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Data points from the debt cap deal

Behind the rhetoric, some fascinating numbers coming out of Washington this week.

As part of the deal, the 2012 Congressional budget will be reduced by $22 billion. Of course, the 2012 baseline budget is $3,639 billion. Which makes the budget cuts 0.61% of the budget--perhaps less--and basically meaningless besides as a data point for stump speeches. (The article linked above suggests that the entire deal could be fiscally meaningless, although it's politically huge.)

Tea Party representatives took a hard-line stance against taxes, but among voters, 53 percent of Tea Party members supported a combination of tax increases and spending cuts for this deal. And a whopping 66% of voters encouraged the Tea Party representatives in Congress to work toward compromise last month.

Ultimately, the pragmatic center carried the day, with 95 Democrats and 174 Republicans voting in favor of the bill, and 95 Democrats and 66 Republicans voting against. Forging middle ground is almost quaint in 2011 Washington (even if it is heavily tilted toward the Republican ideal).

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dash of sarcasm

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