The 5 Big Budget Deal Losers
Regardless of whether it's actually adopted, five individuals, groups and organizations stand out as being the biggest losers from the budget deal announced Tuesday evening. They are:
1. Fix The Debt. FTD is the high-profile corporate-funded organization that has been pushing hard for a grand bargain dealing with the long-term budget issues. In spite of the statement FTD issued, this deal was a total rejection of what FTD has raised and spent so much money trying to get Congress to do. You might even call it a smackdown. Not only will there be no Fix the Debt-preferred agreement in 2014, the deal closes the door on that type of agreement in 2015 as well. And does anyone really think Congress is going to take on Social Security and Medicare just before the 2016 presidential election?
2. Paul Ryan. Yes, I know that many are giving House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) high fives for putting the deal together. But there's little doubt that he has hurt his credentials with the tea party wing of the GOP and it is critical to anyone who wants to run for president some day as Ryan supposedly wants to do. Ryan committed at least three sins in the eyes of the tea partiers: He collaborated with the enemy when he compromised with Patty Murray, he agreed to things that some tea parties are calling tax increases and he agreed to higher spending than would occur have occurred without the deal. Still don't agree? Watch how many tea partiers, or representatives and senators with tea party primary challengers, vote against the deal.
3. Health Care Providers. The the threat of mandatory program spending cuts from a sequester, which primarily affect health care providers under Medicare, ended ended in 2021 before the deal but were extended to 2023 in the deal.
4. Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) and Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI). With the prospects of another deal on the budget now gone through the 2016 presidential election, the chairs of the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means Committees are now going to find it even more difficult to push their colleagues to consider comprehensive tax reform any time soon. There might not have been much of a chance to begin with (I've been saying 2019 for a while), but this agreement pretty much seals the deal.
5. Deficit Hawks. In spite of how House Republicans leaders are trying to sell it, this deal does virtually nothing to reduce the deficit and it puts further deficit reduction on hold through the end of 2015. That may well be the correct fiscal policy given the fact that the other contributors to GDP aren't currently contributing that much, but the deficit hawks ought to be feeling seriously deflated. Not only was their position almost completely rejected, after years of being seen as the voice of angels, the deal makes them voices in the wilderness for some time to come.