CBO Confirms Obama’s Claim That Maintaining Sequester Destroys Jobs and Growth

budget Crisis
One of the important lessons Americans should have learned over the past six-and-a-half years is that when the voters elected an African American man as President, Republicans wholly embraced governing by crises. A person from outside of America may believe that Americans want government by crisis, but recent polling reveals that is not the case. It is particularly true when a Republican budget crisis is driven by religion to deny low-income women access to cancer screenings and reproductive health services. By now, most Americans are aware that Republicans could not possibly care less that even their supporters do not want a manufactured crisis to threaten a government shutdown, or that their resolve to maintain harsh austerity in their precious sequester will devastate hundreds-of-thousands of Americans’ jobs and thwart economic growth and continued recovery.

President Obama has pleaded, cajoled, and attempted to shame Republicans into sitting down and negotiating spending legislation for the next fiscal year before the October 1st deadline, but that would put a damper on the ‘govern by crisis’ plans favored by Republicans. What is surprising in a way is that there are Republicans who agree with President Obama that the time for negotiating a bipartisan budget that corrects the GOP sequestration disaster is at hand, but they are beholden to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his bosses Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee whose only religious bona fides are on the line. While Republicans in the House and Senate are driving the shutdown crisis and rejecting any proposal to negotiate a way out of the sequester, the Congressional Budget Office released a damning report about the economic tragedy of keeping sequestration cuts in place.

It was never reported by mainstream media, but a couple of weeks ago the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) formally announced, and warned Republicans that their promised failure to provide relief from automatically triggered cuts to critical national priorities would lead to 800,000 fewer jobs and 0.6% less economic growth; the CBO parroted President Obama, most Democrats, and a few semi-sane Republicans and recommended a bipartisan budget agreement to provide responsible relief from sequestration.

Specifically, the CBO determined that maintaining sequester-level cuts would lead to 500,000 fewer jobs and 0.4% less growth in 2016, and 300,000 fewer jobs and 0.2% less growth in 2017. For Koch Republicans, the idea of killing 800,000 Americans’ jobs and retarding America’s world-leading economic growth while an African American man is in the White House is just business as usual and a way to slow down the President’s economic success.

One of the biggest obstacles to getting a budget deal finished by the October 1st deadline besides the religious right’s demand that poor women be denied reproductive health services and cancer screenings through Planned Parenthood is Republican leaders demanding sequestration level cuts stay in place while military spending is increased. It is true the religious defunding crusade is a great help for Republicans intent on governing from crisis to crisis with shutting down the government as their primary bargaining chip, but the GOP leadership’s demand to keep sequester level domestic cuts in place is why there have been no negotiations to date.

In fact, the theocracy issue aside, the biggest obstacle, and why there have been no negotiations, is that Democrats insist that any increases in defense spending be matched dollar for dollar with increases in non-defense domestic programs. Republicans naturally want much, much, much more spending on the military paid for with many, many more cuts to domestic spending. Up to today, Mitch McConnell is never going to allow any negotiations to change sequester spending levels because he still claims the Budget Control Act, the Sequester, was the GOP’s greatest accomplishment in the past five years despite the damage it wrought on economic growth, job creation, and general welfare of the American people.

There are very few in government who believe the sequester was a beneficial crisis, and there are Republicans who agree with the President that the time to fix the sequester is long past. In fact, one Republican senator admitted that not all Republicans are crisis-oriented or willing to deliberately kill jobs and hamper economic growth. The anonymous Senate Republicans said,  “A few of us have suggested that we should start talks and get something going with Democrats, but Mitch has been very consistent.” It is likely that McConnell is not enamored with the prospect of angering the real Senate and House leader Ted Cruz.

Last month, according to Representative Charlie Dent (R-Penn), several senior members of the “House Appropriations Committee, including the panel’s chairman, Representative Harold Rogers (R-KY) took a chance and actually told the Republican leadership that the time to negotiate a way out of the impasse is now, not in the shadow of the papal visit or a government shutdown Oct. 1.”

Like President Obama and a few Republicans, Democrats have also called for bipartisan budget negotiations to avoid a crisis including Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid. Reid laid out who is standing in the way of both avoiding a government shutdown and saving 800,000 jobs and economic growth. Reid parroted something that is a persistent issue when Republicans have a say in governing, “there is no good reason to wait until the last minute. We’ve known for months that government funding runs out on Oct. 1. Senate Democrats have been calling on Republicans for months – both publicly and privately – to sit down with us and work out a bipartisan path so that we can avoid another shutdown. So far, we’ve been met with nothing but silence. I say to my Republican colleagues, let’s get started – there is no good reason to wait until the last minute.” Bernie Sanders actually went along with President Obama and said, “We must end sequestration now ahead of the end of the fiscal year and prevent a budget showdown that will help nobody. It makes no sense to head towards a crisis when we have a clear path towards a better solution.”

It is tragic, actually, that over the past six-and-a-half years there have been clear paths toward better solutions than heading to another senseless budget crisis, but Republicans will not comport government without crisis unless they achieve their goals. The current goal is maintaining sequestration-level cuts for all domestic programs, increasing military spending, eliminating Planned Parenthood funding, drastically slashing social safety nets and eliminating anti-poverty programs; all demands that Democrats and President Obama will not support. Many Americans have been led to believe the emerging crisis is solely about Planned Parenthood funding, and that may be somewhat true. However, at the rate Republicans love killing Americans’ jobs and retarding economic growth that the CBO warned is the result of not addressing sequester cuts, pundits should consider the real impetus for the looming crisis is the GOP’s rejection of eliminating their precious sequester.

