Not sure I’d call it winning. But you can certainly know that Americans are tired of big government.
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See, one of the great things for Obama and the Democrats about the stimulus was that it was gonna raise the baseline by whatever that amount was — $800 billion — forever. Once you spend it, the baseline goes up forever. But the sequester took it back prior to, and as long as there are continuing resolutions, you cannot raise it. This is the double-edged sword that the Democrats are faced with. Because they won’t do a budget, ’cause they’re simply relying on continuing resolutions, it’s kind of convoluted.

But they can’t do anything about the sequester taking the baseline back to 2008 on discretionary spending. All continuing resolutions do is approve the current services budget for the next year. The current services baseline is not part of the continuing resolution, I don’t think. Pretty sure. Continuing resolutions do not mean the same money will be spent next year as this year, but that the same level of services will be maintained, which is worse.

That means entitlements, pay increases, inflation adjustments, government programs still get their built-in increases based on population growth but not on the baseline budget, and that’s why this raising of the debt limit had to have a specific rider raising government worker salaries next January. In a budget, that would be automatic, it would be part of the baseline.

When you go to continuing resolution, the automatic doesn’t happen. Everything has to be negotiated and kicked in, but not for a full year. So the continuing resolution locked in the 2012 budget, which included the sequester cut, which took the discretionary spending back to 2008 levels. I know it’s kind of hard to follow all these numbers on the radio. But that’s why the Democrats and the media are now hell-bent on getting rid of the sequester. ‘Cause they’re stuck.

Now, the continuing resolutions are a detriment in that sense, but on the other hand they have their positive aspects. That is, they get to redo the budget every number of months, and they don’t have to spell out what their agenda items are, budget-wise. Plus, they get to constantly have a crisis every three or four months, debt limit crisis, government shutdown crisis, and on balance they think they’re winning on this. But they’re frustrated that they don’t have it all, and the sequester has screwed up lot of things.

Now, Ron Fournier, used to be the head honcho at AP. He now writes for the National Journal, and he says (paraphrased), “Oh, yeah, yeah, no question Obama won. Big whoop! He won. He always does. Big deal. Can Obama lead now?” And Fournier is afraid that Obama isn’t serious about victory. Fournier is concerned that Obama likes the win for the sake of it, as a notch in the belt, but after that, let’s go play golf.

He really wants Obama to use this victory to do the rest of his agenda, which is what Beinart wrote that is stuck. Beinart wrote that Obama’s agenda is stuck because the Republicans, on policy, have had some success here. But Fournier writes, “There is already a lack of seriousness in the air. On Tuesday, the president declared immigration reform to be his top priority after the fiscal crisis. It’s a curious choice, given the magnitude of the debt and the durability of the size-of-government debate.

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