One of, but not limited to, the symptoms of depression is a feeling of hopelessness that can be exacerbated by unrelenting bad news, and for the past two weeks, Americans were bombarded with portents of doom and gloom over the Republican sequester. On Sunday, there was a glimmer of good news in the form of a reminder Willard Romney is not the president, and although he said it “kills him” he cannot “boss people around,” he is still alive enough to run his lying mouth about the President and how he handled the sequester. Now that the sequester is signed into law, as bad as it is, Romney preferred Paul Ryan’s budget that was four times as damaging as the sequester and increased the deficit by at least $4 trillion. One of Willard’s biggest supporters is cheering the sequester and claiming credit for its enactment, and looks forward to imposing more economic hardship on the people and the nation in their never-ending assault on government.
In an email, Koch brothers’ front group, Americans for Prosperity (AFP), sent congratulations to Republicans and their supporters around the country for helping push sequester cuts AFP says are “an important step forward for economic growth.” The email continued, “Americans for Prosperity thanks Speaker John Boehner and House Republicans for standing up to President Obama and making sure the $85 billion in much-needed sequester spending cuts took effect,” and it proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Koch brothers and Republicans own the sequester and are giddy at the prospect of a recession and killing millions of jobs. One aspect of sequester cuts little mentioned is that the devastating $85 billion for 2013 is just the beginning of greater domestic spending cuts, devastating effects on anti-poverty programs, Medicare, and without cessation, the end of recovery.
The sequester is a ten year plan that cuts $1.2 trillion across the board, and because they began in March, $85 billion is about 70% of the next nine years of cuts coming in at about $123.88 billion every year. It spells the end of recovery because experts estimate that by the end of 2013, $85 billion in cuts means nearly a million jobs will vanish, and GDP will fall between .7% and 1.7% in the first year alone. Kochs, AFP, teabaggers, and Republicans are celebrating austerity that deliberately tanks the economy, creates massive poverty, and all to avoid closing tax loopholes for the richest people in America. Republicans claimed 2013 sequester cuts would devastate the economy, and yet they are celebrating nine more years of 30% higher cuts, and are a reminder of the damage Willard Romney would have imposed. Romney took time to weigh in on the sequester and accuse the President of campaigning instead of working with Republicans to avert the cuts they were destined to enact.
According to Willard, “The president brings people together, does the deals, does the trades…the president leads, and I don’t see that kind of leadership happening. He’s campaigning.” Romney also suspected President Obama blamed Republicans for rejecting attempts to avert the sequester because “there may be more interest in showing pain in saying, See what the other guys did?” President Obama did attempt to trade, deal, lead, and bring Republicans together, but the sequester was the means Republicans used to impose austerity, and unless Obama agreed to void defense cuts and replace them with more austerity and domestic cuts, the sequester was going forward as part of Republicans’ four-year war on the economy.
Real economic experts cited ways Republicans are deliberately killing recovery; self-inflicted austerity, cuts to under-funded social programs, cut Social Security and Medicare benefits by slashing “entitlements,” and the sequester. Republicans and their supporters at Americans for Prosperity encouraged their base to campaign to “keep the cuts” so we can “get our economy moving again” in spite of overwhelming evidence that killing a million jobs and slashing domestic spending will cut GDP between .7-1.7% in the first year of a ten year program. Austerity already cost a reduction in growth in the fourth quarter, and combined with the Eurozone’s austerity-caused recession increases the risk to America’s economy because Europe is the nation’s leading trading partner. Austerity is decimating economies all over the world and all the while, Republicans, Koch brothers, and teabaggers are celebrating.
Americans for Prosperity parroted a right-wing canard that America has a spending crisis and said, “For the first time in a long time, genuine substantive spending reductions actually took effect and the government is running just a bit leaner,” and it belies President Obama’s reduced spending that already cost a reduction in GDP in the last quarter of 2012. America cannot recover, much less thrive, with perpetual spending cuts that kill jobs and retard growth, but that has been the Republican plan all along. It is unfortunate that Republicans were successful creating a false deficit crisis because it has ensnared Democrats who cannot speak about the economy without first trumpeting the virtue of “reducing the deficit” and it will lead the nation into a downward economic spiral that no-one, not even the President, can prevent regardless the people’s overwhelming support for his storied “balanced approach” to…deficit reduction.
Republicans won the austerity battle, and Americans will now know what it feels like to live in “socialist Europe” that imposed austerity, massive unemployment, negative growth, double and triple-dip recessions, and no hope for recovery anytime soon. Maybe there were two bits of good news yesterday after all; Willard is not president, and sequester damage in 2013 will be the least for the next ten years. Because if $85 billion is devastating, kills a million jobs, and cuts GDP by a percentage point, then nine years of $123.88 billion each will certainly eviscerate the economy; it was Republicans’ plan all along. It is just tragic, though, that they imposed austerity by injecting two words into every discussion about the economy; deficit reduction. It’s no wonder teabaggers, Republicans, and Americans for Prosperity are celebrating and congratulating each other; they won with two words.