17 Replies to “CBO Confirms Obama’s Claim That Maintaining Sequester Destroys Jobs and Growth”

  1. Since 2008, 95% of $31 Trillion created U.S. wealth went to the 1%. US Income has decreased by 12.3% or $8,479 a year from 2000-2014. Republican welfare reform pushed 31 million children and of those 7.4 million Americas children into extreme poverty living on less the $2.00 a day. Republicans are calling for a Shutdown unless Democrats maintain the austerity sequestration-level cuts for all domestic programs, increasing military spending, eliminating Planned Parenthood funding, drastically slashing social safety nets and eliminating anti-poverty programs. If the Federal Reserve can give trillions to the banks, and the US Congress give trillions to the rich and corporations, why can’t President Obama unilaterally make the Fed and Treasury give money, directly to the people. We need a basic guaranteed income! http://www.alternet.org/economy/every-one-basic-income-yes-radical-ideas-about-fixing-inequality?akid=13349.277680.j32kim&rd=1&src=newsletter1040248&t=9

  2. Some view economics in government the same way they view education—they think that what any Tom, Dick, Harry, and/or Harriet thinks should be used as solutions to serious problems. They ignore trained experts and force their ideas onto others. I studied many years to be an effective teacher and took and passed certification tests only to watch those without degrees, inside and outside of legislative bodies, push educators around and inject nonsense into our school systems. Only in America does a group like the tea partiers gain enough power to influence policy at the state and federal level. Many of our politicians don’t have the courage to tell these folks to sit down, STFU, and listen to the experts. Instead, they join the Crazy Train in order to keep their political positions. It pisses me off hearing them shout,”America is an exceptional nation!” There’s nothing exceptional about gross ignorance and stupidity. It’s a cause for shame.

  3. Very well said. Our legislative bodies have been taken over by an ignorant mob. Thoughtful people are no longer welcome in Republican politics.

  4. Actually it is not an ignorant mob. That has taken over America. Far, far from it. Try Rupert Murdoch, the Koch’s, Edelman. ALEX, all the men controlling the Media, the Caryle group, etc. A few of the names we know. But the people that have actually taken over the country, ordinary people have never heard their names.
    They have bought this country at bargain prices. We saw it in big neon letters when GWB was awarded the presidency by the Supreme Court. We saw it when he, not HE actually, he tried to do as he was told. He couldn’t even do a good job of that.
    But the results were what we have today. And the same people are still manipulating the scripts and money.

  5. Again with the increase in military spending. Military spending for what? Better healthcare for returning Vets, better accountability about the management & care, (Doubt that) or to hire mercenaries & buy bigger, better, more devastating weapons from the Military Industrial Complex Corporations (More likely).

    The thing that most GOPPERs don’t understand is that you cannot continually demean, rape & pillage from the Middle and working classes to give more & more to the top 1% without it all falling apart eventually. Greece is a perfect example of all the breaks given to the top 10% & none to the bottom 90%. When the top 10 needed to step up they fled like rats from a sinking ship. It will take decades for Greece to recover.

  6. A good example of the manipulation. There will be no COLA in 2016 and probably 2017. Money from the SS program has been stolen since its inception. Try to find out how much just the Cheney Bush administration alone stole for a war for Israel and the oil companies in the Middle East. alone.
    Try to find out the names of the people that are actually responsible for making the decisions about SS. If you are in a position to find out WHO makes the decision to spend the money…not freebie money but taxpayers money deducted from there pay. They will be of the class that has rigged the system so they pay no taxes anyway. It is becoming more obvious if 99% of the people in America that has to pay so much to get so little don’t start fighting our real enemies, the shadow men will finally win on a lot of fronts and one of the bigger ones has always been destroying SS.

  7. Paul Krugman at The New York Times writes The Rage of the Bankers:
    Yet the Fed has faced constant criticism for its low-rate policy. Why?
    The answer is that the story keeps changing. In 2010-2011 the Fed’s critics issued dire warnings about looming inflation. You might have expected some change in tune when inflation failed to materialize. Instead, however, those who used to demand higher rates to head off inflation are still demanding higher rates, but for different reasons. The justification du jour is “financial stability,” the claim that low interest rates breed bubbles and crashes. […]

    Well, when you see ever-changing rationales for never-changing policy demands, it’s a good bet that there’s an ulterior motive. And the rate rage of the bankers — combined with the plunge in bank stocks that followed the Fed’s decision not to hike — offers a powerful clue to the nature of that motive. It’s the bank profits, stupid.

  8. Ronda. President Obama can’t unilaterally give out money from the US Treasury; doesn’t work that way. And, even if he could, how exactly would you distribute the funds and to whom?

  9. DJ, so when is the next “duel” about banks going to take place. The “banks” issue has been ongoing for over two centuries.

  10. I don’t know. Maybe when we go back to the gold standard abolish banks and paper money will the clowns be happy

  11. “Only in America does a group like the tea partiers gain enough power to influence policy at the state and federal level. Many of our politicians don’t have the courage to tell these folks to sit down, STFU, and listen to the experts. ”

    It’s all about the money. Those tea partiers are used by the Kochs to perpetuate their agenda and those politicians ‘without courage’ are only protecting their jobs and the money they receive to get elected.
    The Koch Bros are experts at keeping their name out of the public eye but, believe me, they are responsible for terrible decisions made by mayors, governors, state atty generals, elected school officials and congresspeople in republican states and also what is heard from limbaugh, hannity, o’reilly, etc. and two Supreme Court justices and are, in fact, the tea party.

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