Is the proposed debt ceiling agreement really a Tea Party victory, as some conservative opinion makers have suggested? Or are its opponents pretending as much, as one part of a grander political strategy?
On his Monday show, radio talker Rush Limbaugh told listeners he thinks the agreement will be framed as a victory for the Tea Party. The size of government will be reduced, he said, even though the actual cuts are negligible.
“The left wants the pols to say that this grand bipartisan bill has gutted government spending,” Limbaugh said. “It’s all part of the Tea Party winning. The left will embark on an all-out effort to declare ‘debt ceiling elevator deal’ as a huge cut in the size of government. Government haters win – blah, blah, blah.
“So when the economy continues to implode, and it will by design — this is a campaign year, it is a presidential election year — they’re going to portray this as a massive cut in government. You’ve seen it. That’s why everybody is talking about it being a big win for the Tea Party.”
He explained that despite the agreement being advertised as one that doesn’t raise taxes, the expiration of Bush-era tax cuts and locked-in tax increases from President Barack Obama’s 2010 health care reform legislation suggest otherwise.
“Well, there are no spending cuts and they are big tax increases no matter what happens,” Limbaugh said. “The Bush tax cuts expire. Tax increase. If they are extended, the commission has got to make up the money. Tax increase, emergency procedure, what have you. Plus we’re going to get the tax increases from Obamacare.
“So no matter how you slice it, taxes are going up. There hasn’t been a significant cut in spending, nothing that’s reducing the rate of growth of government. Nothing is making it smaller.”
Still, the debt ceiling deal will be promoted as a government-cutter. And as the economy falters, which Limbaugh predicts, the president will use the agreement to persuade voters in 2012 that reducing the federal government’s size is bad for the economy.
“So this is the point: When the economy continues to implode and the deficit keeps skyrocketing, guess what Obama gets to say in his reelection narrative?” Limbaugh said. “Quote, ‘We tried slashing government spending. I went along with it, but it didn’t help. Can we all agree now, finally — that the rich will have to pay their fair share? Can we all agree now that we’re going to have to raise taxes on people making — we tried, we tried cutting. It hasn’t worked.’ That’s what I fear, or see coming down the pike as part of Obama’s re-election narrative.”