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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Ezra Klein On Obama's Debt Ceiling Pronouncements

July 6th, 2011

Klein writes:
"President Obama's debt-ceiling remarks were interesting for two reasons: what he said, and what he didn't say.

What he said is that we're not doing a short-term deal. "I’ve heard reports that there may be some in Congress who want to do just enough to make sure that America avoids defaulting on our debt in the short term, but then wants to kick the can down the road when it comes to solving the larger problem of our deficit," the president. "I don’t share that view."

If you take the president at his word, that's something of a scary comment. Washington's working definition for "solving the larger problem of our deficit" is $4 trillion in deficit reduction over the next 10-12 years, including substantial taxes and changes to Medicare and Medicaid. There's no way Republicans and Democrats are going to agree on a package like that by late-July. Nor is one needed by late-July. What's needed by late-July is an increase in the debt ceiling. We need, in Austan Goolsbee's piquant terms, to avoid "the first default in history caused purely by insanity."

Indeed. Avoiding a permanent and devastating (not to mention potentially world wide) economic disaster does not qualify as "kicking the can."

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