Greg Sargent is looking at it the way we are:
By all accounts, it looks like a deal is about to be announced in which the debt ceiling is hiked in exchange for the promise of major spending cuts, including to entitlements, totaling at least $2.4 trillion.Here's more from ABC:Anything can happen, but it apppears the GOP is on the verge of pulling off a political victory that may be unprecedented in American history. Republicans may succeed in using the threat of a potential outcome that they themselves acknowledged would lead to national catastrophe as leverage to extract enormous concessions from Democrats, without giving up anything of any significance in return.Dave Weigel
Not only that, but Republicans — in perhaps the most remarkable example of political up-is-downism in recent memory — cast their willingness to dangle the threat of national crisis as a brave and heroic effort they’d undertaken on behalf of the national interest. Only the threat of national crisis could force the immediate spending cuts supposedly necessary to prevent a far more epic crisis later.
The agreement looks like this: if the super-committee tasked with entitlement and tax reform fails to come up with $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction that passes Congress, the “neutron bomb” goes off, -- as one Democrat put it -- spending cuts that will hit the Pentagon budget most deeply, as well as Medicare providers (not beneficiaries) and other programs.
If the super-committee comes up with some deficit reduction but not $1.5 trillion, the triggers would make up the difference.
So it’s a minimum $2.7 trillion deficit reduction deal.
And the debt ceiling will be raised by $2.4 trillion in two tranches: $900 billion immediately, and the debt ceiling will be raised by an additional $1.5 trillion next year – either through passage of a Balanced Budget Amendment, which is unlikely, or with Congress voting its disapproval..
Despite the claim on Twitter from unnamed White House officials that "its better than reported", and even taking in to account the potential of the Bush tax cuts expiring, it's hard to celebrate anything about rewarding hostage takers. And yeah, the tea party is hitting its high water mark, with many mainstream conservatives lambasting them.
Helpful in the long run, but in the long run, as Keynes was fond of saying, we are all dead.