The Tea Party Job-Killers

By the end of the day, Congress and the President will have enacted legislation to take much more money out of the economy than the Stimulus bill put into it in February 2009 with tax cuts and infrastructure investments to offset the effects of a looming Depression.

The $787 billion back then is dwarved by the estimated $2.5 trillion in cuts to the budget over a decade by an agreement that will be passed as the price of raising the debt ceiling.

What’s changed since then is not the slow, precarious recovery of the American economy but the phenomenon of a social movement transformed into a political force by the 2010 elections that, in the words of a New York Times editorial, has led to “a nearly complete capitulation to the hostage-taking demands of Republican extremists…

“Reasonable people are forced to give in to those willing to endanger the national interest.”

This is happening despite the warning of the bipartisan Bowles-Simpson commission, which has advised against spending cuts for at least a year to protect the economic rebound.

“Their fear, and the fear that I share,” says Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin diplomatically, “is that if we make spending cuts at this point, it will not help economic recovery.”

Robert Reich, who was secretary of labor under Bill Clinton, puts it more flatly: “The heinous deal is preferable to economic catastrophe. The outrage and shame is it has come to this choice.”

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Author: ROBERT STEIN

  • superdestroyer

    Considering that there are vritually no cuts in the first two years, the deficit cap deal is a complete win for the Bush-wing of the Republican Party (the borrow and spend Republicans) and a huge win for the big city machine Democrats who have put off evertyhing until after the next election when they have a good ahcne of regaining control of the House.

    The budget deal is a massive loss for fiscal conservatives since all of the proposed cuts in the out years will never occur but there is no cuts in the next two years.

    The Tea Party got nothing out of deal that they do not already have: No tax raises until after January 2013 and no new spending programs until January 2013.

    All this deal means is that massive spending will continue and that taxes will eventually go up by a huge amount. The idea that this means that spending will ever be cut is laughable.

  • DLS

    “Don’t harm the recovery,” say the liberal defenders of big spending that promptly insist on higher taxes. That Liberal Hypocrisy, Again!

  • http://wideeyedandreal.blogspot.com ProfElwood

    Again, here’s the idea that A) we’re in a normal recession, which can be covered over in the usual way, and B) we can borrow an unlimited amount. Both have been proven wrong.

    I can understand caution when changing direction, because changes cause their own problems, but doubling (more like quadrupling) down on a failed philosophy is insane.

  • Absalon

    We can borrow an “unlimited” amount. The people who have every incentive to judge if the US can pay back its borrowings demanded very small rates on the bonds.

    Austerity never works. Cutting discretionary spending is bad. Raising taxes is good. Economics is not a morality fable.

  • http://wideeyedandreal.blogspot.com ProfElwood

    Oh wait it’s Tuesday.

    Run! Hide! The ceiling hasn’t been lifted and there’s chaos in the streets! I never knew canes could cause so bloody a mess! AUUUGH! The stock market’s dead. Nobody warned us that could go negative!!!
    Even professor Krugman, as the new head of the Fed, is saying that it will be months to get this fixed. He’s saying it won’t be safe before December of 2012, and he’s NEVER BEEN WRONG!

    Don’t wait, gather up food and hide until it’s over. SAVE YOURSELVES!!!!

  • DaGoat

    The $787 billion back then is dwarved by the estimated $2.5 trillion in cuts to the budget over a decade by an agreement that will be passed as the price of raising the debt ceiling.

    A one-time $787 billion stimulus is dwarved by $250 billion per year cuts, most of which won’t even kick in for two years? You’re comparing a one-time expenditure to a long term plan. Other than the benefit of stabilizing the market I don’t see much short term effect on the recession.

  • DLS

    The credit rating agencies were expecting at least $4 trillion in cuts.

  • JSpencer

    There’s good reason why so many are unsatisfied on left and right. I think a more sane agreement could have taken place had the new extortion wing of the GOP not been running the show. I truly believe that had the Bush tax cuts not been off the table, many democrats would have been willing to see more cuts (including entitlements) for the simple reason that matters of principle and fairness are still important to a lot of people.

  • http://wideeyedandreal.blogspot.com ProfElwood

    @JSpencer

    The only “sane” agreement would have included some of the fundamental reforms that congress has been avoiding for decades.

    I simply don’t see how anyone can think that the course that led us here was “sane”.

  • Absalon

    “I simply don’t see how anyone can think that the course that led us here was “sane”.”

    If giving poor people enough health care to live and retire with some vestiges of dignity and also having the same municipalities and governmental institutions that all nations have leads to “insane” spending, then it’s the nation, not the idea of government, that is failing.

    No reform leads to financial collapse and social collapse. Bad, cutting-obsessed and Randian “reform” leads to financial collapse for everyone but the rich or sheltered and therefore social collapse.

    Until democrats see that the “fiscal conservatives” are ready to pay for THEIR OWN MISTAKES with new tax hikes (or letting tax cuts meant to expire ACTUALLY EXPIRE) then why should they bother with their own ideological excesses? If independents and “centrists” won’t condemn terrorist tactics used against democrats, why shouldn’t the democrats at least hold out as long as possible to protect the welfare-dependent, women, the poor, the environment and all the other entities that bother republicans so?

