The Learning Curve

New tricks for an old dog.

The half-life of a 10 year Federal budget plan

By my rough estimate, the half-life of the recently extracted budget reduction deal is one week. This means that by the end of September, 2011, the plan will have evaporated into insignificance. I say this for the simple reason that nobody wants it, and the majority who voted for it did so only to prevent National suicide.

The Budget Control Act of 2011 will last that long because it is the approximate amount of time necessary for shell shock to abate and the realization of what just happened to sink in. The process begins with the understanding that the Republicans aim to reduce fiscal year 2012 non-defense discretionary spending by a full one-forth from the FY 2011 levels, while increasing defense spending. [ Note: I wrote this before I really understood what Congress had done.]

Deal or no-deal? An agreement extorted by threat of unimaginable harm is not an agreement at all, and it’s not going to happen. No deal.

The major impediment to this lurch to economically destructive austerity is the necessity of Congress to actually pass budget appropriations implementing the proposed budget cuts, and there is no way that occurs. All that’s required to stop it is for Senate Democrats to dig in their heels.

So, what’s next?

The fight continues, except the Republicans’ ability to play the nuclear option of debt limit default has been removed. They shot their wad already. The Republicans will be back to stomping their feet and pouting. I predict that it will take at least one government shutdown before the end of the year, and possibly a second shutdown in the spring of 2012. It will be Déjà vu – government shutdown fifteen years later.

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Written by Tom Fox

08/04/2011 at 7:21 am

Posted in Politics

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