Republicans must be furious with David Frum. The man who wrote George W. Bush’s “axis of evil” speech is increasingly at odds with his party. On Saturday he wrote that the economy of the United States is far from full recovery:
A new survey by Rutgers University finds that 23% of Americans have lost a job (whether full-time or part-time) at some point in the past four years. Another 11% report a job loss by a member of their immediate family.
There are 12.3 million unemployed Americans today, and that number would be even higher if we counted those who have quit searching for work.
However, congressional Republicans — cheered on by Charles Krauthammer — have vowed to stand firm on budget cuts — even if it triggers the budget sequester. Frum writes:
The sequester ax is sharp. It will cut government spending in the next fiscal year by 0.5% of GDP and continue to chop deeper and deeper over the decade ahead, until an alternative budget deal is reached. A half a point does not sound like much, until you remember that the U.S. economy is growing at a rate of barely 2%.
Economists in the room will note that the U.S. budget deficit already is shrinking at the fastest rate since the end of Second World War: According to the Congressional Budget Office, the U.S. budget deficit is on track to decline by 3.7 percentage points between fiscal 2010 and the end of fiscal 2013 — without any changes in current policy at all. That would be a steeper deficit reduction than occurred during the booming 1990s.
Economists may also worry: Won’t accelerating the already rapid deficit-cutting with extra taxes and additional abrupt spending cuts risk pushing the U.S. back into recession — in the same way that premature budget-cutting in 1937 aborted the economic recovery of 1934-1936 and plunged the U.S. back into depression?
Europe has been down this road. It leads over the cliff. The Republicans have become the lemming party — happily marching into oblivion.