Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts. Founded by Mark Kleiman (1951-2019)
What a Victory!
Perhaps Mark is right, and I was too anxious.Â After all, now that Republican hostage-taking demands have begun to cave, Obama has doubled down, calling again for entitlement cuts and higher taxes:
For all its talk of the importance of averting a debt default, the White House is signaling that major deficit reduction has become more than just a bargaining chip to bring Republicans aboard a debt deal.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner opened Tuesday’s meeting not by focusing on the perils of debt default, but instead with a “vivid” presentation on “what happens if you don’t cut the deficit,” according to a Democratic source familiar with the talks.
Geithner warned the group that ratings agencies are actively watching both the debt ceiling debate and the ability of Congress to turn around the nation’s growing deficit and debt. He pointed to the economic unrest in Europe as evidence of what could happen in the United States if the White House and Congress don’t tackle the deficit in a serious way.
Lawmakers obviously discussed the pressing consequences of debt default, said the Democratic official. And on that front there still “continues to be a big difference on revenue.”
But as negotiations on a debt package resumed, Obama made it clear that he isn’t playing small ball. He warned Republicans that the major concessions he has offered on entitlement reforms are off the table if they don’t agree to a sizable debt deal.
In the meantime, just a year before a general election,Â the country’s unemployment rate is over 9% and its effective unemployment rate might be twice that.Â Obama’s solution to the searing crisis of the middle class apparently is to raise the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67, in exchange for tax increases that will occur anyway.Â Oh yes,Â and $2 trillion of other unspecified cuts, which always figure to work beautifully during a recession.Â Â If we don’t do that, then we’ll end up like Europe, where people are supposedly concerned about deficits.Â What is there in any of this that a progressive could possibly object to?
Best President since Ike, I’d say.
Author: Jonathan Zasloff
Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic - Land Use, the Environment and Local Government. He grew up and still lives in the San Fernando Valley, about which he remains immensely proud (to the mystification of his friends and colleagues). After graduating from Yale Law School, and while clerking for a federal appeals court judge in Boston, he decided to return to Los Angeles shortly after the January 1994 Northridge earthquake, reasoning that he would gladly risk tremors in order to avoid the average New England wind chill temperature of negative 55 degrees.
Professor Zasloff has a keen interest in world politics; he holds a PhD in the history of American foreign policy from Harvard and an M.Phil. in International Relations from Cambridge University. Much of his recent work concerns the influence of lawyers and legalism in US external relations, and has published articles on these subjects in the New York University Law Review and the Yale Law Journal. More generally, his recent interests focus on the response of public institutions to social problems, and the role of ideology in framing policy responses.
Professor Zasloff has long been active in state and local politics and policy. He recently co-authored an article discussing the relationship of Proposition 13 (California's landmark tax limitation initiative) and school finance reform, and served for several years as a senior policy advisor to the Speaker of California Assembly. His practice background reflects these interests: for two years, he represented welfare recipients attempting to obtain child care benefits and microbusinesses in low income areas. He then practiced for two more years at one of Los Angeles' leading public interest environmental and land use firms, challenging poorly planned development and working to expand the network of the city's urban park system. He currently serves as a member of the boards of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (a state agency charged with purchasing and protecting open space), the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice (the leading legal service firm for low-income clients in east Los Angeles), and Friends of Israel's Environment. Professor Zasloff's other major activity consists in explaining the Triangle Offense to his very patient wife, Kathy.
View all posts by Jonathan Zasloff
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