Anyone who has ever had to be the bearer of bad news knows there is no kind way to convey devastating information regardless the best intentions or amount of compassion the messenger feels for the victim. When a doctor reveals the results of a laboratory test indicating a person has cancer, they simply walk in and tell the patient “you have cancer” and offer treatment options or tell them how long they have left to live. Over the past few weeks, President Obama has had the unpleasant task of telling Americans the brutal truth that, without intervention, sequester cuts will adversely affect the economy and be painful to most Americans, and despite earlier admissions the cuts will be damaging, Republicans have made no attempt to find a less-painful replacement. Republicans are notorious for fear mongering on the basis of lies and misinformation, but now they are accusing the President of fear mongering based on truth about the sequester the GOP whole-heartedly supports.
Yesterday House Majority Leader and pathological liar Eric Cantor accused President Obama of touring around the country “scaring people, creating havoc telling Americans their food is going to go uninspected and that our borders will be less patrolled and unsafe” instead of working on a sequester replacement. What Cantor is saying, in effect, is that the sequester is “not that bad,” and it explains Republican intransigence to offer any replacement and why they continue trumpeting their plan from last year’s session of Congress that included only cuts to domestic programs. The President, Senate Democrats, House Democrats, and Progressive Democrats have all proposed sequester replacements Speaker John Boehner refused to allow to come up for a vote because they included revenue and would have passed.
Cantor and many Republicans claim President Obama is intentionally making sequester cuts painful, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said “The President is ready to make it bite as hard as possible — all to send a simple message to the public: ‘You want to control Washington spending, America? Fine, let me show you much I can make it hurt.” The problem with McConnell’s remark is that Americans are not making devastating sequester cuts, Republicans are, and they are attempting to morph “the sequester is Obama’s fault” message to “Obama is purposely making sequester cuts to the federal government painful” while they refuse to even consider alternatives except voiding defense cuts and replacing them with more domestic and safety net cuts.
The underlying Republican message is that job-killing and safety net cuts are not painful, and they are cuts Americans controlling spending really want. The truth is Republicans are quietly applauding sequester domestic cuts and want much more, such as those in Paul Ryan’s Heritage Foundation budget, the Path to Prosperity (for the rich). The President has no control over the sequester because Congress is tasked to change the law to avoid across the board cuts. There is no department or program spared (by design), so education, first responders, safety nets, food inspectors, immigration, and aviation safety will all be subject to cuts. When the President says cuts affect the entire government, he is simply telling the truth and now it is what Republicans are revolting against because they have panted for deeper cuts under the guise of “reducing the deficit,” “strengthening the economy,” or “stopping Obama’s out of control record spending spree.” A spending spree, by the way, that is non-existent, and with spending growth at its lowest rates in 60 years, Americans recognize Republican’s are wrong and the nation needs more revenue, according to a recent poll.
Republicans unremittingly harp on one message that, under President Obama, Washington is spending too much money, and it needs to stop, but 67% of Americans reject the “way Republicans in Congress are handling federal spending” including 51% of self-identified Republicans. Republicans are unfazed by Americans’ opinion of their Draconian cuts and Cantor said next week Republicans will resolve to give flexibility to the Department of Defense (DOD) on spending for the rest of the year by letting the DOD start new programs. In another poll, 62% of Republicans and 82% of Democrats are against slashing social programs, and instead prefer cutting military spending to pay down the already rapidly declining deficit. It is typical of Republicans to oppose the will of the people and aid defense programs to survive the sequester while increasing social program cuts that kill jobs, reduce services, and impact hungry children, seniors, and poverty-level working poor Americans.
Republicans are losing the battle in the court of public opinion, even among their own base, and yet to cover their wont to punish 98% of the people to protect the wealthy, oil industry, military industrial complex, and corporations, they are resorting to accusing the President of fear mongering with the truth. However, now that they have abandoned any pretense of avoiding sequester cuts to domestic programs, and admitted the sequester was Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor’s plan, their goal of killing jobs and sending the economy into a recession is finally coming into focus and the President is right to tell Americans the devastating truth; Republicans are deliberately punishing people and reversing economic recovery.