Obama has caved again. He may have avoided literal financial default (we'll see how the votes in the House and Senate play out) but by agreeing to cut important government programs now and, in effect, later, he has ensured de facto economic and moral default.
What part of being rolled doesn't the President understand? He agreed to a "bipartisan commission" which will present to Congress a plan in a few months to cut an additional $1 trillion plus from government programs. The scenario for this commission is already clear. Since it is half and half from both parties, the chances are small that it will achieve consensus. But, even if it does, there is 0 chance that the Republicans, led around by the Tea Screamers, will vote for its recommendations unless they are in total agreement with its very narrow "principles". Why should they? Thus, I'd say that the almost certain outcome is that the recommendations of this committee, if there are any, will be rejected, and so automatic cuts to important programs will be triggered. We don't know yet exactly what the nature of these cuts will be, but they most certainly will involve Medicare reimbursements, and slashes to agencies that make our lives better and safer. This will further make our government appear -- and in fact, be -- less effective: a prime Republican/Big Business objective. There will be no tax increases on the wealthy, or even the tax "reforms" which the Screamers regard as tax increases anyway. And, in fact, as nearly all economists agree, cutting government spending at this point in an economic downturn is a recipe for a double-dip recession. When this happens, Obama, by his lack of leadership will have made himself a one-term president.
In fact, the Republicans will have won everything, including the public-relations battle -- by Presidential default.
Of course, to sound an optimistic note, when the Republicans take over the show in 2012, they will resume the true disaster begun by 8 years of G.W. Bush: 0 regulation, 0 protection for consumers, 0 help for our crumbling federal, state and local education and infrastructure, and soaring unemployment with its resulting toll on already historically low tax revenues. Things will be so bad that by 2016 the Dems have a real shot at a rebound -- if there's anything left.
I can't wait.