The Art of the Deal

I consider myself a fairly astute political observer but I will confess I am extremely puzzled and concerned by the deal Trump and Democrats struck over raising the debt ceiling. Failure to raise the debt ceiling would result in the country defaulting; the deadline was looming. Since defaulting would obviously have very negative consequences for our economy, I assume the longer we could go before having to raise it again the better.

Apparently Steve Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury, and the Republicans wanted eighteen months. Although that seems like a good idea, I don’t trust the Republicans so I assume they had ulterior motives or a hidden agenda, The Democrats counter offer was three months and they didn’t budge. Since there was no back and forth of offers and no compromise in the middle you can’t really call it a deal. It is more like Trump caved.

However the media seems to be spinning it as an example of Trump’s deal making. Trump sees it as a win and is ecstatic about positive press coverage. This is one of the things that concerns me about the deal. I think independents may look at it and think Trump is being bipartisan, something Obama couldn’t achieve. Of course, the reality is that Democrats generally care more about governing and it is therefore easier for a Republican president to be bipartisan. Republicans revel in being in the opposition, don’t really care about governing and are usually really bad at it. All of that made it very hard for Obama who wanted bipartisanship to achieve it.

I don’t want this to improve Trump’s approval level in polls and increase his chances for reelection. I don’t know why the Democrats are helping him to get a win. Apparently they wanted the short time frame to maintain or increase leverage on DACA and other key issues.This feels like a gamble to me since there is no guarantee that in December there will be enough Republicans to form a coalition with Democrats to pass the Dream Act in the House. The extreme political nature of this is upsetting. The short time period before the debt ceiling has to be raised again and Trump getting a win are both bad for the country which is my bottom line.

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