The deal on the debt ceiling does nearly nothing to address the systemic problems faced by the economy and by extension the jeopardy faced by 95% of Americans. What it does do is to illustrate in fine detail that that Congressional leadership is, to be kind, impotent. There is not a blue pill in sight.
The only way to get a deal is to threaten “painful” cuts in Defense and Medicare as a trigger if Congress does not pass another set of insignificant cuts equal to 1.5 trillion over 10 years for a grand total of $2.5 trillion. $250 billion a year versus projected deficits of over $1 trillion a year is no more than a small change in momentum. Changing momentum is fine; we should be clear, there is nothing even close to a beginning of a solution here.
The threat of “painful” trigger cuts to defense and Medicare is required for Congress to see a path to continued cuts in spending. One sacred cow must appear on the chopping block for each party to motivate action. Housing, GDP, employment, business investment, small business creation, real wages and credit availability, all on harsh negative trend lines is not sufficient motivation for Congress! We must threaten national security and health care to provide the proper motivation to avoid economic collapse.
Presidential leadership may have been essentially absent in this circumstance; however, Congress requires self imposed threats to generate a deal. The only bi-partisan symptom here is the agreement that no one moves absent an agreement on collective blackmail that saves Congress from itself.