Reid Plan? Boehner Plan? Either Way, the Right Wins.

Back in May, House Speaker John Boehner went before the Economic Club of New York to offer the GOP’s opening bid on debt-ceiling negotiations. His demands were straightforward: Republicans would only support raising the debt limit if it came with cuts that would exceed the increase in borrowing power. In his own words, “Cuts should be greater than the accompanying increase in debt authority the president is given. We should be talking about cuts of trillions, not just billions. They should be actual cuts and program reforms, not broad deficit or debt targets that punt the tough questions to the future.”

Whose (De)Fault Is This?

If there's a default, there will be a lot of finger-pointing, but most of the blame should fall on Republican leadership in the House. TPM's Josh Marshall equated the negotiations between the House, Senate, and administration to a game of chicken, except one of the cars has no driver. No one knows if Republicans have the votes to pass Boehner's, Reid's, or anyone's plan.

Everyone assumes that this is because a large number of congressional Republicans cannot be trusted to raise the debt ceiling. They're even on the record saying things to that effect. But Boehner's inability to control his caucus is his fault.

The Future of Low-income Students

Yesterday, a number of groups, including Campus Progress and The Education Trust, came together for "Save Pell Day." The reason? Pell’s in trouble. The budget passed by the House earlier this year reduced the maximum grant by 45 percent, kicking about 1.5 million students out of the program. Representative Paul Ryan’s proposal for next year reduces the grant a comparable amount. And in the debt-reduction talks, Pell has repeatedly come up as an area prime for cuts.

Today at the Prospect

  • Jamelle Bouie analyzes Obama's speech last night and deems it ineffective.
  • Ben Adler explains how transportation spending, like pretty much everything else, is totally screwed.

A Modest Proposal to Solve the Debt-Ceiling Crisis

One of the key dynamics of American politics over the last couple of years is the way Republican animosity toward Barack Obama is manifest in policy. Namely, whatever the president is for, they are passionately against. This applies even to formerly Republican ideas, like a cap-and-trade plan for reducing carbon emissions and an individual health-insurance mandate. This is showing up again in the debt-ceiling debate. For instance, Harry Reid's latest plan essentially gives the GOP everything it has asked for: huge budget cuts and no tax increases, in exchange for raising the ceiling. But they reject it out of hand, because it's a Democratic plan that Obama has spoken of favorably. As maddening as it is, this actually points our way out of the crisis.

Marijuana Legalization and Big Cannabis

As support for legalization of marijuana slowly increases, Keith Humphreys warns advocates that legalization may not turn out the way they imagine. Instead, he says, it would create an industry much like any other:

Chart of the Day

The New York Times had this chart on display as part of a Sunday opinion column on the source of the federal budget deficit:

At $1.44 trillion to $5.07 trillion – a difference of $3.63 trillion – President Obama’s policies have been far less expensive than that of his predecessor, George W. Bush. By and large, our large deficits owe most of their existence to policies pursued by President Bush – his tax cuts on middle- and high-income earners, and his wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Harry Reid’s Debt Limit Offer is Doomed to Failure. Here’s Why.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s offer for raising the debt limit is straightforward, if somewhat painful for liberals. In exchange for raising the debt limit by $2.7 trillion, Reid promises to cut spending by $2.7 trillion over the next year, a substantial portion of which comes from defense cuts and ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. What’s more, in an attempt to satisfy Republicans, Reid’s plan makes no attempt to raise revenues, either through tax hikes or cuts to tax expenditures.

Today at the Prospect

  • Yannis Palaiologos asks whether the latest EU plan will save the Eurozone debt crisis.
  • David Dayen explains how the Gang of Six has made the debt-ceiling negotiations even more complicated.
  • David Callahan argues that Obama should be talking more about defense spending cuts.

Cornel West Is Not Helping Himself

The standard criticism of Cornel West is that while he started his career as an excellent philosopher, he gave that up in favor of just being a celebrity (West left Harvard in a dispute with then-president Larry Summers over whether he was pulling his scholarly weight, and while he still teaches at Princeton, he hasn't produced scholarship in many years). West would probably counter that being a public intellectual is a worthy endeavor -- bringing a learned perspective to contemporary debates -- and perhaps more worthwhile than writing dusty tomes on arcane philosophical issues that won't be read by anyone apart from other philosophy professors.

Keeping the Faith, If Not the Promise

When Barack Obama took office, I wrote a column speculating on whether he would dial back the rather sectarian approach the Bush administration took to dealing with government funding of religious organizations. I got mixed views from the representatives of secular organizations I spoke to; some were cautiously optimistic, but others thought little would change.

Doubling Down on Twitter?

Down below, my very smart colleague Paul Waldman entertains the idea of increasing Twitter's character limit, riffing off a recent piece on the same by Slate's Farhad Manjoo. Sidestepping the linguistic specifics of the tweet capacity question, I have to ask, if there was enough demand for that sort of thing, wouldn't that be called something like TwoEightyer, or Chatterer, or, more to the point, something other than "Twitter"?

Cenk Uygur's Bold Move

While who hosts which show on cable news is probably of only marginal import to you, something just happened at MSNBC that is actually interesting. Cenk Uygur, who had been hosting the network's 6 pm slot on a trial basis for the last few months, got shown the door, and Al Sharpton will be taking over. But Uygur did something really unusual in this situation. Instead of issuing a brief statement about how thankful he was to have the opportunity, he went on The Young Turks, his radio/web video show, and gave a long explanation of what happened:

Murdoch, Media Consolidation's Poster Child

Over at the New York Times, Brian Stelter reports that media reform groups in the U.S. are seeing opportunity in the News Corp hacking situation in the U.K.:

Progressive activists and public interest groups have long blasted Rupert Murdoch and his News Corporation for political biases. But in recent weeks they have seized on a new and more tangible reason to call for the revocation of his TV licenses and the breakup of his company: the British hacking scandal.