How the world’s biggest spenders attack the most conservative government spendthrift since Eisenhower
Speaking to House Democrats Friday, Bill Clinton reminded his audience how Republicans’ concerns about the deficit depend on who is in the White House.
Having eliminated the deficit he inherited from Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush and then being forced to watch the work he did be erased by George W. Bush in months, Clinton knows better than anyone how convenient the GOP’s deficit “concerns” can be.
After we’ve created jobs for 35 months in a row and are finally seeing real evidence of a housing recovery, the GOP has decided that they are willing — no, glad! — that the sequestration that they voted for in 2011 is going into effect, even though the CBO has made it clear that this would threaten 1 million jobs and likely put us back in recession.
But the GOP is fine with this because they say it was the President’s idea, which is like saying that paying a ransom was the kidnapped child’s mother’s idea. The sequestration only exists because the GOP took the debt limit hostage for the first time in history in 2011 and demanded cuts that have proved to hurt the economy.
I believe they did this because Republicans understand better than anyone else why they won in 2010. It wasn’t because they cared about spending or debt or even Obamacare — growth in spending under Obama is lower than it’s been since the 1950s.
The GOP won in 2010 because the economy sucked.
So they slowed down the recovery in 2011 to try to repeat their success in 2012. Because the president made the right choices with the measures to rescue the economy in 2009 and eke out a second stimulus in late 2010, it didn’t work.
Now in 2013, the GOP is willing to go right into a sequestration that they admit will “help the enemy” and “tank the economy” because Charles Krauthammer has convinced them that they they will be able to blame it on the president. Hey, it worked in 2010!
The choose this path as if the State of the Union won’t give President Obama a chance to lay out the reality of the situation: Republicans prefer cuts that kill jobs to ending tax breaks on big oil, private jets and hedge fund managers who pay lower tax rates than nurses.
The Transom‘s Ben Domenech says the president has misjudged the GOP:
This is a post-financial crisis, post-TARP, post-bailout Republican Party, where concerns about unrestricted spending and out of control budgets take precedence over concerns about spending at the Pentagon.
Mark this wishful thinking for when the GOP does in some way cave on the sequestration. Domenech is imagining that the libertarian forces of the Tea Party have won out to the essence of his party, which is to pleasure defense contractors, bankers and polluters who will all suffer if the cuts go into effect. I’d have to believe something like this to be a Republican these days, too.
But the truth is much darker.
The only reason the GOP is even willing to consider letting the sequestration go through is because they’re willing to sabotage the economy. A freeze in defense spending and reducing nuclear weapons stockpiles would be welcome measures to restore fiscal sanity.
But cuts now, austerity now, will have the same effect here as they are having in the UK — recession and more debt.
The GOP has been willing to blow up the debt for three decades. They were willing to stall the economy in the mid 90s with government shutdowns. But since Bush destroyed the GOP brand with reckless warmongering, fiscal insanity and undeniable incompetence, they’ve dropped all pretense.
They’re willing to do just about anything — from stopping people for voting to sabotaging the economy — if it will help them get power. The least we can do is point that out.