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Dingone

Watertown, NY

#21 Oct 17, 2012
The second debate was last night. While I think that Obama won it, it was, as most if not all commentators say, much closer than the first debate. But for me, the real key to the debate was that Romney insisted that the Obama economy was disappointing and that he can do much better. His insistence that he will create 12 million jobs, and his implication that they will not be McJobs, but will be, as President Reagan said, "Good jobs at high wages", leads us to what may be the central issue. It has always been there in this election cycle, but Romney has been so insistent on it that it is probably the key. And that central issue is the used car salesman dilemma. You have somebody who insists that the used car that he wants you to buy, and on which he will make money, is a wonderful car with no flaws. But all you have is his word for it. You are not allowed a test drive. And even if you were, if the salesman is unscrupulous, he can rig a test drive anyway. So, ultimately, you are faced with the question of whether or not that used car salesman is a con man. It reminds me of The Caine Mutiny, wheen Captain Queeg tells them that he is not so bad, that he has a wife and a child and a dog, and they seem to like him well enough. I think that, reasonable, the election is 45-45-10. There are 45% who will vote Democratic no matter what. There are 45% who will vote Republican no matter what. And there are 10% in the middle. Undecided is not really an accurate portrayal of them. It is more that they march to their own drummer. The candidates try to read their minds on what is important to them, but it is hard to do. I think that, for practical purposes, their resolution of the used car salesman dilemma is what will determine most of their votes. That is why the famous 47% remark hurt Romney so much and the last debate helped him so much. By the way, this also does not include whatever effect there might be from the Green Party and the Libertarian Party. Since, so far as I can tell, they are shut out of all analysis and all polls, we have no idea of their real level of influence. In this case, it would seem that they should each get well below 1% each. But you really don't know. And in the case of Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate, he is someone who could get more support. He is a former two-term Governor of New Mexico, and he did participate in one of the Republican Presidential debates. Also, the Libertarians are the natural beneficiaries of Ron Paul's campaign for the Republican Presidential nomination. But you hear nothing about Gary Johnson or Ron Paul at this point, so we may have no clue about how Johnson will do until the actual election. And, in baseball, the Tigers won behind Verlander yesterday to take a 3-0 lead. The one good spot for the Yankees was that Robinson Cano snapped his record streak of going something like 0 for 29 with a single in the 9th. That put Mark Teixeira in scoring position, but Raul Ibanez could not continue his heroics and struck out. But if the Yankees can take it one game at a time, they could come back. Tonight C.C. Sabathia goes, so they have a good chance. Then they would have one more game in Detroit, and if they could win that it would be back to Yankee Stadium. At that point it could set up a Game 7 of Verlander against, I'm sure, Sabathia on 3 days rest. That would be something!
Dingone

Watertown, NY

#22 Oct 24, 2012
The third debate has now come and gone. The results seem to be pretty clear. After the 47% comment, Romney was on the ropes. Then came the first debate, and he came roaring back. The next three debates more or less stopped things from keeping on going to a win for Romney and a loss for Obama and have now left the race pretty close to even. The key now seems to be Ohio. It is pretty clear that, barring some really unusual circumstances, Ohio will determine the new President. At the moment, Obama is up in the Real Clear Politics average by 1.7%. However, the most recent individual poll shows a tie. We'll see what happens. One thing for sure is that, if Romney wins, it will all go back to that first debate. Whether it will ever be possible to determine just what happened, I don't know. But it will be one of great electoral occurences. Outside of whatever surprises may come up, the only special thing coming up is the announcement of the October unemployment numbers right before election day. In baseball, the World Series starts tonight between Detroit and San Francisco. Detroit should have the advantage, but you never know. And finally, let me mention the interesting status of women as undecided voters. A key seems to be that, while they are concerned with women's issues, many who are still on the fence are on it because, though they are concerned with women's issues, they are concerned about the economy, basically believe Romney's Used Car Salesman presentation, and don't believe that he will actually do anything seriously negative regarding the women's issues. If he gets elected, we'll see what happens.
Dingone

