Boehner’s Demands

May 10 2011 @ 3:40pm

Boehner wants spending cuts in the "trillions" before he agrees to raise the debt ceiling. Yglesias wants specifics. I think that negotiating a deal using the debt ceiling as leverage is profoundly irresponsible, however important it is to cut entitlements and defense. But one of the least conservative aspects of contemporary conservatism is its contempt for institutions and mechanisms that keep societies stable – like paying your debts on time. Ezra watches the road ahead:

Boehner's got a big number, but it's not, over time, an impossible number. All of the major long-term budgets cut and raise more than $2 trillion over the next 10 years, so Boehner's demands, though impressive in the abstract, are actually in the center of deficit-reduction consensus. What's more questionable is his timetable.

It's very unlikely that Congress will be able to cut a multi-trillion dollar deal on deficit reduction before early-August, when the Treasury runs out of financial gimmicks to delay a default. And if Boehner and the Republicans won't accept fiscal rules as a downpayment on deficit reduction, that leaves us with few options save for a series of hard-to-negotiate, short-term increases in the debt ceiling — which is to say, an extremely extended period of uncertainty for the market.