A Short, Obligatory Post On The Averted Government Shutdown

by John Hawkins | April 9, 2011 4:10 pm

The Democrats and Republicans reached a deal to avoid shutting down the government and everyone seems to see it differently. Did the Republicans win or did the Democrats? Was a great start to getting the budget under control or not even a drop in the bucket?

Here’s the reality; Democrats believe we should be spending MORE and they don’t want to cut ANY existing programs. If they had their way, the budget would be significantly bigger. These are the people the Republicans had to work with to reach a deal. There’s no way around that fact and truthfully, the Republicans didn’t have any special leverage. Had the Republicans held out for 3 months, they probably wouldn’t have gotten a significantly better deal than the one they made. Hell, it may have been a lot worse if the public blamed the GOP for the shutdown.

The biggest mistake the Republicans made wasn’t cutting the deal; it was not asking for deep enough cuts to start with. Had they asked for 100 billion, they probably would have gotten 60 billion instead of 38.5 — which would have still been a pretty small number compared to the size of our deficit.

The good news about this is that the Republicans are, for the first time since the nineties, actually putting some teeth behind their small government rhetoric. In all fairness, I think the House was ready to do it during the last cycle, but it’s different to say it when you’re out of power than to do it when you’re in power.

So, is this a win for the GOP? Yes, it’s a win, but it’s not a big win. Really big wins, wins that can actually save this country from bankruptcy, will require a Senate and a POTUS that don’t think cowboy poetry, PBS, NPR, and Planned Parenthood are essential government functions that are more important than saving future Americans from living in rags and eating dog food.

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