Thursday, February 28, 2013

And now a message from your demagogue-in-chief

And now a message from your demagogue-in-chief
By: David Harsanyi
2/28/2013 06:27 PM

President Barack Obama, champion of Washington comity and national unity, just sent out this message to the American people:

Today, Republicans in the Senate faced a choice about how to grow our economy and reduce our deficit. And instead of closing a single tax loophole that benefits the well-off and well-connected, they chose to cut vital services for children, seniors, our men and women in uniform and their families. They voted to let the entire burden of deficit reduction fall squarely on the middle class.

In reality, both Democrats and Republicans had plans on the table – and both failed. Senate Democrats, to the surprise of no one, proposed a minimum 30 percent tax on millionaires with some small cuts to defense and agriculture spending.

Republicans offered the president more authority (the kind he asked for when it came to the debt ceiling) over implementing the supposed $85 billion in cuts in any way he saw fit. So rather than slashing vital services for children, seniors, men, women, the poor, those in uniform and their families, the president would have had the power to cut back on an array of “investments” we keep funding for no discernible reason or other government waste. He had the opportunity to spare many the imaginary hardship of a 2 percent cut, and he could have kept America’s unsuspecting children completely out of harm’s way. If anyone chose to target the most vulnerable, he has, and for political purposes.

He goes one:

I believe we should do better. We should work together to reduce our deficit in a balanced way – by making smart spending cuts and closing special interest tax loopholes. That’s exactly the kind of plan Democrats in the Senate have proposed. But even though a majority of Senators support this approach, Republicans have refused to allow it an up-or-down vote – threatening our economy with a series of arbitrary, automatic budget cuts that will cost us jobs and slow our recovery.

Today we learned that the economy grew 0.1 % in the fourth quarter last year so, really, how much more can the recovery slow down? Two recent studies – one by International Monetary Fund another by the National Bureau of Economic (via the Heritage Foundation) – find that when nation’s reach higher debt status, subsequently they see depressed growth. So maybe a little trimming would help? Spending clearly hasn’t.

And there’s no need to rehash how little we’re actually cutting here, anyway. There is around $85 billion (or as Nick Gillespie has been pointing out, really only $44 billion) this year. The total sequester “cut” means that the federal government will be spending over two trillion dollars more in 10 years than it does now. Austerity, indeed.

And by the way, the Democrat plan “to reduce our deficit in a balanced way” the Democrats plan adds $7.2 billion to the debt according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Obama finishes:

I will bring together leaders from both parties to discuss a path forward. As a nation, we can’t keep lurching from one manufactured crisis to another. Middle-class families can’t keep paying the price for dysfunction in Washington. We can build on the over $2.5 trillion in deficit reduction we’ve already achieved, but doing so will require Republicans to compromise. That’s how our democracy works, and that’s what the American people deserve.

Sure, after informing America that Republicans have chosen the Koch Brothers over our children, seniors, military, families, mentally ill, the poor and apple pie, why wouldn’t Republicans want to meet up and hug it out?

Maybe someone at this meeting can ask Obama why he continues to falsely claim that Washington has cut the federal deficit by $2.5 trillion when it fact its added $5.9 trillion to the debt? Even more importantly, as I’ve argued, Republicans should simply tell the president, thank you, and move on. Once you sign a bill, it’s the law. That’s how democracy works.

To read another article about the Sequester, click here.

To read another article by David Harsanyi, click here.

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