Republicans want the sequester


… They have always wanted the sequester. How can I prove it? Easy.

1. They voted for it. Overwhelmingly. And I’m talking about in the House, where the more ideological wing of the party resides. Look: here’s the House roll call. The entire leadership voted for it. Paul Ryan voted for it. In all, 174 Republicans voted for it versus just 66 who voted no, while the Democrats in the House split 95-95. In the Senate, the vote was 74-26, and the Republicans like Rand Paul and James Imhofe who voted no did so because THE CUTS WERE TOO SMALL…

2. Their leader in the House, John Boehner, said they wanted it, and he did so contemporaneously, when he thought the politics were different. After the Senate passed its version of it (“it” being the Budget Control Act of 2011) on August 2, 2011 – One Day before the U.S. would have defaulted on our sovereign debt Speaker Boehner said he’d gotten 98 percent of what he wanted in the sequester bill, and he was “pretty happy.”

Boehner is now trying to walk, no, run, back on that happy, even seeking to pawn the whole sequester thing off on President Obama. Ad of course he’s getting help from unabashedly dishonest righties like the often smart, but also crass and dishonest Erick Erickson and his equally crass and dishonest friends.

But isn’t what Boehner really hates about the sequester the things he and his GOP friends somehow managed to leave out? You know, the way they got snookered into exempting the things they really want to cut? Byron York explains:

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed Wednesday, House Speaker John Boehner describes the upcoming sequester as a policy “that threatens U.S. national security, thousands of jobs and more.”

Which leads to the question: Why would Republicans support a measure that threatens national security and thousands of jobs? Boehner and the GOP are determined to allow the $1.2 trillion sequester go into effect unless President Obama and Democrats agree to replacement cuts, of an equal amount, that target entitlement spending. If that doesn’t happen — and it seems entirely unlikely — the sequester goes into effect, with the GOP’s blessing.

Or as David Frum puts it:

Republicans want to move early to a balanced budget. They want to reach balance through spending cuts only, no tax increases. And they want the spending cuts to fall more heavily on social programs than defense, while exempting Medicare and Social Security for current beneficiaries.

See that’s the thing. Republicans are mad because the sequester hits military spending hard, but doesn’t touch “entitlements.” But again, they let that happen… by voting for it.

Which brings me to the third way I know Republicans really want the sequester to happen:

3. The money and “ideas” wings of their party say they want it.
More York:

In addition, Boehner calls the cuts “deep,” when most conservatives emphasize that for the next year they amount to about $85 billion out of a $3,600 billion budget. Which leads to another question: Why would Boehner adopt the Democratic description of the cuts as “deep” when they would touch such a relatively small part of federal spending?

See, York doesn’t think these cuts are draconian at all. Like Rand Paul, he thinks they’re a drop in a austerity bucket. And he’s not alone. Here’s my pal Larry Kudlow:

The Obama administration is whipping up hysteria over the sequester budget cuts and their impact on the economy, the military, first providers, and so forth and so on. Armageddon. But if you climb into the Congressional Budget Office numbers for 2013, you see a much lighter and easier picture than all the worst-case scenarios being conjured up by the administration.

… For example, the $85 billion so-called spending cut is actually budget authority, not budget outlays. According to the CBO, budget outlays will come down by $44 billion, or one-quarter of 1 percent of GDP (GDP is $15.8 trillion). What’s more, that $44 billion outlay reduction is only 1.25 percent of the $3.6 trillion government budget.

So the actual outlay reduction is only half the budget-authority savings. The rest of it will spend out in the years ahead — that is, if Congress doesn’t tamper with it.

And please remember that these so-called cuts come off a rising budget baseline in most cases. So the sequester would slow the growth of spending. They’re not real cuts in the level of spending. (Not that a level reduction is a bad idea.)

Looking at the sequester in this light, it’s clear that it won’t result in economic Armageddon. In fact, I’ll make the case that any spending relief is actually pro-growth. That’s right. When the government spending share of GDP declines, so does the true tax burden on the economy. As a result, more resources are left in the free-market private sector, which will promote real growth. …

…and then he launches into some stuff about his favorite president, Calvin Coolidge.

Kudlow speaks for the Mitt Romney wing of the GOP – the grandees who pay the bills while tea partiers burble at John McCain’s immigration town halls. He speaks for the Wall Streeters who are the real inventors of the tea party anyway. And he LOVES the sequester.

There’s one more way to tell that Republicans want the “austerity with less fingerprints” that is the sequester, to happen: they’re not doing much to stop it.

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11 Responses to Republicans want the sequester

  1. joe common says:

    Because if they did not want the sequester, they could simply repeal it. But as they make a living lying to people to steal from them on behalf of their pimps, they will continue to defraud and betray the citizens of the u.s. using their tools of traitorism by taking hostages, exploiting people, performing their brand of extortion, and stealing in general.

  2. Precious says:

    Two paragraphs from The Sequester Explained at mother jones mag.
    “Where did the whole idea of sequestration originate? It goes back to 1985. The tax cuts of Ronald’s Reagan early years, combined with his aggressive defense buildup, produced a growing budget deficit that eventually prompted passage of the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act. GRH set out a series of ambitious deficit reduction targets, and to put teeth into them it specified that if the targets weren’t met, money would automatically be “sequestered,” or held back, by the Treasury Department from the agencies to which it was originally appropriated. The act was declared unconstitutional in 1986, and a new version was passed in 1987.

    Sequestration never really worked, though, and it was repealed in 1990 and replaced by a new budget deal. After that, it disappeared down the Washington, DC, memory hole for the next 20 years.