Watertown, NY

#23 Nov 26, 2012
As we all know, President Obama won the election, and surprisingly easily. As far as predictions are concerned, the big thing is that Nate Silver and the collective wisdom of the polls was verified. I saw a quote from Dick Morris confirming what we know in general, but that I was surprised to see him admit, that his prediction of a Romney landslide was purely for the purpose of trying to create a self-fulfilling prophesy. After all the pressure of the election, we are now in the aftermath. The first thing is that, supposedly, Obamacare will now go forward. After the Supreme Court ruling, and the election result, supposedly nothing can stop it, but the Speaker swears that he will never stop trying. Anyway, we are now off to the fiscal cliff, as it is popularly called. There have been other things in the news, the Petraeus scandal, the Gaza unrest, but the fiscal cliff is definitely coming. So far, the Republicans seem to have conceded that they will put revenue "on the table," but they say they will do it through eliminating loopholes (or putting a cap on deductions) and not through marginal tax rate increases. The interesting thing is that the Bush tax cuts expire on December 31, so, theoretically, nothing needs to be done, but there was the deal that McConnell and Obama made two years ago that extended them. But this time, I think he is determined to let them expire for everyone rather than let the cuts for the 2% and the 98% be joined at the hip. Congress comes fully back into session, although it is a lame duck session, today, so there should start to be more news about it. When it comes to predicting a deal, it is hard to do. When the Republicans hold the whip hand, it is much easier, because they are absolutely ruthless and without mercy. But they don't hold it this time. They will have to be much more stubborn in insisting they will destroy everything to be able to exercise controlling influence in the negotiations, so I guess we will see just how determined the Democrats are.
Dingone

Watertown, NY

#24 Dec 5, 2012
The Democrats seem pretty determined. Of course, the way things have evolved, it really comes down to President Obama himself. It is clear that he is driving the Fiscal Cliff negotiations on the Democratic side and that anything he decides will be supported. There has been a little bit of offer and counter offer the past week. The result of this is that President Obama insists that the top marginal tax rate must go up in a final deal. It is acknowledged that the automatic rise with the new year doesn't really mean much, since some sort of negotiated settlement is mandatory. The key has been and continues to be that the President can wait almost indefinitely. And this is associated with the fact that he learned from the Debt Ceiling negotiation of last year that he has to be much tougher and, in a way, much more reckless. I have seen a number of Republicans lately saying that the President will never allow a full going over the cliff because the resulting recession would hurt his legacy. To me, that is more of the blind optimism that the right seems to have as part of their DNA makeup. It is like when someone who clearly has had too much too drink wants you to give him the car keys and insists that nothing will happen. That kind of blind optimism is really simple foolishness. It has now also been pointed out by many commentators that falling over the Fiscal Cliff in January will not cause any instant calamity. Given that the President is insisting that the top marginal tax rate must go up, that would seem to indicate no deal until after the New Year, since I can't see Republicans giving in on this in such a direct fashion. This will also allow the new people in Congress to be seated, which will make negotiations a little simpler, since you won't be dealing with a number of outgoing Congressmen and Senators. A little earlier, commentators were talking about a "down payment" followed by a fuller deal. I suspect that may well be where we are going. After all, after this first round, the next thing is the need to raise the debt ceiling and that is followed by the need to get the FY-13 budget in place, to replace the continuing resolution that was put in place which expires on March 31. It will be an interesting few months!
Dingone

