Josh, why has this subscription gone dark? Paid version is for 4 entries a week but you've only posted 4 times in the last *month*.

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I mostly subscribed for the podcast, hoping for more LRC style content. It used to come out every week and now it has been 6 months with 3 or 4 episodes. I'm planning to cancel once my Serious Trouble subscription renews this month.

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In your comment that you are more impressed with Kevin McCarthy then you were before, I think it mostly highlights to me that in the words of a famous TV character from a show likely popular with readers of this substack, the Freedom Caucus (and specifically people like MTG and Matt Gaetz) are not serious people.

The Freedom Caucus and even just a few GOP House members could absolutely have tanked this deal if they wanted to. The fact that a few made noises in this direction but ultimately did nothing is very instructive. Namely, it further proves to me that the loudest (and most obnoxious) voices in the GOP caucus care much more about press coverage and ultimately could care less about policy*. In a way, this is possibly comforting in that it possibly means the GOP won't follow through with their most extreme policy agenda. I happen to think this is mistaken. A party not actually committed to an agenda is essentially a party committed to nihilism and I think directly leads to encouraging it's most devoted voters to think overthrowing an election for a madman is an actually patriotic thing to do. But it does seem to me that at least on banal Congressional agenda items, Biden and McCarthy should take their maximalist demands with a heaping grain of salt**.

*I think it's mistaken for people like Matt Yglesias says that the GOP has no policy agenda outside of tax cuts. I think it's more accurate to say the GOP has no congressional agenda outside of tax cuts, but a pretty substantive agenda they are hoping to achieve through the courts. I think the idea is that the courts ruling their way on all sorts of regulatory and labor issues will minimize the voter backlash to very unpopular policies. And I suspect they are right (I honestly think Dobbs (and subsequent decisions like that insane one from Mathew Kacsmaryk) is probably unique in how much the American public is aware what the courts are up to).

**One victory lap I'll take is that one reason I was pretty confident a deal would be made is pure financial self interest. Tell a bunch of dyed in the wool right wing House members the consequences to their stock portfolio of a debt default and watch a whole bunch of those House members back down. If reporting is to believed, it seems this is precisely what happened in at least a few cases. Having said that, the lack of personal financial self interest involved with other Freedom Caucus priorities may be a reason I should be more worried that they'll actually try to impose their agenda on McCarthy.

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Miss reading your posts, Josh! :-) Hope to hear more from you soon.

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Obama thought that by winning the argument he could force Republicans to give in. I also think Obama tended to deal in "what Republicans say they want" in a deal while Biden is more focused on "what Republicans want" in a deal, regardless of what they say they want.

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Biden is a better and more experienced retail politician. For all his once-in-a-generation powers as a national politician, he lacked the experience to maximize what could be ground out in negotiations.

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Just thinking out loud here: maybe it would be a bad idea to abolish the debt ceiling?

By that I mean: You're right. It's not a good way to conduct fiscal negotiations. But maybe something much, much worse would replace it. I don't know what that might be.

Or maybe I'm wrong and what would replace it would be the type of "normal" politics that you and I would prefer.

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This from the CBO.

The cost of Medicare

is expected to double within a

decade, rising to $1.9 trillion

in 2032--twice the level of

spending on defense. The CBO

projected in 2022 that the

debt will rise from 98% to 185%

of gross domestic product

over the next 30 years, far

surpassing the levels reached

during World War II.

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This really not that difficult.

Raise taxes.

Lower spending .... especially Social Security, Medicare and interest. Those are the big 3. Not the military, not medicaid, not welfare.

A true balanced budget approach.

Never going to happen.

Even the current deal is allowing borrowing for money already spent.

The next generation is going to have to deal with this fiscal mess.

Call it unproductive again, but this just kicks it down the road a bit further.

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