Looks like Congress finally passed a budget deal to get us through the next two years, just in time for the holidays. The deal was made between Paul Ryan (R) and Patty Murray (D), and the compromise not only avoids another government shutdown in January, but it also alleviates some of the worst fears about austerity in the future. Both sides grudgingly gave up a little bit of what they held dear in order to avoid larger sacrifices on their part, and even Bonehead himself went along with it. As a result, the three most popular programs (Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid) and Obamacare are no longer on the chopping block for now, and the most damaging sequester cuts are reversed (or at least made more flexible) for the 2014 fiscal year. So, cue the music once again, Maestro:
HALLELUJAH! HALLELUJAH! HALLELUJAH, HALL.......err, wait a minute. Seriously? There is really nothing to be rejoicing about, since Congress merely did what they are normally supposed to do every year--pass a freaking budget on time to prevent a shutdown. Furthermore, it's not like it's a particularly good deal either. The budget includes cuts to military pensions, no extension of unemployment benefits, no reversal of November's food stamp cuts, and many remaining parts of the sequester--all to protect massive tax loopholes for the rich and mega-corporations, which remained untouched despite the need for new revenues. And the looming debt ceiling showdown in February remains unaddressed, which the Repugnicans will most likely try to exploit once again when the time comes. But all this is the logical consequence of negotiating a compromise between a right-wing extremist like Ryan and a moderate centrist Democrat like Murray--we end up splitting the difference and getting a deal that is, on balance, actually even further to the right of the status quo just to keep the ax away from our most crucial and popular social progams. Long story short, Congress is still broken, and is clearly FAR from being fixed anytime soon. So one more time, we will say it again to them:
Except for a very few of you (Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Tammy Baldwin, and Alan Grayson), we will send ALL of you packing in 2014. Goodbye, and good riddance! Don't let the door hit you on the way out.