Saturday, March 2, 2013

Think the So-Called Sequester Is Going to Happen - Think Again

Washington Doesn’t Work That Way

The big news in Washington, which has little or no notice in the rest of the nation is that automatic spending cuts known as the ‘Sequester’ will start because Republicans feel it is in their best political interests to allow them to happen.

As the president and Congressional Democrats have tried to force Mr. Boehner back to the table for talks to head off the automatic budget cuts set to take effect on Friday, Mr. Boehner has instead dug in deeper, refusing to even discuss an increase in revenue and insisting in his typical colorful language that it was time for the Senate to produce a measure aimed at the cuts.

 The Democrats and the President, to their credit, have been arguing the case to modify the cuts based on sound economic policy, but for Republicans politics trumps everything, so no deal.

While the frustrations of Congressional Democrats and Mr. Obama with Mr. Boehner are reaching a fever pitch, House Republicans could not be more pleased with their leader.

“We asked him to commit to us that when the cuts actually came on March 1, that he would stand firm and not give in, and he’s holding to that,” said Representative Steve Scalise, Republican of Louisiana and chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee. “I think Friday will be an important day that shows we’re finally willing to stand and fight for conservative principles and force Washington to start living within its means. And that will be a big victory.”

The cuts will take place gradually, and in a great amount of irony will be felt in places like Virginia and Texas, states whose Conservatives claim that they have had economic success unrelated to Federal spending, and who will now suffer job losses and lower economic activity precisely because of a lack of Federal spending.

But no one should imagine that the cuts will be permanent.  Most if not all will be restored, in a very stealthy process where lobbyists confront the Congress to enact small changes, all of which will add up to a restoration.  In the mean time Republicans can enjoy their so-called victory, and they can remind people who lose their jobs and their health care that they, Republicans, are responsible.  But then they were never going to get the vote of those people who just live off the government anyway, were they?

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