Count Down To Sequester-- Is Obama Getting It Wrong?
Tomorrow, as the Sequester kicks in, President Obama has the Republican leaders coming over to the White House for a talk. You know, regardless of who thought up the Sequester, Obama signed it and Boehner pushed it through Congress, got his entire team to vote for it and bragged that he got 98% of what he wanted in the deal. These are the folks who got it wrong.
When this ill-conceived legislation passed on August 1, 2011, 174 Republicans and 95 Democrats voted for it and it passed 269-161. An equal number of Democrats opposed the bill-- 95 of them, including virtually every progressive in Congress. Hack DC-Democrats like Stephen Lynch (MA), Joe Donnelly (IN), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL), John Barrow (GA), Bill Owens (NY), Loretta Sanchez (CA), Terri Sewell (AL), Ron Kind (WI), Steve Israel (NY) and Steny Hoyer (MD) may have thought this was a good idea, but the people in Congress we trust did NOT.
Among the NO votes were Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Xavier Becerra (D-CA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Donna Edwards (D-MD), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Walter Jones (R-NC), Barbara Lee (D-CA), John Lewis (D-GA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Ron Paul (R-TX), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), John Tierney (D-MA) and Maxine Waters (D-CA). How come they knew what a disaster this would turn into... and why didn't the others? Grijalva wrote about it in an OpEd yesterday in the Arizona Daily Star. "This obsession," he wrote, "with cutting everything in sight has already taken a major toll on our economy, and the sequester will make things worse. You have to wonder what the point is of this self-inflicted economic pain. I'm proud I voted against it, and I'm proud to have offered a workable alternative. I wish my conservative colleagues could say the same."
Instead of figuring out how to proceed by meeting with the people who got this all wrong-- after all, he surrounds himself with them 24/7-- shouldn't Obama sit down and figure it out with the people who got it right? In fact, when all the proposals to fix the problem are put before people, the one that gets the most support, is the one that was carefully worked out by the Progressive Caucus. It's the one that makes the most sense. Even Republicans prefer it! Business Insider, polled the question and I'm sure didn't expect the results they got.
Most Republicans don't actually support the House Republican plan to avert the spending cuts known as the sequester, according to a new poll conducted for Business Insider by our partner SurveyMonkey.
The poll asked participants to consider the core points of three sequester replacement proposals in Congress, without telling them the partisan affiliation of those plans. It found that in some cases, both Democrats and Republicans actually opposed their own party's plans and/or backed their adversaries' proposal.
Here are the three plans we tested:
• The Senate Democratic plan cancels the $85.3 billion in 2013 sequester cuts and replaces them with a mix of spending cuts and tax hikes. The plan saves $27.5 billion by cutting farm subsidies and raises $55 billion by cutting tax deductions for oil companies and by implementing the Buffett Rule, which sets a minimum tax rate for incomes over $1 million.
• The 2012 House Republican plan would cancel the $55 billion in sequester defense cuts for 2013 and replace them by shrinking funding to food stamp programs, cutting $11.4 billion from the public health fund in the Affordable Care Act, and cutting the Social Services Block Grant program, among others.
• The House Progressive Caucus plan replaces the entire sequester with a new plan with equivalent savings. It accomplishes this by ending subsidies to fossil fuel companies, closing several tax loopholes, cutting the corporate meal and entertainment tax deduction at 25 percent, and enacting a 28 percent limit on certain tax deductions and extensions.
Surveys have found that asking people about just titles of plans or telling people who proposed policy, changes the results, so the point of this poll was to see what people thought of the plans when they were fully explained, but also stripped of partisan labels.
SurveyMonkey's poll, which surveyed 550 people, focused on congressional proposals exclusively. Here are some interesting findings of the poll:
• Surprisingly, the plan that polled the strongest was the House Progressive Caucus plan. More than half of respondents supported it compared to sequestration and just a fifth of respondents were opposed.
• A plurality of people-- 28 percent-- believed the House Progressive Caucus Plan would have the least financial impact on them personally. This makes the most sense, as only 14 percent of respondents reported having income over $150,000.
• Shockingly, 47 percent of Republicans preferred the House Progressive plan to the sequester. This means that Republicans supported the House Progressive plan just as much as they supported their own party's plan.
• Support for the Senate Democrat plan was weak, with just fewer than half of respondents preferring that plan compared with the sequester.
• Opposition to the House Republican plan was strong, with 57 percent preferring the sequester to that plan.
• Twice as many Republicans supported sequestration as Democrats.
• One-fifth of Democrats prefer the sequester when compared to the Senate Democrats' sequestration replacement plan. About one-quarter of Republicans prefer the Senate Democrat plan to the implementation of the sequester.