Watertown, NY

#25 Dec 26, 2012
Yesterday was a nice Merry Christmas. Of course, Congress and the President have been celebrating Christmas for the last week as they all went home for the holidays last week. But before that, came the big meltdown. Speaker Boehner had been the sole negotiator for the Republicans. He decided to do the same thing he did in the Debt Ceiling negotiation in 2011. At that time, at a certain point he decided he had to get a dead on arrival Debt Ceiling bill through the house. At that time, the key part that the Tea Partiers insisted on was a provision in the bill that a Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment be passed before the Debt Ceiling could be raised the second time. Until the Speaker put that provision in, he couldn't whip up the 218 votes. Once that was done, face was saved and McConnell and Obama then quickly worked out the deal that resolved it, but not after a lot of nail biting and a little damage. We seem to have reached an analogous point, except that this time, the Speaker has failed completely. He wanted a bill that would allow the Bush tax cuts to expire for everyone except those making more than a million dollars a year. This, of course, would really impact only those making considerably more, since that would only be the marginal rate for income above the million dollar threshold. As with the 2011 debt ceiling bill, this bill was DOA in the Senate and with the President. But the Speaker insisted on trying to pursue it and on taking the time to pursue it. In each of these cases, he was guaranteed to get no Democratic votes, so he had to get 218 Republican votes. He couldn't get them for the million dollar tax bill. And this time, there was no fallback position. So he gave up and sent everybody home for the holidays. So now we are in a kind of limbo. For anything to go forward, something has to pass the House. But it is unlikely that the Speaker and the Republicans in general would allow anything to go forward, much less to pass, with, say, 190 Democratic votes and 50 Republican votes. They talk of the Hastert Rule, where you have to get a majority of the majority, or about 120 votes, for anything to be allowed to go forward that would rely on Democratic votes to get the bill passed. Senator McConnell has been instrumental in putting together the last two deals, the one that finally put aside the debt ceiling issue in 2011, and the deal that allowed the Bush tax cuts to stay in force for two more years in 2010. There are those who suggest that he may not be inclined to do that now, but I guess we'll see. It really looks like the Speaker just isn't up to dealing with this sort of negotiation combined with having to deal with his caucus. Under these circumstances, I expect nothing to happen until the first full week in January at the earliest. The new Congress is seated, I believe, on January 3. Inauguration Day isn't until January 20, of course, but it doesn't matter since President Obama was re-elected. Right now, everyone is talking about some sort of small, temporary deal. It seems like that will have to be it. There is simply no way to do a Grand Bargain under these circumstances. There are too many moving parts. The Speaker put himself in a position where he could be sunk by about 40 of his most rabid members of his caucus. Ultimately, they will have to be thrown under the bus to get a deal. But this will go against the Speakers preferred way of managing things, so I guess we will see if he can adapt. And, finally, partially because of Christmas and partially because the Principals, I guess, don't feel like talking, and partially because the media find the issue boring to report, there has been something of a news blackout for the past four or five days. It will come back to life in the next day or two. I, for one, will be very curious to see where it starts going.
Dingone

Watertown, NY

#26 Dec 31, 2012
Well, this is it. Tomorrow the nation goes off the fiscal cliff if nothing is done today. The first question that had to be taken care of was who was doing the negotiating for each side. First it was Boehner and Obama. But Boehner blew that up. So then nothing happened over Christmas. The President finally called a meeting last Friday with himself, Boehner, Pelosi, Reid, and McConnell. That meeting agreed that on Saturday Reid and McConnell would start negotiating. But McConnell couldn't complete the negotiation with Reid and so they brought in the Vice President. The key seems to be that, unlike Boehner, McConnell won't quit on the talks. It is interesting that he seems to be concerned about going over the cliff. Many Republicans are not. The Democrats really are, but they realized in the government shutdown and debt ceiling negotiations that that gave the Republicans anything they wanted, to a decent extent. So they are trying to negotiate today, but the clock is ticking. Of course, they could always vote to give themselves another month or whatever, but they don't seem inclined to do that. We will see what they come up with. Normally, on New Year's Eve, the only concern is out with the old and in with the new from a personal perspective, but this has certainly brought an added level of excitement this time.
Dingone

Watertown, NY

#27 Jan 5, 2013
Happy New Year! We now know how the Fiscal Cliff fight ended. The tax issue was resolved, permanently, but the sequester was pushed down the road two months. This has led to the new fight, which is also coming up in about two months, the Debt Ceiling. We actually have three crises now, all of which will fall at more or less the same time, the Sequester, The Debt Ceiling, and the Continuing Resolution. I capitalize these because of the huge impact that these will exert over the next few months and beyond. The first issue that is out there is that President Obama has said that he will not negotiate over the debt ceiling and the Republicans, in particular Mitch McConnell and John Boehner have said yes, he will. So clearly, this is the first issue that has to be dealt with in some way. So far, we don't know how this will work out. By the way, the new Congress is now seated and John Boehner was re-elected Speaker of the House. He got, however, only 220 votes. There were over a dozen defections among the Republicans. For what it is worth, Nancy Pelosi only got 192 votes. There were also some Democratic defections. Boehner has also said that he will no longer negotiate directly with the White House. He says that the House will simply pass bills and that will be their statement of what they want. There is actually some argument to that. The problem is that it gets fairly complicated. Theoretically, the House could pass it's bill and the Senate could pass their bill (or actually the House bill with amendments) and go to a conference committee. But the complication is that because of the existence of the filibuster in the Senate, the Democrats can't just pass any bill that they want. It has to represent a compromise with the Senate Republicans. But then you end up with the same situation as the resolution of the Fiscal Cliff. The Senate Democrats and Republicans reached a compromise where they ended up with 89 votes to pass it, and then the House Republicans didn't like it. So with the deadline coming up, they were "forced" to violate the Hastert Rule to pass it. The way to do this would be to get things in order quickly. The House should pass it's initial bill fast, then the Senate could go into internal negotiations between McConnell and Reid, and then it could go into the Conference Committee. But there has to be the logic and the will to do this, and do it fairly quickly. In the meantime, the issue of President Obama saying he won't negotiate on the Debt Ceiling and Boehner and McConnell saying yes, he will, needs to be resolved in some way. I suspect that it will not be for a while. If there is no resolution, the next big thing will be the President's second inauguration, where his speech will have to talk about it in some way. From President Obama's viewpoint, he has to get this off the table. He will conceivably need the Debt Ceiling raised to around 20 trillion dollars over his second term, and he does not want this kind of confrontation every time he needs it. So he wants to resolve it for good now. From the Republican point of view, I'm sure they view it as a kind of line in the sand. There is nothing big really on the table in principle. It's just that the extortion at the heart of it doesn't matter to them and so they don't want to give it up. We certainly live in interesting political times!
Dingone

