This weekend, the analysis on every pundit's lips was that John Boehner emerged from the budget deal with credibility and an enhanced standard. He walked out of a bank robbery with a purported $38.5 Billion in budget cuts this year, threw the duffel bags full of $100 bills in a truck, and sped off.
Today, it appears that Boehner's money bags were empty. Instead of the $38.5 billion that Boehner believed he had heisted from programs paying for nutritional assistance for pregnant women, foreign aid, mortgage modification programs, and health care for the middle class, only 1 out of every thousand dollars of purported cuts actually occur this year. John Boehner was caught making mean-spirited cuts in order to pay for a tax cut for millionaires and billionaires, then when he turned around to his base, his hands were empty. This has got to be one of the most immediate losses of credibility I have ever seen.
Because 99.9% of Boehner's 'cuts' take place in the future, there's a distinct chance that they will never happen. Next year's Congress, facing an electorate that is paying more attention, could be less willing to stick to the game plan to cut programs for the middle class. Conversely, if the budget is already enacted into law, Republicans won't be able to claim the same budget cuts twice. If they back away from the cuts, more radical challengers could actually attack sitting Republicans as raising spending in a primary.
The budget deal is expected to pass today.