Thursday, December 12, 2013

can, kicked, down road

The Ryan-Murray [or should it be Murray-Ryan?] budget deal is better than the most likely alternative [government shutdown, fiscal uncertainty, vicious political gridlock], but mainly delays until some point in the future any big decisions on government spending.  To paraphrase Churchill's comment about his opposition Labor Party leader,it's a modest agreement with much to be modest about.

Stan Collender has a good analysis of the losers in this agreement. As he indicates, this deal avoids additional sequesters for the next two years, but tacks on the threat in 2022 and 2023. [Lots of luck for that.] It also makes less likely major tax reform, which probably has to piggyback on a grand bargain doing something about entitlement programs.

I would point out an important toe in the door in the package -- a very minor adjustment to military retired pay for members under age 62, one percent below inflation. Until now military retirees have received generous increases and not forced to share in pay freezes and other restrictions on civilian pay. This is a small step in the direction of fairness and equity.

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