Watertown, NY

#28 Feb 10, 2013
The debt ceiling fight got resolved for now by the Republicans deciding to push it out a few months to put it behind the sequester and the need to continue the government after March. So now, the big thing is the Sequester, which is due to start on March 1. In the meantime, the President gave his second Inaugural Address and will, on Tuesday, give the State of the Union address. The game of chicken goes on, but the most interesting conflict right now was illustrated by Bill Kristol. The Republicans have said they would just let the Sequester happen and will just eat the cuts to Defense. There are those, like Kristol, who aren't so relaxed about that prospect. So what do they do? We will see. But there is definitely some tension out there. I think that, slowly, progress is being made. On the one hand, most Republicans don't seem to want to do something that could cause them to be viewed so negatively that they lose the House in 2014. On the other hand, you have the conflict between the Defense Hawks and the Libertarians. And on the last hand are others, even some Defense Hawks, who hate the idea of giving up over a trillion dollars of cuts that are in law, and for which they have to do nothing. I suspect we will get some hint on how all this will play out when the President gives the State of the Union address on Tuesday, and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida gives the Republican response.
Dingone

Watertown, NY

#29 May 22, 2013
As we know now, there has been barely a peep from the defense hawks. The sequester went forward and nobody cares. The next issue will likely be whether or not the Republicans shut the government down at the end of September. That would seem unlikely. Then comes the debt ceiling again, perhaps in November, although they talk about trying to do whatever they will do in August. I suspect they understand that they simply can't get away with what they did in 2011, because the President will allow the default. But they, certainly the Tea Party people, are loathe to just give a clean increase in the debt ceiling. But all of this is far away. What is taking up the oxygen right now is primarily the scandals, with a little attention to things like the terrible tornado in Oklahoma and the civil war in Syria. Looking out a little further, it looks unlikely that the Democrats can take the House in 2014, which means that we are more or less in the mode of government that we are in for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, life goes on!
Dingone

Watertown, NY

#30 Nov 22, 2013
Curious. Well, today is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy. That was just terrible. It is hard to believe such a thing happened. Looking at what I was talking about six months ago, things seem to be going in the direction stated. This was not particularly hard to predict. Now, after the Obamacare problems and the nuclear option, things look bad, but Senator McConnell swears that there will be no further shutdown. We'll see what happens.
Dingone

Watertown, NY

#31 Dec 10, 2013
It was announced today that Patty Murray and Paul Ryan reached a deal. After the Government shutdown in October, the agreement to end it included a provision for a Budget Conference Committee. Murray and Ryan, as chairs respectively of the Senate and House Budget Committees, had the best environment in quite a while to reach some sort of agreement. Their basic deal calls for the discretionary budgets for FY14 and FY15 to be about 50 billion dollars higher than they were set under the Budget Control Act. There is always a possibility that the House, especially, could reject it, but with Ryan as one of the principals behind it, that would seem unlikely. So let's assume that this is going to stick and that the follow up activities, including the passage of the respective appropriations bills and the debt ceiling increase pass. Now where are we? Well, first of all, that would remove the Republicans from being able to mess themselves up with another shutdown. In fact, it is interesting that since the Government shutdown, nothing has been heard from Ted Cruz. That would certainly bring us up to the midterm elections, and they would certainly look to favor the Republicans. But in the meantime, the world and the country will move forward. It has been a wild few years!
Dingone

