The complicated deficit deal

I know I’ll be writing more about the imact of the “compromise” in the days to come, but for now here a summary.  The Atlantic Wire has the best written summary I’ve been able to find.

The basic plan, as explained by The New York Times‘ Carl Hulse and Helene Cooper, Politico’s David Rogers, and The Hill‘s Alexander Bolton, goes something like this:

1. Raise the debt limit by $900 billion and cut spending by the same amount over 10 years. Members of Congress can vote to show they don’t like the increase but Obama can veto their disapproval. 
2. Create a bipartisan committee with three members of each party from each chamber of Congress to find spending cuts the size of a second debt limit increase of $1.5 trillion. As a special holiday treat, the plan must be presented to colleagues by Thanksgiving and voted on by Christmas.
3. If the plan passes, Obama can raise the limit by $1.5 trillion.
4. If the cuts committee can’t come up with a plan, Obama can get only a $1.2 trillion debt limit increase, and Congress must either:
a. Pass a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution, or
b. Allow spending cuts the size of the debt limit increase over the next 10 years, with at least half coming from cuts to defense spending. These cuts would be automatic by the end of 2012.
There is still a chance to get revenue increases through the committee’s recommendations.  That is what the Democrats have to run around the country selling:  increased revenues and more chanced to create jobs.  I heard Nancy Pelosi say at one point that the country did not want this debt crisis business, but were interested in “jobs, jobs, jobs.”  This has to be the new Democratic message:  OK, we have pretty much caved on the debt business, now create some jobs.
We Have a Debt Limit Deal: Now What?
So smile now, because if there aren’t more jobs soon – and the deficit deal has the potential to make a lot more of them go away – you might not be smiling in November 2012.

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