Let’s figure out once and for all if the American people are serious about cutting the federal budget.
My guess is they are. If they are, they will blame President Obama for the shutdown. If not, they will blame Speaker Boehner. It’s that simple.
But we need to know.
A lot of commentators are attempting to forecast who will earn America’s ire for the shutdown, and who will cave first. The fact is, nobody has any idea.
The politics of doing the shutdown is like having dinner with in the Borneo rainforest with a group of cannibals. Anything can happen between the appetizer and dessert. It’s totally unpredictable, and it could be really bad.
The deficit is a national calamity that could cripple our economy and ensure that our children don’t get the lives we have, which some already think are pretty miserable.
Sure, it’s best to sell any solution with Reaganesque optimism. The American spirit is strong, and we can get through this one too. And we can grow our way out of it, to some extent.
But it will also take PAIN and TOUGH CHOICES to fix the longterm deficit. If the country is not able to deal with a government shutdown for a few days over a matter of principle – if people blame the side that is trying to cut more out of the budget, whatever the merits of the specific GOP cuts and policy language add-ons – we will know that the nation is not ready for the serious measures that have to be taken.
I have faith that they are. But once we know for sure, it will inform budget policy for the next couple of years and lay the groundwork for candidates of both Parties to seriously trumpet fiscal discipline during 2012 election. It will put us on a path toward saving our economy.
Sure, the 2010 election was in part a referendum on fiscal policy. But the shutdown test will be solely and specifically about the deficit.
Obama and Boehner are both cautious men. Neither has the AUDACITY to keep going once public opinion swings against them. One will cave. We’ll know soon which way the wind is blowing. But first, we need to . . .
SHUT IT DOWN.