Rome, NY

#32 Apr 27, 2014
As it turned out, the deal between Murray and Ryan was the end of the fever. The key was that the government shutdown was so bad for the Republicans that they just couldn't do it again. And then they simply raised the debt ceiling with no conditions. This will all take us until after the November election. The Republicans are rated at least at even money to take the Senate. This was a big part of the reason for the deal between Murray and Ryan. They didn't want to provide an excuse for lots of people to vote against them because they were too obstructionist. Of course, the thing is that so long as President Obama can hold firm, nothing in this regard will be changed if the Senate goes Republican, since he will still be able to veto anything. So with the realization that things are not going to change that much, the focus is now more seriously moving to 2016. On the side, though, I wonder if there will be any serious impact on policy of Thomas Piketty's book. It seems impossible, but so many indicators are getting so bad that you would think that it would be getting harder and harder for the right to ignore the effects of income and wealth inequality. But we are not likely to see any real effect or serious policy discussion any time soon since nothing is going on and nothing needs to go on right now. Of course, that still leaves what is going on internationally, especially in Ukraine. If we look at the sequence of events there, we had the protests that ended up with Yanukovich being ousted. That was taking place at about the same time as the Olympics in Sochi. Then came the takeover of Crimea by Putin. It has been about a month and a half since then. The scene seems to be getting set for the same thing to happen in Eastern Ukraine, but so far while there has been a lot of protest activity and saber rattling, the direct takeover hasn't taken place. If and when it does, we will see what happens. Hopefully, cooler heads will prevail.
Dingone

Rome, NY

#33 Nov 6, 2014
On Tuesday, the Republicans absolutely wiped out the Democrats. Outside of taking so many Senate seats, including virtually every marginally competitive one, even though many were in red states, there was an increase in House seats to levels not seen since just before the Great Depression. But in particular there was the election of Republican Governors in Massachusetts, Illinois, and Maryland. Part of this was a reflection of low turnout. But now, when you look back to 1994, it appears that there is a lock on midterm elections for the Republicans except for 2006. And that was, I guess, pretty much because of the war. I remember that I was quite surprised when the Democrats did win that year, because I just assumed that we were at the point that we seem to be at now. Presidential years are, for the moment, different. We certainly saw that with 1996 after 1994 and also with 2012 after 2010. We'll see whether we see it with 2016 after 2014. But there are two big questions that I think of with regard to all of this, independent of any policy implications. The first is why is the electorate the way it is? The easier question, I suppose, has to do with the hugely different turnout for Presidential and Midterm elections. The second, and more difficult, has to do with why those voters who are left in the smaller turnout of Midterm elections tend so far to the Republican side. As far as policy implications, clearly, in the short to medium run, there is going to have to be a return to policies that the Republicans favor. The one possible exception is Obamacare. It has expanded the number covered. It has cut greatly into the problem of pre-existing conditions. I hope it survives in some form. But the Republicans have gone so far out toward repealing it, that I suppose they will have no choice if they get a Republican President. We will see. But back to the other questions. There are well known explanations for the large turnout differential. And the fact that it has held steady as long as I remember suggests that it will not change soon. The bigger question is that of why the remaining Midterm electorate is so Republican. Also clearly, it is a result of unequal depletion that also seems to basically be difficult to deal with and will probably remain the case into the foreseeable future. The key to this question is that turnout was no higher in 2006 than in 1994 or 2010. It is not reasonable to think that the composition of the depleted electorate really changed much in 2006. So it would seem that, for some reason, many of the voters who voted Republican in 2010, changed and voted Democratic in 2006. This kind of suggests that Republicans didn't have to nationalize the election in 2014, that it is automatically nationalized. If we look back at 2006, the economy was all right, but the key issue had to be the war, which was directly blamed on President Bush. What really threw everyone off was that President Bush had gotten re-elected by a little over 50% of the vote in 2004. So it seems to indicate that the key to Midterm elections is the question of what is perceived of as wrong, and then the Search for the Guilty. If the President is a Democrat, the Search for the Guilty will point in that direction. If the President is a Republican, the Search for the Guilty will point in that direction. So, looking at 2018, the first question will be which party has the Presidency in 2016. But as this analysis shows, Presidential elections could almost be taking place in a different country, so there will be plenty of time to go over the dynamics of that. But I am amazed at the magnitude of the Republican victory on Tuesday.
Dingone

