The House last night and the Senate this afternoon approved a deficit reduction deal that brings to mind the best of Alfred Hitchcock: As the plotline unfolds, the sense of foreboding grows. Those who watch events play out are less puzzled by mystery than gripped with suspense (as Hitchcock said he preferred).
The president and Congress agreed to a plan that leaves $1.5 trillion worth of deficit reductions to a committee on a breathtaking deadline. Congress would be required to vote up or down once the committee drafts a plan, which must be finished the day before Thanksgiving. Lawmakers must enact at least $1.2 trillion in reductions by mid-January or automatic cuts will make up the difference. That would include Medicare cuts of up to 2%.