Thursday, April 25, 2013

What Has The Republican Party Done To The American Economy


Is this just too simplistic? The Republican Party nihilists crashed the economy with their ideologically and greed-driven Austerity Agenda under Bush and then obstructed every effort President Obama and the Democrats have made to fix it. I mean, there are nuances-- like Obama's own inherent conservatism and misplaced belief in Austerity and compromise-- but, in effect, that sentence describes what's happened to the American economy since 2000. Yesterday the NY Times editorial board took a shot at focusing in on one catch-all aspect-- sequestration-- and explaining why it's a disaster and assigning blame for that disaster.
On Monday, after the sequester cuts forced the Federal Aviation Administration to begin furloughs for air traffic controllers, delays began to build up at airports around the country. Travelers had to wait, but nothing delayed Republicans from scurrying away from all responsibility. Speaker John Boehner started using the Twitter hashtag #ObamaFlightDelays, the latest effort in his party’s campaign to blame all the pain of the sequester on the Obama administration while claiming all the credit for its effect on reducing the deficit.

“Why is President Obama unnecessarily delaying your flight?” Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, wrote in a message on Twitter. If the president wanted to, Republicans said, he could easily cut somewhere else and spare travelers any inconvenience.

As it happens, the sequester law is clear in requiring the F.A.A. and most other agencies to cut their programs by an even amount. That law was foisted on the public after Republicans demanded spending cuts in exchange for raising the debt ceiling in 2011. Since then, the party has rejected every offer to replace the sequester with a more sensible mix of cuts and revenue increases. Mr. Boehner is so proud of that strategy that he recently congratulated his party for sticking with the sequester and standing up to the president’s demands for tax increases.

But drastic cuts in spending carry a heavy price. Republicans certainly don’t want voters they care about-- including business travelers and those who can afford to fly on vacation-- to feel it. They continue to claim that the $85 billion in this year’s sequester can be covered by eliminating waste, fraud, consultants, and the inevitable grant to some obscure science or art project. And, of course, to programs for the poor.

You don’t see any Republican hashtags blaming the president for cutting housing vouchers to 140,000 low-income families, which has begun. These vouchers are given by cities to families on the brink of homelessness, and about half of them go to families with children.

There aren’t any angry tweets about the 70,000 Head Start slots about to be eliminated, which is forcing some school districts to distribute these valuable services by lottery. Or about the cuts to Vista, which is hurting the program that performs antipoverty work in many states. Or the 11 percent cut in unemployment benefits for millions of jobless workers.

The voiceless people who are the most affected by these cuts can’t afford high-priced lobbyists to get them an exception to the sequester, the way that the agriculture lobby was able to fend off a furlough to meat inspectors, which might have disrupted beef and poultry operations. And what was cut in order to keep those inspectors on the job? About $25 million from a program to provide free school breakfasts.

As bad as the sequester was, it is being made worse by these special-interest demands for exceptions, as well as politically motivated attempts to deflect the responsibility for pain.

The maneuvering shows the futility of trying to reduce the deficit with crude and arbitrary cuts. Both Senate Democrats and the White House have proposed budget plans that replace the sequester with a much better mix of spending cuts and revenue increases.

On Tuesday, the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, proposed replacing the sequester for five months with unspent money from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those savings may not represent real money, but the idea is no more illusory than the Republican fantasy that billions can be cut with no real effect to the country.
The GOP panicked when they saw the economy starting to turn around and the deficit shrinking. That's why we have sequestration and budget gridlock now. That simple. Remember this: when the House voted on Sequestration, it was one of the only times Speaker Boehner came down off his perch to actually cast a vote. And he voted for it-- as did a conservative coalition of 174 Republicans and 95 spooked Democrats. And who voted against the sequester? Among the 161 congressmembers to vote NO on the evening of August 1, 2011, were the Members we have learned to trust, like Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Xavier Becerra (D-CA), Bruce Braley (D-IA), Judy Chu (D-CA), Donna Edwards (D-MD), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Mike Honda (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), John Lewis (D-GA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), John Tierney (D-MA), Maxine Waters (D-CA), Henry Waxman (D-CA)...

These are leaders worth supporting. They showed good judgment and resisted the pressure from the Establishment to go along.

On the other hand, an equal number-- exactly equal; 95 Democrats voted with Boehner and 95 Democrats voted against the Sequester-- of Democrats followed yesterday's party leaders into the disaster, including many who are clamoring to move up the ranks and become the next generation of Democratic leaders. Here are the worst Democratic shills who conspired against America with Boehner and Cantor to pass Sequestration:
Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the tragic "good soldier"
Steny Hoyer (D-MD), who thinks he can be the next K Street Speaker
Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), who wants to be the first Jewish Speaker
Stephen Lynch (D-MA), running for the Senate now
Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI), running for the Senate now
John Barrow (Blue Dog-GA), plotting to run for the Senate
Steve Israel (D-NY)- chairman of the DCCC, keeping the GOP in power
Ron Kind (New Dem-WI), chairman of the corporately-owned New Dems
Mike Ross (Blue Dog-AR), running for governor now
Allyson Schwartz (New Dem-PA), running for governor now
Let's remember.



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