When the White House gave budget negotiations a deadline, they killed the "the balanced approach"
The major newspapers are reporting that President Obama has taken control of the debt ceiling debate. It's a pretty illusion. But by agreeing to have this debate in the first place, he's already ceded majority control of the budget to the GOP.
Forced to find $2 trillion in 10-year savings before an August 2 deadline, but incapable of offering more than $400 billion in tax savings (and that's the opening proposal), the White House has all but ensured that the budget deal will result in deep cuts to domestic spending programs -- precisely what it doesn't want from these negotiations.
It didn't have to go like this. When Republicans said they wouldn't agree to raise the debt ceiling unless Democrats signed on to deep spending cuts, the White House could have called their bluff.
"Republicans apparently don't understand the meaning of the word negotiation," Jay Carney might have said to reporters this spring. "The White House wants to raise the debt limit. Democrats want to raise the debt limit. Rep. John Boehner wants to raise the debt limit. What's to negotiate? If the brat pack in the House wants to hold hostage the nation's ability to pay Social Security, health care, and defense contracts, only they will be responsible for when your grandmother stops receiving checks in September; and your brother can't get care from a hospital because his Medicare reimbursements are suspended; and your 401(k) craters after we default on debt."