The white flag waves

I’m sure you’re nearly as surprised as I am to learn that the House Republicans not only caved on the debt ceiling, but caved in a preemptive manner:

A conservative proposal to raise the debt ceiling — known as “Cut, Cap and Balance” — passed the House with bipartisan support late Tuesday, by a vote of 234 to 190. Five Democrats (Boren, Cooper, Matheson, McIntyre and Schuler) voted with the majority, while nine Republicans (Bachmann, Broun, Canseco, DesJarlais, Griffith, Walter Jones, Mack, Paul and Rohrabacher) voted ‘no.’

What is this cunning plan, precisely?

“Under the “Cut, Cap, and Balance” legislation, Congress would raise the debt ceiling by $2.5 trillion (the amount requested by President Obama to get him through the 2012 election). However, that increase would go into effect only if both houses of Congress pass — with two-thirds majorities — a balanced-budget amendment (BBA) to the Constitution and send it to the states for ratification. In addition, the plan calls for significant spending cuts to next year’s budget — about $111 billion — and firm caps on federal spending at 18.5 percent of GDP by the end of the decade. According to White House data, given current trends, spending will exceed 25 percent of GDP this year and will hover around 22.5 percent for the next five years. (The legislation will make no immediate changes to Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security.)”

Significant spending cuts? $111 billion is about 7 percent of the 2011 deficit. Spending needs to be reduced to 18.5 percent of GDP or less now, not ten years from now. This is a craven and abject collapse on the part of the House Republicans and Bachmann’s vote against it shows that they know this to be the case.