It really doesn't matter that much what would be in a debt ceiling/budget cutting bill that would meet the approval of Obama and Boehner. Not only is it already appearing dead in the water as right and left skewer it, but because it is bound to be thrown together in a panic, the unintended consequences that would flow from carelessness or thoughtlessness would be severe.
With just 12 days left until the Treasury Department runs out of money, major elements will have to be subject to legislation to be completed by Congress under a tightly written schedule. But the goal is to combine appropriations cuts, entitlement reforms and tax overhaul in a single endeavor to more than match the $2.4 trillion increase in the debt ceiling needed to get past the 2012 elections.
The size of the revenue target is still a sticking point, as is the mechanism to ensure that the needed legislative changes - for tax and entitlement reform-get done before this Congress ends.
Boehner and Obama are discussing some sort of trigger mechanism that would threaten each party with the loss of almost its first born child - policy wise.
Democrats have suggested that if Congress fails to act, taxes will go up on those earning over $250,000. Republicans have countered that if the added taxes take effect, the law would also rip out portions of Obama's prized healthcare reforms, such as eliminating the individual mandate.
That it is down to these kind of threats is not entirely surprising. Obama has always insisted that any "balanced" deficit-reduction plan must include new revenues, but this is also hardest part for Boehner to deliver because rank-and-file members are opposed to new taxes.
Does anyone seriously believe that major tax legislation can be examined and voted on in 12 days?
We should have had enough of "government by the seat of the pants." These imprudent measures have an unknown impact on the economy, the citizens, and individual businesses.
It may get done - but it won't get done right. And that's almost as disasterous as not doing anything at all.