In the just concluded debt limit fight, President Obama had one distinct advantage: the default result of the two parties agreeing to nothing was a $4.6 trillion tax hike. Since they have successfully branded themselves as the anti-tax party, Republicans simply could not allow that to happen.
But in the next two rounds, Republicans now have the default advantage. If the debt limit is not raised, Obama will be forced to cut federal spending by 44 percent. If the sequester is not rescinded, $1.2 trillion in spending cuts will go into effect. As the party of the welfare state, Democrats simply can not allow this to happen. Republicans are now in position to get the better side of the bargain. But what do they want?
This Wednesday, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan chatted with radio show host Hugh Hewitt about conservative strategy for the debt limit fight:
Hewitt: Will the Republicans speak with specificity as to what they are demanding on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid as part of this round of spending reform?
Ryan: Yeah, I mean, I have been, we have twice already. I mean, this session ends today, or we have a new session tomorrow. We passed two budgets that showed you exactly how we would fix this. …
Hewitt: Now Congressman, I agree that the budget is very specific, but not as to the priority of what you must have in this deal. And I think one of the problems we had in the last two months is that there wasn’t great specificity as to what the Republicans insisted on having as opposed to wanting to have. …
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