The Fiscal Cliff, the Sequester, and the Continuing Resolutions now are behind us. The next Episode in the Continuing Saga is looming: the Debt Ceiling. President Obama has put down his table ante, as described by the Washington Post headline, “Obama budget would cut entitlements in exchange for tax increases.” In plain English Team Obama is offering the Republicans a suicide pact euphemized as a “grand bargain on the debt.” Instead of a suicide pact America needs Congress to tackle the Growth Gap.
Washington is treating the symptom rather than the disease. Moreover, the president (not uncharacteristically when it comes to economic policy, where he shows a curious gap in common sense resembling that of his predecessor, Jimmy Carter) is proposing a cure worse than the disease. With the economy continuing to sputter, and unemployment verging on the criminal for so late in a recovery, raising taxes is courting a double dip to the Great Recession. Suicide pact, anyone?
Prominent Republicans have been asking America to swallow poison pills as well. These are a recipe for the continued degradation of the Republican brand which used to, under Reagan, stand for a climate of massively good job creation and equitable prosperity. Reversion to something resembling the GOP’s “rootcanalonomics” that preceded Reagan is damaging the standing even of Rep. Paul Ryan — as reported by Howard Kurtz in The Daily Beast, “Why Paul Ryan’s Star Dimmed”.
But the thought leaders of the House GOP are beginning to shift from feckless masochism back to policies of the “Pursuit of Happiness.” Government policies in support of the pursuit of happiness truly serve Americans well … and are a recipe for political victory.
There is another, far better, route for America, and the Republicans, than to pursue even momentarily Mr. Obama’s proffered sugar-coated Satan sandwich (as the eloquent Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo, characterized, by tweet, Washington’s 2011 debt limit deal).
The road map for that route is called the Kadlec Curve. As this columnist previously has written (and bears repeating):