BEYOND THE NUMBERS
Greenstein: Big Dangers Ahead in the Next Round of the Budget Battle
In recent days, policymakers, pundits, and the media have debated whether the “fiscal cliff” budget deal was a victory or defeat for the President or congressional Republicans, progressives or conservatives, rich or poor, the economy or the deficit — you name it. Most of the commentary is unpersuasive, however, for one basic reason: the fiscal cliff deal is only one stage in a broader budget battle, and you can’t render a legitimate judgment on that effort until the next stage — which includes the scheduled across-the-board spending cuts known as “sequestration” and, especially, the need to raise the debt limit — is completed.
What’s important at this point is not assessing winners or losers but, instead, understanding what lies ahead. That’s because what lies ahead is truly frightening. Indeed, it could (though it doesn’t have to) produce outcomes that are far more damaging to the economy, sound fiscal policy, and low-income and vulnerable Americans than anything that policymakers and experts feared from the fiscal cliff.Click here for the full commentary.