Until the budget deal this week, the federal government borrowed 40 cents for every dollar it spent.
And the budget deal didn't do very much to change that. It "cut" $2 trillion over 10 years, which means Uncle Sam will overspend slightly less. If we hold to the deal -- and who among us doubts that Congress won't keep its word? -- spending will "only" increase by $1.8 trillion over 10 years. That's because in the topsy-turvy, laugh-clown-laugh world of so-called baseline budgeting, we've been talking about trimming the rate of increase. Think of Uncle Sam walking in a wind tunnel leading to insolvency. The cuts increased the headwind he has to walk into, but they don't do anything like force him to turn around.
More importantly, there are no structural reforms. It's the difference between trimming the grass and re-landscaping the lawn.
Maybe we just needed to pass the Boehner Plan to see what was in it.