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Guidance for Anti-Dealers

2:06 PM, Aug 1, 2011 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
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Anyone considering opposing the debt ceiling deal will be accused of being ... not just a hobbit (!), but also a totally irresponsible full-faith-and-credit-of-the-U.S.-government defaulter. Not so—if the anti-deal position is not pro-default.

So, anti-dealers could:

Debt Deal

1). Support a week-long extension of the debt limit, even without off-setting spending cuts, to avoid “default” and to give everyone time for deliberation, debate, and better legislation.

2). Support a $1 trillion hike in the debt ceiling in return for the $1 trillion in cuts already in the deal. This would get us to the end of the year. There’s going to be a big fight then anyway, if the deal passes, about the committee report, or non-report—so let’s have the fight without the baggage of the committee and the triggers.

3). But, pro-dealers will say, at least the current legislation means we won’t be running up against a possible default again at the end of year. Fine. Anti-dealers could support some version of the old McConnell proposal that allows Obama to raise the debt ceiling as needed in 2012. It could be worth accepting that outcome in order to avoid the committee and the triggers, which are dangerous substantively (for one thing, they lay the groundwork for another effort at a bad Grand Bargain later this year, and if not, they could do great damage to defense) and politically.

So why isn’t the right position now—No Deal. No Default. And No Gutting Defense.

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