Or, GOP threatens shutdown/default if we don’t increase the deficit
As the Tea Party faction of the House of Representatives tries to create another completely unnecessary budget crisis that could end up wounding their brand almost as much as it would sabotage the economy, here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. The deficit is shrinking rapidly, probably too fast.
It’s down more than 1/3 from last year, according to the CBO.
2. The deficit will begin to rise later this decade if we do nothing.
3. Nothing the GOP is proposing will fix the long term deficit.
One faction of the GOP is fighting to keep the sequester, which hurts America’s ability to compete and punishes poor people while doing almost nothing to help the long term deficit. The other faction wants to repeal, delay or defund Obamacare — all of which would increase the deficit.
4. There’s a plan to cut the long-term deficit that actually grows the economy without cutting services that has already passed the Senate — immigration reform.
Reform would reduce the deficit by $158 billion in the first decade and by about $685 billion over the next. That’s more than three-trillion dollars while bringing people out of the shadows and a black market where workers are abused and wages are a pittance of what they should be.
In contrast, the cuts from the sequester are in many cases increasing the deficit as the government becomes less effective.
5. Republicans don’t actually care about cutting the deficit.
They care about cutting government services, especially for “those” people.
If it were about the deficit, the GOP could declare victory and move one. They’ve won the deficit argument by getting Democrats to go along with cutting it while the economy is struggling. The deficit could be easily eliminated if the the GOP would agree to raising taxes on the rich and corporations. That’s the only precondition that President Obama has to making reforms to the safety net that would probably enrage the left.
But liberals need not worry. The GOP will never make a big deficit deal because keeping taxes for the rich low is their one inviolable belief.
Regardless of what happens to resolve these unnecessary crises, the fact that we’re cutting at all right now and not spending on infrastructure before interest rates rise is insane and a loss for progressives.
But given how destructive the Tea Party would like to be, keeping the government open as more than 30 million Americans are about to get health insurance is still a partial victory. Add immigration reform, which cuts the debt while helping people, or even the failure of immigration reform, which will doom the GOP for decades, and we’ll have something worth celebrating.
[CC image credit: DonkeyHotey | Flickr]