it’s important to recognize that the economic damage from obstruction and extortion didn’t start when the G.O.P. shut down the government. On the contrary, it has been an ongoing process, dating back to the Republican takeover of the House in 2010. And the damage is large: Unemployment in America would be far lower than it is if the House majority hadn’t done so much to undermine recovery.Eugene Robinson thinks the dynamics have changed:
A useful starting point for assessing the damage done is a widely cited report by the consulting firm Macroeconomic Advisers, which estimated that “crisis driven” fiscal policy — which has been the norm since 2010 — has subtracted about 1 percent off the U.S. growth rate for the past three years. This implies cumulative economic losses — the value of goods and services that America could and should have produced, but didn’t — of around $700 billion. The firm also estimated that unemployment is 1.4 percentage points higher than it would have been in the absence of political confrontation, enough to imply that the unemployment rate right now would be below 6 percent instead of above 7.
President Obama’s victory this week was as complete and devastating as Sherman’s march through the South. But there is no early sign that the zealots of the anti-government far right have learned the lessons of their defeat — which means that more battles lie ahead.Andrew Rosenthal at The New York Times expands on the idea that some Republicans believe they lost because they were too moderate:
House Speaker John Boehner was not being honest Wednesday when he explained the GOP surrender as, “We fought the good fight; we just didn’t win.” This was not a good fight. Republicans picked an objective that was never realistic — forcing Obama to nullify the Affordable Care Act, his biggest achievement — and tactics that amounted to self-immolation. [...] What we won’t see [in future negotiations] is the old pattern of the GOP smashing the crockery and getting its way. Obama has shown that even the most irrational of tantrums can be stilled by the power of no.
Every time Republicans suffer a rejection of the most right-wing items on their agenda, a significant number decide they haven’t been sufficiently crazy. That was the conclusion that many Republicans drew from the defeat of Mitt Romney in 2012. And now that Republicans in Congress have been forced to surrender in their fight with President Obama over the budget, health care and the nation’s credit, some are drawing the same conclusion.[...]The NYT editorial board looks forward to the next phase of negotiations and praises Majority Leader Harry Reid for his line in the sand on entitlement cuts:
Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, for example, said the fight over the debt ceiling was good for Democrats, but for a peculiar reason. “It has been the best two weeks for the Democratic Party in recent times because they were out of the spotlight and didn’t have to showcase their ideas,” Mr. Graham said.
What Mr. Graham perceived as hiding was actually an exercise in not interrupting your enemy while he’s making a mistake. It was a good period for Democrats because Republicans were in the spotlight and showcasing their ideas. Or their lack of ideas, in the words of Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor who always seems on the verge of making a presidential run that never quite seems to materialize.
What should not happen is a proposal made by Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, on Thursday to trade long-term cuts in entitlement programs for short-term increases in domestic spending. As the majority leader, Harry Reid, quickly made clear, entitlement changes can’t be discussed until Republicans accept the need for tax increases. But that doesn’t rule out finding areas of common ground in hammering out a 2014 budget.More on the day's top stories below the fold.
Even Crain's Chicago Business calls on corporations to essentially starve the crazy wing of the Republican party:
In the past few election cycles, conservative political action committees, corporations and wealthy individuals claiming to favor liberty and limited government have shoveled money into the pockets of tea party-style candidates running for office at all levels of government. Along the way, these interests helped to elevate an assortment of ideologues, carnival barkers and self-aggrandizing hucksters into positions of real power — people whose influence previously extended only as far as banning a book via their local library board or writing science out of the curriculum at their neighborhood school.Meanwhile, The Washington Post analyzes the upcoming immigration reform showdown:
As the just-concluded government shutdown and debt-ceiling standoff vividly demonstrated, the House GOP went on a bender and didn't name a designated driver. The drunkards behind the congressional wheel nearly drove world financial markets into a ditch, draining $24 billion from the U.S. economy in the process. And there's every indication that they'll take the keys and repeat the process in January, when the debt-ceiling timer goes off again.
It's time for Republicans to sober up and get to work doing the country's business. [...]
To this end, business interests must start channeling their influence and their financial resources toward less doctrinaire candidates who recognize that government — no matter how big or small we may like it to be — has a role to play in a civilized society. Some big business lobbyists, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, are making noise that they'll do that in next year's Republican primaries. We only hope more move back toward more pragmatic conservatism. Governing by crisis is a luxury we no longer can afford.
WHEN IT comes to overhauling the nation’s broken immigration system, the brawl over the government shutdown and the debt limit has left Congress in a state of suspended animation, or sustained denial. The issue will not disappear. House Republicans, the major stumbling block to reform, got a reminder of that last month when the Pew Research Center reported that the number of illegal immigrants may be rising after three years of apparent stability.
The new estimates from Pew, which said about 11.7 million undocumented immigrants are living in the United States, coincided with disheartening news that a bipartisan group of House lawmakers has disbanded after trying for four years to find a compromise on immigration. Three of four Republican members of the so-called Gang of Seven quit, including two in recent days.