But what did we get? While Democrats are bitching that they get nothing out of this deal, pointing out how Republicans are getting everything that they demanded, some are wondering what the "compromise" actually was. And in spite of this, some in the GOP are actually complaining that it doesn't go far enough because it doesn't include a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. Well, it's nice to see that there's something to piss off everyone, because that's usually the sign of a good bill. But seriously, what did Democrats get out of it at all? Taxes levied on the topmost who have most effectively taken the money supply out of circulation? No. Serious military cutbacks? Not right away. Shit, did the Dems get anything?
The answer is yes. I'll tell you what they got: They got President Obama a "Get out of jail free" card regarding our nation's economy.
You see, the two economic models at war with each other play on fundamental mechanisms of how money works. On the one hand is the idea that the money supply is kept in balance with a system of carefully levied taxes upon the uppermost, and a responsible methodology of spending upon infrastructure, medicine and education, which benefits all businesses and citizens. On the other hand is the idea that business flourishes better when it is "unfettered" (by which it is usually meant, "untaxed"), and allowed the freedom to grow. Both ideas have merit, and both are obviously incomplete - which is why a synthesis of the two is so badly needed. Unfortunately, polarized thinking has blinded many to this reality, and this debt-ceiling bill illustrates this fully.
What will likely happen as a result of this bill, I'm saddened to say, is an economic downturn - the last thing we need. Already, economists are warning of it, and the Republicans who just don't give a damn are refusing to believe it. Now, this bill has passed, and whatever happens negatively in our economy, the Republicans now have full responsibility, thanks to their sticking resolutely to their vaulted principles. Obama will no longer bear any blame, thanks to this bill - which is essentially a Republican victory. Republicans succeeded in blocking taxation upon the wealthiest in exchange for another four years of Obama. (I hope they're finally happy.)
Now, this is a test of my understanding of economics. All you who read my blog may judge my analysis with me. I've made my prediction, and put my balls out there. And while the scientist in me looks forward to the results of this real-life extro-laboratory experiment, my hypothesis can only be correct if people suffer. This is NOT the way I wish to win an argument! Such is never the preferred path to victory for people of conscience. Nevertheless, if I'm right, don't say I didn't warn you.
You know, however, this could be interesting. I've been right about a lot of things. For example, I predicted Barack Obama's victory. But I've also been wrong on this blog. In the interest of equal time: I was wrong about selling gold right away. I was wrong about Herman Cain being a serious candidate. I was also wrong about legalizing marijuana solving all our budgetary woes. (My own later analysis showed that it would make a dent, but wouldn't come close to solving everything.) So I'm certainly fallible. On the other hand, if I happen to be wrong this time, then everyone is benefiting from a healthy economy, and I'll gladly wear egg on my face for that. If so, our good economy will ensure incumbent victories, and Obama will win. If the economy goes south, Obama has a devil to blame for it in this Republican-led compromise bill. Either way, it's all Obama until 2016.
It's the oldest maxim in the world: People vote with their pocketbook. And when it feels the pinch - as I regrettably expect it will - people will simply have to put the blame at the most obvious cause. This budget fight was so big, and so well-covered by the media, that everyone, for once, knew the issues behind it. They will not forget come 2012.
Then again, experience has shown us that they just might.