The Budget Smokescreen – Room for Debate – NYTimes.com

David Gergen is a true Washington insider, so his thoughts are always interesting as a representation of “inside the beltway” thinking…

The budget showdown shaping up in Washington is dramatic but depressing. What we are mostly seeing so far is a jockeying for political power rather than a serious attempt to rescue the nation’s finances.

Here’s the sad part: in the end, the amount of money being fought over is only a tiny fraction of the nation’s budget deficit.

On the surface, of course, the immediate issue is that the federal government will begin shutting down services next Friday unless Congress and the White House can agree on a fresh spending resolution. Compromise talks are underway and there are whispers of a short-term agreement.

But don’t count on it because the real struggle is beneath the surface — who can win over the public and potentially gain the upper hand for the political fights still ahead. And right now neither side knows for sure how public opinion will break.

via The Budget Smokescreen – Room for Debate – NYTimes.com.

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