    You and Logan need to realize that democrats have no incentive to be the Big Person and take the first painful step in good faith. Especially not with “moderates” like yourselves. Catering to people like you is not an electorally or politically safe prospect.

    Congress IS doing its job: reflecting the citizenry. And you guys are mostly bullsh**.

  • LOGAN PENZA

    Catering to people who condemn everyone they disagree with about anything as “terrorists” and “nazis” is pointless. When the other side refuses to concede even the most basic level of decency, there is no possibility of compromise or even rational discussion. Such rhetoric leads only towards violence.

    Civility isn’t something that is just nice to have. It is an essential precondition for democratic debate. Demonization is a tool for authoritarianism, because when all dissent is ascribed to evil, there is no quarter and no “rights” for evil.

  • Jim Satterfield

    I wouldn’t call the Tea Party terrorists, but extortiosts would be quite accurate.

  • LOGAN PENZA

    All political conflict involves extortion. We only object to it when the side we disagree with wins one.

  • http://wideeyedandreal.blogspot.com ProfElwood

    The problem isn’t the existence of social programs, but their growth and resistance to reform (which also applies to a lot of other programs). Reform just isn’t something that governments DO. It’s historically been something that’s done to them, and it’s never pretty.

  • Allen

    Yes it’s the TERRORIST tea party that hold’s a gun to the head of government. Compromise is not in the TERRORIST lexicon. Nor is respect for the majority. One don’t have to guess how these TERRORISTS would deal with a minority.

  • Allen

    Prof-

    I would say that the Defense Department program is pretty darn resistant to reform.

  • SteveinCH

    Allen,

    You would be wrong. In my lifetime, defense spending has gone up and it has gone down. Entitlement spending has gone in only one direction and that direction shows no signs of changing.

  • http://wideeyedandreal.blogspot.com ProfElwood

    @Allen

    Of course military spending is too high (war is just another big government program). That only reinforces my point.

  • DLS

    It was said:

    The only “sane” agreement would have included some of the fundamental reforms that congress has been avoiding for decades.

    Yes, of course. Spending is the problem, and entitlements are at the root of so much spending. Anything serious called “budget reform” would have entitlement reform paramount. Everything else is dwarfed.

    There was no need for big tax increases in this agreement, much less the logically and morally defective tax-warfare gimmicks sought in the name of words appealing to the similar defective: “fairness,” “shared sacrificed,” “balanced” if it got into a deal.

    Tax increases are essential in the future because even reformed entitlements will remain the Godzilla of the federal budget, and the population is going to be aging, causing entitlements to grow substantially. Everyone already has known or should have known that.

    What there is no excuse for is tax gimmickry and political weaponry (wielded in a scummy as well as destructive manner) rather than true reform, which means eliminating all complications and special favors in tax law and treating everyone or everything equally or neutrally. (With the income tax that would mean ending all the deductions and exemptions, ending disparate treatment of different forms of income, and selecting a single tax rate to apply to everything. Everything else is inferior. Something inferior no doubt will be sought, probably as a bargain with those still wanting political weaponry, but hopefully the number of different rates will be limited as will be their sizes.)

    Far better is to convert to a consumption tax system (abolish the income taxes and someday, wealth taxes), and make other taxes that are kept objective (completely revising property taxes in this country, ending the assessed value racket and going to taxing area, which is objective and easy to measure objectively, etc.).

    It’s so plainly evident what the best things are, but so difficult to get there with all the baggage that comes with the way things are now, and of course unlikely it ever will be anywhere as good as it could be.

  • DLS

    It was noted:

    Compromise is not in the TERRORIST lexicon.

    We’re encountering that characteristic (revealed) (?) heavily this week on far-lefty talk radio and on MSNBC.

  • Allen

    The Tea Party legislative Terrorists, that are controlling the Republican party, do not care about jobs. They care about tax cuts for their rich masters. If they cared about jobs they would have handled this debate in an entirely different manor. For one, they would not have put the entire country at risk with a Default on National Debt. Stupidly, they hadn’t even realized that it would have taken a hell of a lot more tax to recover from the destructive damage caused by the default they sought, even openly prayed for. In the end, they have achieved nothing, but the entire world considering them typified fascists.

  • http://blog.360.yahoo.com/blog-cjQ4r_Y_cqXPXpxyIWQePYrgXHbB NICK RIVERA

    I gotta agree with Logan on this one.

    Referring to the political opposition as “terrorists” is beyond the pale.

    These kind of ad hominem attacks have absolutely no place in a rational debate.

  • DLS

    I’m the one that said it should be “extortionists” rather than “terrorists.” The correct word also can be a pejorative or be used in a vicious way, but it is correct here.

    (That’s lost, presumably, on the libs-n-Dems who now ape the Tea Party opposition to the budget deal before the vote on it was taken. Extortion, yes, similar courage or daring, no, of course.)