You’ve been hearing about the “sequester.” It sounds much better than, “Another rip-off by Republicans interested only in coddling the very rich.”
This farce goes back to 2011. Republicans refused to raise the debt ceiling (which they’d routinely done for President Bush Junior) unless President Obama reduced the deficit by $4 trillion. Obama said, “I’ve already reduced it by $2.5 trillion. Further cuts would hurt the economy by reducing aggregate demand.” Republicans said, “We couldn’t care less about the stupid economy. We’re interested only in coddling the Very Rich.”
Obama said, “I’ll give in to your extortion, again, and reduce the deficit by another $1.5 trillion, but you must agree to some tax increases.” Republicans said, “Hell, no. The $1.5 trillion reduction must come from cutting government services, to keep taxes nice and low for the Very Rich Piggies.”
As a result, there was the distinct possibility that Republicans would force Uncle Sam to welsh on paying government bonds. As an Economic Fact of Life, my friends, that’s officially a “Really-Really-Big-No-No.” Republican hostage-takers put a gun to the heads of the American people, get it?
Obama said, “If you raise the debt ceiling and don’t rat on Uncle Sam’s bonds, I’ll appoint a bipartisan commission to decide on $1.5 trillion in both tax increases and further cuts.’ Republicans said, “Push off. No more taxes for the Very Porky Piggies. Mitt Romney’s running for president, for Pete’s sake.”
So to get a deal to pay those super-critical bonds, Obama proposed that if the commission didn’t come up with a balanced $1.5 trillion deficit reduction package, passed into law in 2012, 10 percent across-the-board cuts on discretionary spending would take effect in early 2013. The theory was that even Republicans wouldn’t let this madness happen when push came to shove.
Actually, Republicans loved it. They figured they’d get the White House back in November, thanks to the conservative Supreme Court’s idiotic ruling that money is “free speech” and their usual slime, dirty tricks, vote-rigging, etc. So they said, “Yes,” even though it meant agreeing with Obama.
Hence, to get the debt ceiling raised to pay the bonds, President Obama had to give in to Republican hostage-takers. They’d cynically manufactured an artificial crisis, yet again. But the Republicans failed to get the White House in 2012. So they now refuse to do anything, want to punish Americans for re-electing Obama, and blame him for not showing “leadership.”
Republican hypocrisy hangs over the American body politic like poison gas over the trenches in WWI.
America’s credit standing took a hit as a result of this Republican lunacy posing as governance. Yes: Republicans shot Uncle Sam just to make life sweeter for the Very Bloated Piggies. Why wasn’t that big news? Why, it was politics as usual. The world’s appalled. “The Economist” of Britain decries “the total war that is American politics.” Germany’s popular Der Spiegel condemns America’s “absurd level of hatred” and blames Republicans.
So what is this sequester? It’s a series of brutal cuts to essential government services. For example, who inspects your food: fairies in the night or the government during the day? And it affects the states: California will lose $87 million, 1,200 teachers, 49,000 HIV tests; I’ll stop there. Masochists can log on to the Office of Management and Budget website and get 224 pages of gory details.
These cuts will seriously impact hundreds of programs such as the Pentagon, the F.B.I., Medicare, education, employment, poverty, disease control, border patrol and aviation safety. (Hint: Get to the airport super-super-early.) But the Very Fat Piggies all have private jets and private schools, so what’s the fuss?
There’s been a fuss over “security.” The Navy’s cutting back aircraft carrier joy rides for “jet jocks” at $50 billion a pop. Bob Woodward, former Watergate hero but now boot-licker to Republicans, thinks he’ll get murdered in his bed. He went ballistic. A White House staffer politely suggested he’d “regret doing this,” concerned he’d gone cuckoo. Very Serious Republicans said this was The End Of The World.
Economists agree the sequester will damage the recovery from the last Republican-induced disaster, the Great Recession of 2008. Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke told Republicans they were insane to let it proceed. Bear in mind that the best way to reduce debt is to get more people employed, to get more taxpayers.
But in Republican-think, the sequester’s a great idea. It’s stupid; makes life difficult for that socialist, Muslim, Kenyan, birth-certificate forger; damages the economy; sticks it to average Americans, makes the super-rich better off; and as a bonus, kicks women and children in the gut.
Beside the rivers of Babylon, I sit down and weep as I think of what Republicans have done to the Founding Fathers’ vision for America. The vision prevailing now is George Orwell’s “Animal Farm.”
Raymond Freeman is a retired banker, a former lawyer and a former candidate for 44th California Assembly District. His goal is to penetrate the obscurity surrounding economic, financial and political matters, so that the average reader will find this new column interesting and informative. Sharper Focus, VCReporter’s newest column, will be featured every other week.