Sunday, March 3, 2013

A Win For The GOP

On Friday the president signed the sequester cuts into law.  The bill will cut $85 billion from social programs and defense. 
The president called the cuts “dumb.”This from the guy who came up with the idea in the first place.
The president thought that by putting together a deadline of automatic, drastic cuts he would force congress to come together to create bi-partisan grand bargain.  Unfortunately he underestimated the Republicans’ hatred for him as a black man. (Don’t look so shocked.  You know part of this intransigence is race based as well as we do.) And he underestimated their willingness to go to any means necessary, even crashing the economy, if it meant depriving him of a “win.”After four years in the White House the president should know better.  There isn’t anything that the Republicans won’t do or say to derail his agenda.  In the end he gave them exactly what they wanted…smaller government and less spending.  Brilliant!
If you think about what Democrats and Republicans have been saying for the past four years the fact that they would even consider approving the sequester is beyond ignorant.
Democrats and Republicans agree that the economy is growing yet weak and unstable.  They both agree that in the short term we need to stimulate the economy and create jobs.  Democrats want accomplish this by instituting government run programs such as infrastructure modernization, and investing in clean energy and education.  Republicans want to accomplish this by lowering taxes and broadening the tax base. 
Democrats and Republicans agree that for the long term debt we will eventually need to take a hard look at the drivers of that debt:  Medicaid, Medicare and to a lesser extent Social Security.
The sequester legislation does none of these things; in fact quite the opposite. 
As far as short term stimulus is concerned; the sequester cuts billions in government programs which reduces funds going into the pockets of poor and the working poor.  The sequester also eliminates hundreds of thousands of government jobs which cuts middle class income.  The bottom line is not a stimulus but in fact a job killer; meaning less money in peoples’ pockets and therefore less money flowing into the economy.
As far as the long term debt…the sequester does nothing.  It doesn’t address entitlements.  The spending cuts are all discretionary in nature.  Discretionary spending represents less than 12% of the federal budget.  You can cut discretionary spending to zero and you are not going to affect the country’s long term debt issues.
In summary, Democrats and Republicans have created a bi-partisan piece of legislation that does the exact opposite of what they both agree needs to be done.
If you are keeping score…the Republicans get the win.  Anytime you reduce the size of government it is a win for the GOP.  But after a few weeks, when those cuts start affecting people’s lives and they start pointing fingers, we may have to review the replay tape to see who really won.
Next up…March 27th…when congress must approve a continuing resolution that allows our totally dysfunctional government to continue functioning.    


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