Sunday, March 3, 2013

Charles M. Blow: Sequester Is GOP "Poison Pill Politics"

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the sequester could cost 750,000 jobs in 2013. Regardless, Republicans cheered House Speaker John Boehner as he halted further talks with President Obama. Charles M. Blow (left) states that the sequester is a "poison pill" that the Republicans "popped...like a Pez." He considers the mixture of GOP intransigence and misrepresentations about taxes and austerity that led to this latest manufactured crisis:

As Speaker John Boehner said after his Congressional leaders met with President Obama on Friday: “Let’s make it clear that the president got his tax hikes on Jan. 1. This discussion about revenue, in my view, is over.”

...Let’s make this clear: it is wrong to characterize the American Taxpayer Relief Act as a “tax hike.” In reality, much of what it did was allow 18 percent of the Bush tax cuts — mostly those affecting the wealthiest Americans — to expire while permanently locking in a whopping 82 percent of them.

But of course, that misrepresentation fit with the tired trope of Democrats as tax-and-spend liberals. It also completely ignores that it was Bush-era spending that dug the ditch we’re in.

Republicans have defined their position, regardless of how reckless: austerity or bust. However, as economists have warned, austerity generally precedes — and, in fact, can cause — bust. Just look at Europe.

But Republicans are so dizzy over the deficits and delighted to lick the boots of billionaires that they cannot — or will not — see it. They are still trying to sell cut-to-grow snake oil: cut spending and cut taxes, and the economy will grow because rich people will be happy, and when rich people are happy they hire poor people, and then everyone’s happy.

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