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What the debt-ceiling deal didn't do [Most commented]

August 2, 2011 |  4:57 pm

Obama signs the Budget Control Act.

The debt deal struck by congressional leaders does nothing more than preserve the U.S. credit rating, The Times’ editorial board wrote Tuesday. The most tangible part of the deal is the reduction of discretionary spending, which will continue to reduce the size of government each year but probably would have naturally decreased anyway. The real challenge, which politicians have long been aware of, lies in benefits programs -- but that, of course, has been passed off to a committee that has five months to find $1.5 trillion in reductions. So what do we have to look forward to? More uncertainty, the board wrote.

The one thing the Obama administration gets out of the proposed deal is a degree of confidence that the debt limit won't be taken hostage again until 2013. That's not because the proposal increases the debt limit — it doesn't. Instead, it gives Obama the authority to do it, subject to a vote by two-thirds of the House and Senate to block the increase. That's a shameful abdication of congressional responsibility, but under the circumstances, it's hard to bemoan Congress yielding power.

Most tragically, the deal provides no certainty about the ultimate resolution of the capital's fiscal mess. Instead, the House Republicans' success in forcing concessions out of Obama and Senate Democrats only encourages them to follow the same game plan next month, when Congress has to adopt a set of spending bills to keep the government operating past Sept. 30. A dispute between House Republicans and Senate Democrats has already forced the Federal Aviation Administration to suspend construction projects at airports around the country, idling 70,000 workers. Washington may have averted a partial government shutdown this week, only to invite more of them in the months to come.

Readers on the discussion board were critical of Obama’s leadership, or lack thereof, during the debt-ceiling crisis.

Obama was concerned only about reelection

Obama's only consideration has been how best to position himself for the 2012 Presidential election!

--thayabharan

That’s because he’s an organizer, not a leader, in response to thayabharan

Once you realize that Obama is not a leader but an "organizer" everything becomes crystal clear.

--chatmandu002

There’s still a lot of work left to do

Anyone that thinks that this deal actually CUTS federal spending is in for a rude shock.  Federal Spending continues to rise every year, just not by quite as much.

Only in federal budget la-la-land does a decrease in the rate of growth constitute a drastic cut.  There is still quite a lot of work to do yet folks.

--DH Barr

Obama is useless

I look forward eagerly to Barack Obama's last day as President of the United States.

The man is a fool and an incompetent.

Completely useless.

Good riddance.

--sfdad58

Obama was lacking in conviction and clear vision during this crisis

Throughout this debt crisis, we have seen absolutely no executive leadership from Obama.  His lack of experience has been upstaged only by his lack of conviction and a clear vision of where he wants to go.  He's simply in over his head, and it shows. 

--trust no one

Fiscal sanity, please!

It seems to me the Republicans accomplished their objective of reducing spending by the same amount the debt ceiling is raised without increasing taxes.

I like the way Democrats define "millionaires and billionaires" as anyone making more than $200K/year.  How many public employees that fit that definition do we have in California?

It doesn't fix the problem, that's true.  But the real solution belongs in the budget but the Democrats have not produced one while Obama has been in office.

Hopefully this is the beginning of some fiscal sanity, which I'm sure will come with plenty of moaning and gnashing of teeth.

--areeda

We need more taxes on the rich to sustain our social safety net

I don't understand why the only way to protect Medicare is to raise the age when it can be used.  What about raising taxes on wealthier folks?  That would help save Medicare--and those people wouldn't even miss the money.  I know far too many folks who've got more money than they know what to do with and so they spend their idle time coming up with ways to have more idle time.

Keep taking FICA out of salaries over $106K per year, raise the tax rate of people who make more than they need to live and keep our social safety net whole.

--Cypress1

 RELATED

Debt ceiling: One clear profile in courage

Debt ceiling: What's the excuse for voting 'no'?

Gabrielle Giffords' not the first sickbed-to-Capitol Hill vote

Debt-ceiling deal: A win for the 'tea party'? A loss for the American people? [The conversation]

--Samantha Schaefer

Photo: President Obama signs the Budget Control Act of 2011 in the Oval Office at the White House on Tuesday. Credit: Pete Souza / Reuters

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