We're back! And with good news on today's BradCast...whether the media have been reporting it that way over the past week, as we've been on a break, or not. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]
FIRST UP, some notable quick news headlines today --- and some from last week --- which we'll undoubtedly jump deeper into in the days and weeks ahead. Including...
- Cartoonishly corrupt Republican Attorney General of Texas, Ken Paxton, is impeached by the hard-right Texas legislature.
- Cartoonishly corrupt Republican activist and pretend journalist James O'Keefe is sued by Project Veritas --- his own ironically named nonprofit --- for waste, fraud and abuse.
- A bunch of new Republicans entered the fray for the 2024 Presidential nod (the unhung Mike Pence, the disgraced Chris Christie and some guy named Doug Burgum).
- One Republican, popular New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, smartly announces he's not running.
- And progressive activist and academic Cornel West announces he's running for President under a third-party banner.
THEN, its on to the one story that made me wish I wasn't on vacation last week (well, a little, anyway.) And that's the story of President Biden outfoxing the GOP to take three Republican-engineered fiscal cliffs off the table over the next two years, all for the price of less than one, in his ingenious debt ceiling deal with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy...who got hosed in the bargain.
As you may know, we were all in favor of Biden avoiding negotiations entirely, invoking the 14th Amendment to declare the dumb Debt Ceiling law unconstitutional, and ordering the Treasury Department to simply pay our bills without disruption to avoid a first-ever U.S. default. If anyone had a prob with that, they could sue him --- or try to --- in order to force the global economy meltdown that would have come with such a default.
But Biden, and his lead negotiator, Steve Richetti, came up with a much better idea. In the bargain, they took not one, not two, but three GOP fiscal cliffs off the table for the price of less than one budget negotiation this fall. And it all would have been much more difficult if Biden had taken the leverage of invoking the 14th off the table.
In short (much more detail on today's show), the President outfoxed Republicans. Bigly. And where they had demanded some 18% in cuts to government spending, they got a measly 0.2% over the next ten years. In the bargain, the Debt Ceiling is suspended until 2025 and spending will largely stay flat over the next two years on a few non-defense matters.
Make no mistake. There are some cuts in the deal that suck. But nothing more than Biden would have been forced to give away anyway in order to avoid a protracted Government shutdown with obstructionist Republicans when a new budget would be needed at the beginning of the next fiscal year this October.
As British columnist Will Hutton correctly opined on Sunday, while "It is easy to write off President Joe Biden as a senile, 80-year-old duffer," the deal was "massively weighted in his favour" and represented an "extraordinary victory".
It's a shame that so many in the U.S. media --- on the Right, Left and Other --- seem incapable of reporting it that way, in order to properly educate the American electorate about what actually just happened.
We try to balance the scales a bit on that score on today's program before opening the phones to callers in the second half of the show to hear why they believe we might be wrong about all of this. (SPOILER ALERT: We're not!)
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)