    What about the 2013 version? Where did that come from? In the summer of 2011, Republicans decided to hold the country hostage, insisting that they’d refuse to raise the debt ceiling unless President Obama agreed to substantial deficit reduction. After months of negotiations over a “grand bargain” finally broke down in July, Republicans proposed a plan that would (a) make some cuts immediately and (b) create a bipartisan committee to propose further cuts down the road. But they wanted some kind of automatic trigger in case the committee couldn’t agree on those further cuts, so the White House hauled out sequestration from the dustbin of history as an enforcement mechanism. It would go into effect automatically if no deal was reached.”

    Which brings to mind a statement that lawyers always make. Never ask a quetion of you don’t know the answer to it.” So, why did Obama GAMBLE with our ta monies to fund needed programs when he resurrected the Reagan era sequestration.

    Was he naive as to beloieve Republicans would never hold him to it? Or, is he a Regan Republican at heart?

  3. Flo says:

    But the “R” in GRH, as you say, Precious, stands for Rudman not Reagan. Heck, Reagan would be kicked out of today’s Republican party for having raised taxes, negotiating with Tip O’Neill, and being too liberal.

    Your quote from Mother Jones notes that the 2013 version of the sequester was hatched in 2011….. so by your logic I guess that means Obama is an Obama Democrat. Now there’s a story.

  4. Precious says:

    Not an Obama Democrat. He resurrected the sequester. It was an original of the Reagan era. And … who was in power in 2011? Obama was, of course. But, of course … Saint Obama does northing wrong. He follows in the footsteps of St. Ronnie. And, don’t forget the seed for the GRH act came from an attempt to fix the Reagan politics which were not working .. So wanting further tax cuts the Republicans in 2013 wanted “wanted some kind of automatic trigger in case the committee couldn’t agree on those further cuts, so the White House hauled out sequestration from the dustbin of history as an enforcement mechanism. It would go into effect automatically if no deal was reached.” So, Resurrecting the sequester ws like either agreeing with the Republicans while covering his tracks. Or, like putting red meat in front of a very hungry tiger. No. Sorry, Obama is not an Obama Democrat. An Obama Democrat would have stood up for higher taxes for the rich, for replenishing the cophers of medicare and other programs to help the poor, the disadvantaged, the elderly and in general the 99%. Instead he opened the gate for this melt away, ruin, all of the safety net put in place during truly democrat leadership.

  5. Flo says:

    Okay Precious. Let your imagination run wild; enjoy your little fable. Just don’t expect us to take it seriously. I also saw an article suggesting this all resulted from something that occurred in ’63…. so I guess that would make Obama a Kennedy? And by the way, we already got higher taxes on the rich 2 months ago.

  6. Precious says:

    Not my little fable Flor. But if that is what you want to call it, I wonder what you wouldcall this from Glen Ford of the Black Agenda Report:
    “Let me repeat: Sequestration was Obama’s idea. So-called entitlement reform is Obama doctrine. Austerity was embedded in the Democratic Party’s agenda under President Obama. More than any other individual, it was Barack Obama who engineered the current disaster scenario. These waves of austerity crises were not inevitable, but they are the inevitable result of President Obama’s calculated statements and actions since Election Day 2008. The Republicans are his partners, not his opponents. The closest thing he has to an opposition – at least on paper – is the Congressional Progressive Caucus, whose two co-chairs introduced a bill that would turn the austerity juggernaut on its head. It’s called the Balancing Act of 2013, and would replace all of the sequestration cuts with new revenues, and then add a $276 billion stimulus to the economy. Needless to say, the progressive bill will get nowhere, not just because of Republican opposition, but because the top Democrat, Barack Obama, wants to go down in history as the smart austerity president. Just as he said he wasn’t opposed to wars, but only to dumb wars – which is why he has built tens of thousands of the smartest drones and smartest bombs ever devised by man. He’s outsmarting what passes for a Left in the United States at every turn. They cheer him as he effectively consummates his grand bargain with the GOP, in a cacophony of manufactured crises, exhausting what little opposition remains. That’s why we at BAR call him the more effective evil.”
    And whatever you may want to call Glen Ford anmd/or the Black Agenda Report the truth is that if I use your label of Obama as a Democrat then he is a REGTRESSIVE DEMOCRAT who bathes and glorifies in Republican Shores.

  7. Flo says:

    Whatever, Precious. Copy and paste a long quote from a left-wing fringe Obama hater, and then draw some ridiculous conclusion. That is your usual style, which is why I don’t give it any credence. Glen Ford’s little diatribe plays fast and loose with the facts, as well. You seem to think the President can do whatever he pleases, and you don’t pay the least amount of attention to the fact that the Republicans control Congress; here in the USA it is the Congress that passes laws and appropriates money. So you might want to pay some attention to John Boehner and the tea-drinking critters who tell him what to do. But I know you prefer your fables.

  8. rupert says:

    Precious in #2 says: “Republicans decided to hold the country hostage”.
    I think that says it all. It’s happening now.

  9. Precious says:

    Flor, the president can take a stand. HE IS President, isn’t he? He caves in all the time and throws people and principles under the bus all the time.

  10. Flo says:

    Actually, he did, Precious. Revenues must be part of any deal. It’s too bad you are so uninformed.

  11. RobM says:

    I’m not a fan of the President but as I understand what are supposed to be Democratic priorities the sequester is supposed to start a conversation on spending. I am not seeing a reordering of spending priorities by any example on the President’s part. he is opening up social Security which can not run a deficit by law so it has nothing to do w/ the Federal budget. There has been no meaningful discussion about Defense spending(if ending the Bush tax cuts is not raising new revenue neither is defense cuts ordered two years ago). When do you ask more money for the SEC, CPB, education, infrastructure, et al.

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