Rome, NY

#34 Nov 9, 2014
I've been thinking about some of the implications of this Presidential year, Midterm year divide in the electorate. One of the implications is an advantage for the Republicans in Governor races. Since most of the Governor races are in Midterm years, they benefit from that advantage. Another thing that probably would have been a consideration if they thought of it would be when a Senator decides to retire. Three Democratic Senators decided to retire in states that ended up being virtual gifts to the Republicans. If they had retired in 2008, whoever ran would have had a much better chance. So is there any way that political science might indicate to deal with this? The Republicans need to deal with the increased and unfavorable turnout in Presidential election years. One thing for them would to not to start to think too much of themselves when things work out well for them during these Midterm elections. Some are beginning to realize this. But I don't know if there is a realistic way for Republicans to react. Republican positions are so clear now that I don't know if there is anything that can be done. Maybe the best that can be hoped for until there is some sort of change in the Presidential year electorate is to try to do what President Bush did. He just scraped by in 2000 and then the most likely reason for him winning in 2004 was a combination of incumbency in general and perhaps a little residual from 9/11. But, obviously, until the Republicans win another Presidential election, they can't take advantage of incumbency. For the Democrats, the analogous question is how do they bring about more aberrations like 2006? Part of that was clearly a reaction to President Bush. So, looking at the last four Midterm elections when a Democrat was in the White House, we had three wipe outs and then 1998. 1998 was probably the result of a combination of a good economy and some disgust with the Republicans because of the partisan impeachment. Interestingly, what would be an analogous overreach was nipped in the bud when Senator McConnell forced a stop to the Government Shutdown. Being the party of no does the Republicans no harm, but something like impeachment or a Government Shutdown clearly hurts, especially if it is not just threatened but actually comes about. So if, going into 2018, we have a Democratic President and a Democratic Senate, it would probably be worth it for the Senate to let any bill the Republican House comes up with go to a vote in the Senate instead of not being brought up for a vote at all. This might make it more possible to show clear areas of overreach. Certainly, Obamacare was a problem for the Democrats. Assuming that the Democrats can't take the Senate back with 60 Senators and win back the House, there will be no more big initiatives like Obamacare, so it would be interesting to see what the Republicans would do. What is most interesting about all of this is how much under the radar it is. When I read the current columns that at all reflect on the subject, they tend to only slightly acknowledge these long term trends. I think there is a natural wish by those with reasonable power not to believe that their power is so limited. I hope there will be some analysis that is done reflecting these issues, because I really think this is where the truth lies.
Dingone

Rome, NY

#35 Dec 12, 2014
It was time to deal with the need to fund the government for FY15 this week. It appears at this point that it is mission accomplished, although there are still details to be taken care of, but nothing that should cause any problems. The key events came a year ago, when the Republicans shut down the government for about 2 weeks. As they did so, their poll numbers starting dropping like a stone. It became apparent to the regular leadership, especially Mitch McConnell, that this had to stop, and so he exercised his authority and made sure it did stop. It is ironic that now, some of the commentators who are further out on the right are saying that the shutdown didn't really hurt them, when you consider how successful the Republicans were in the midterms. While you can never really know, it would seem to me that McConnell simply stopped it before it could do permanent damage. But, in any event, that set the tone for what has gone on this week. The next thing was that Patty Murray and Paul Ryan agreed to a basic blueprint for the FY14 and FY15 budgets. That took place about a year ago and led to passage of the full year FY14 budget and relegated the entire budget issue to the back burner. So, here we are in FY15 and the basic framework is in place. But a lot of people, particularly in the House, on both the left and the right, didn't like some aspects of the way the deal was coming down. But it appears that with about 150 Republican votes and 70 Democratic votes, the 1.1 Trillion dollar budget got through the House. It now needs to get through the Senate, but that seems pretty certain once some of the procedural obstacles that can be put up by individual Senators are taken care of. FY16 will be another story. But it is clear that there is a lot of motive to avoid a shutdown at almost any cost. The big thing for the Republicans is, of course, that they would like to win the Presidency in 2016, and they will not have such a favorable electorate with the larger turnout. As a result, they don't want to do things like a shutdown that starts to get a lot of middle of the road voters upset at them. So we will see how things start progressing when the Republicans take over the Senate next year.

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