They may be hesitant to acknowledge it, but the Tea Party and the Republicans they led into the debt-ceiling fight are the true victors of this debate. Their unwillingness to compromise led the Democrats to give in on weak points and give up major ones themselves.
The issue for Democrats starts with the “compromise”. They supposedly gave in by cutting defense spending, which is currently over $700 billion and is being used on two wars, military action in Libya, plus maintaining a de facto world police force with around 700 bases in 130 countries, none of which we need. They also didn’t get a balanced budget amendment vote tacked on, which would have been unlikely to pass anyway. Both of these are things Republicans shouldn’t have been able to complain about, but did in order to give Democrats the illusion of compromise.
Democrats had to give in much more than Republicans. They had to endure major cuts to domestic spending programs like Medicare and Social Security, a cornerstone of the Democrats’ political platform. Plus, they did not get any new revenue from “corporate jet owners” and the wealthy like they had hoped, despite the fact that the U.S. already has one of the most progressive income tax systems in the world.
The deal reached today reflects a good start in the debt debate, but it is an issue that goes on as we continue to run massive deficits. Let’s hope our leaders can continue to restore fiscal sanity to Washington, especially before the debt ceiling is increased further.