Boehner Vs. Reid in Debt-Ceiling Showdown: Whose Budget Is Smaller? What's Next? And Are You Sick of this Yet?

Sick of the debt ceiling showdown, and the irresponsibility in government it suggests, and its, well, lameness in general? Well, it's far from over. So here's a quick primer on where we're at. Because boring as it is, its consequences won't be.

Right now we have two plans in contention, "Reid vs. Boehner" both scored by the Congressional Budget Office this morning. From Politico: "The Congressional Budget Office released a report Wednesday morning that credits the [Harry Reid-introduced] Senate bill with reducing budget deficits by about $2.2 trillion through 2021, nearly three times the $850 billion credited to the Boehner bill on Tuesday."

Reid's plan, which is a true compromise plan and hardly will make progressives thrilled, "trumps" Boehner's plan in both sense and savings, which is a victory for the Dems--for now. Steve Benen notes that "reason hasn't played much of a role in the debate thus far, but this morning's CBO score will make it that much more difficult for Republicans to argue an economic catastrophe is preferable to Reid's revenue-free compromise."

But questions remain: if the House rejects Reid's plan and the Senate rejects Boehner's, what will happen? Will a third (or in reality, an umpteenth) plan pop up? And when, if ever, will Wall Street and big business get off of the sidelines for their own self-interest and demand the GOP get its act together?

Some other points to consider:

Kaili Joy Gray at Daily Kos notes that the Republicans are happy to ignore the CBO budget when it's convenient, as it was during the health care reform debate: "So the CBO is entitled to have an opinion that can be rejected outright, except when it's a convenient excuse for going back to the drawing board."

Josh Marshall at TPM points out that these budget projections ignore the real problems in the economy: "Here are the two numbers I'd really like to see: forecasted GDP under each plan and projected unemployment under each plan. That's a much sounder basis on which to evaluate these plans -- and the whole austerity craze -- than just ... whose is bigger." (major h/t to Josh for inspiring this post's title).

Sarah Burfkin, Think Progress makes the necessary argument that the default will doubly-hit the already disadvantaged segments of the population: "If the United States defaults on its debt obligations and suffers a downgrade in its credit rating, people of color in particular will suffer from cuts to federal programs and benefits." 

Wonkette has a humorous take on the fact that Boehner actually, really, pumped up the GOP masses with a clip from the Ben Affleck flick "The Town." 

AlterNet / By Sarah Seltzer

Posted at July 27, 2011, 5:17am

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