The US debt-ceiling deal

There’s plenty of detail around the traps. As Tyler Cowen says, Ezra Klein has a habit of producing excellent summaries and analysis on this stuff. Here (pdf) is the CBO’s analysis.

I’m disappointed, but not surprised, at the split between cuts to “discretionary” and “mandatory” spending. I choose to hope that at their big, joint summit on the deficit it’ll mostly be entitlement reform, as Americans like to call it, and tax reform.

I’m also disappointed, but again not surprised, that the cuts are not distributed in such a way as to make them stimulative (or at least not contractionary) in the immediate term. On the other hand, as in Britain, there’s a reasonable political economy argument to be made that fiscal retrenchment, conditional on deciding that it needs to happen, must be front-loaded to minimise the PDV of political pain.

I do in principle like the grim-trigger approach to the bipartisan negotiations on phase two of the whole thing, US politics being what they are. I’m dissapointed that increased taxes aren’t in the trigger, but appreciate why they’re not. I’m not at all sure that the gutting of defense spending in the trigger is as asymmetrically bad for the GOP as the Democrats would have liked.

I very much hope that votes in the joint summit to determine phase two cuts are kept sealed (for, say, at least a presidential term).

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