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Republican “Austerity”

So, let me get this straight…

After all the back and forth, pledges, promises, tough fiscal talk and discussions of shutdown… Republicans have agreed to pass another short term CR with a few billion dollars in cuts – all being jammed through tonight by voice vote and basically sight-unseen (classic Washington transparency). This to get us to next week.

Then, Republicans are likely going to cut a deal for something around $40 billion max (likely upper-30’s) of cuts, and not uphold their own pledge to cut $100 billion (much less the smaller amount of $61 billion originally offered), and then fail to draw even the faintest line in the sand on policies (so-called “riders”) of any significance, such as federal funding of Planned Parenthood (i.e. tax dollars used to support the death of hundreds of thousands of babies annually) or Obamacare.

Oh sure, Republican leadership will hide behind some symbolic votes in the Senate (which can easily be gained through any real effort anyway) and behind supposedly “significant” cuts of $39 billion, or some such.

Keep in mind that our national deficit – not debt, mind you, but annual deficit – this year alone will surpass $1.5 Trillion, and thus, the $39 billion in cuts represents well less than 3% of the hole we are digging…

Meanwhile, Paul Ryan is praised as the Second Coming for writing a budget that adds $6-9 trillion in debt, fails to touch social security, and is still well out of balance and hemorrhaging hundreds of billions of dollars in 10 years… and more importantly, the Ryan budget won’t even ever be implemented – at least not until 2013, that is if Republicans can find a candidate worth running, much less capable of winning.

So now we move to raising the federal debt ceiling for the umpteenth time without any significant structural change toward fiscal responsibility. Should we expect anything other than cutting a “deal” for a vote on the BBA or some other gesture as opposed to passage of the BBA (with a spending limit)?

Republicans clearly run scared from the 1995 Government shutdown despite the fact 1) Republicans gained 2 Senate seats and lost only 9 (if memory serves) House seats in a year when Bob Dole was acting as dead weight, 2) a shutdown only shuts down a portion of the federal government, 3) any shutdown saves at least some money and means less Washington interference in our lives, and 4) polls today indicate Americans would generally not be terribly bothered by such a shut down.

So instead of pushing hard for any real policy changes or truly significant, game-changing spending cuts – Republicans cut a deal for fear of being seen as obstructionist.

Leadership and fiscal austerity, Republican-style.

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