Are you sick of hearing about the Gang of Six yet? I sure am. And now that I know that their ballyhooed proposal will not be ready, legislatively speaking, by the August 2 deadline, I am officially sickened:
Is this a joke??!! All I've seen in the media is one hosanna after another about how this "tax now, cut later" plan is the only one that can pass, and the one that the president can "get behind" (where he has been leading all along), and now we're told that it can't pass by the artificial deadline for fiscal Armageddon? What's coming is as obvious as it is inevitable: the hastily thrown together "I haven't read the bill" which everyone will will be bullied into voting on without reading it. And then when Michelle Bachmann and others rise up against it, we'll be hearing about "cult fringes" and migraines.
When people talk about the terrible precedent of the TARP vote, this is what they mean. The government is simply no longer legislating in a normal manner. Oh, sure, the House has passed not one, but two, proposals for raising the debt ceiling but these apparently "don't count." That's because the Senate no longer drafts bills in a manner that would be recognizable to Lyndon Johnson. Instead of committees holding hearings and marking up bills, we have an d hoc "gang" negotiating over God knows what with numbers thrown around like lawn darts, with about as much accuracy.
At least with TARP there was an actual crisis. This time the crisis is entirely the creation of the people who are now demanding that the GOP go along with tax increases or have the "blame" for a debt default foisted on them by the conventional wisdom. Why any Republican would go along with this is beyond me.
UPDATE: Keith Hennessey offers 17 reasons to oppose the Gang of Six plan, but all you really need to know is this: the only specifics in the plan are tax increases and cuts in defense spending. Everything else is aspirational.