Alec MacGillis wrote a post recently describing Pete Peterson’s efforts to engage the younger generations in his deficit reduction hysteria. Beyond the typical holier-than-thou centrist rhetoric, a couple of things really jumped out at me. First, I’m not the first person to point this out, but it’s just bizarre how far the media will go to avoid assigning any sort of partisan bent to deficit reduction rhetoric.
At this point, anyone that says a grand bargain will require compromises on both sides of the aisle is either delusional or completely misinformed; Obama’s offers during the final fiscal cliff negotiations leaned farther to the right than many proponents of bipartisan compromise advocated (including the initial Simpson Bowles proposal). The failure to accept such a deal is not a failure of bipartisan effort; it’s the failure to recognize that the GOP is a one issue party, and refuses to accept (even very small) hikes in marginal tax rates on the top 5-10% of earners. (As a side note, I should clarify that I am not in favor of additional fiscal consolidation–we’ve already had enough deficit reduction, a grand bargain would just be making things worse. This post concerns the political impacts of the deficit reduction that has already taken place).
The much more problematic issue, for me, is that Former President Clinton lent his name and credibility to this silliness. Hopefully we’ll be off the zero lower-bound for interest rates by the time the 2016 election rolls around, but, if not, this is certainly something to keep an eye on with respect to Hillary Clinton’s (prospective) campaign.