human Trafficking at the Russell Senate Office Building on November 14, 2012 in Washington, DC.
Here is my compromise plan. Wait, sorry, I can’t stop laughing. Photo: Kris Connor/Getty Images

Over the weekend, Politico reported on a “compromise” proposal to avoid default being floated by Rob Portman. The details of the plan were so bizarrely one-sided I literally assumed it was some kind of mistake and ignored it. But The Wall Street Journal reports the same plan today, and the details are pretty breathtaking:

Mr. Portman has recommended an agreement that would fund the government for one year at the level favored by House Republicans that would include plans to start lawmakers on an overhaul of the tax code. His plan also would raise the debt limit by an amount equal to deficit-reduction measures already backed by Mr. Obama in his most recent budget, including a switch to a new measure of inflation under which Social Security benefits would rise more slowly.

So the compromise here is that the government gets funded at levels of the Republicans’ choosing, there are cuts to Medicare and Social Security, and instead of higher revenue, there’s “tax reform.” And we go through another debt-ceiling crisis within the next year. Politico’s version adds the detail that Portman would insist that sequestration stay in place, mercifully absent from the Journal account.

The Journal describes Portman’s proposal as a plan to “break the stalemate.”

I say this literally and without exaggeration: If I had to choose between Portman’s plan and the tea-party plan reported in The Onion — “a clean budget resolution bill in exchange for the president’s firstborn daughter, Malia Obama” — I would pick the Onion plan.

Portman’s Compromise: Obama Can Keep Daughters