If you’re a progressive, it might be hard to stomach the final tally of the debt-ceiling fight. “[T]he fine print of the agreement makes clear that Republicans received more of what they demanded than did Mr. Obama,” the New York Times reports. Say what you want about both sides taking a beating here. If you’re a progressive, your side got less.
Greg Sargent offers a mature and generous response, leaving open the question of whether President Obama caved or did the best he could. We can’t necessarily know, he argues.
In any case, if you’re looking for something happy, try this: The debt deal goes after defense spending, leaves open the possibility of new revenue and exempts Social Security from cuts. Also, funding for Pell grants – which Republicans had complained about in an earlier proposal by Speaker John Boehner – will be safe, at least for now. The win for poor kids trying to go to college appears right in the second item on the White House fact sheet,.
As you can see in the chart above, an increase in the maximum amount you can get from a Pell grant caused a jump in costs. The other part of the increase was that laid-off Americans went back to school in an effort to help themselves and their families. Now that spending is expected to level off. There’s a dollop of justice in this – not bucket, but some. Our national red ink comes from the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, not for the ambitions of middle- and working-class Americans to improve their lives.