Feb 25 2013

Congressional Game of Chicken: Sequester

(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

“Just pass a one sentence bill that repeals sequestration” an idea that was posed by Up with Chris Hayes host Chris Hayes in the last segment of his Sunday show. So why isn’t that “on the table?”

Sequestration, when it was proposed, was supposed to be such a terrible economic idea that it would force Democrats and Republicans to come to “reasonable” agreement about the economy and implementing sound economic policies that would stimulate economic growth, create jobs and, in the long term reduce the deficit/debt that our elected officials and the traditional main stream media are agonizing over. The truth of the matter is, that regardless who is to blame (my opinion both parties are equally responsible), neither side wants to just end this insanity, not even Pres. Barack Obama, who “refuses to kill sequestration“, as William K. Black, former bank regulator and professor of law and economics, points out:

President Obama has revealed his real preferences in the current blame game by not calling for a clean bill eliminating the Sequester. It is striking that as far as I know (1) neither Obama nor any administration official has called for the elimination of the Sequester and (2) we have a fairly silly blame game about how the Sequester was created without discussing the implications of Obama’s continuing failure to call for the elimination of the Sequester despite his knowledge that it is highly self-destructive.

The only logical inference that can be drawn is that Obama remains committed to inflicting the “Grand Bargain” (really, the Grand Betrayal) on the Nation in his quest for a “legacy” and continues to believe that the Sequester provides him the essential leverage he feels he needs to coerce Senate progressives to adopt austerity, make deep cuts in vital social programs, and to begin to unravel the safety net. Obama’s newest budget offer includes cuts to the safety net and provides that 2/3 of the austerity inflicted would consist of spending cuts instead of tax increases. When that package is one’s starting position the end result of any deal will be far worse.

In any event, there is a clear answer to how to help our Nation. Both Parties should agree tomorrow to do a clean deal eliminating the Sequester without any conditions. By doing so, Obama would demonstrate that he had no desire to inflict the Grand Betrayal.

digby noticed Hayes’ comment, too:

As I’ve said a thousand times, this was not written in stone, it did not come down from Mt Sinai, it was an agreement that was struck to save face in the moment and it can be unstruck at any time. There is nothing absolutely requiring the congress to go through with this. There is some discussion that the only way this can happen is if the people see that government services they need are being affected and then put pressure on the government to end this game of chicken. Maybe that’s true. But let’s not kid ourselves that it isn’t a purely political bind these people have gotten themselves into. This goes back to the ill-fated 2011 Grand Bargain negotiations in which both the White House and the Republicans in the House bungled things so badly that we are still dealing with the fallout.

H/T Atrios

Joining Chris and Prof. Black for a lively panel discussion of “the anatomy of the sequester” were Neera Tanden, president and CEO for Center for American Progress; Steve Ellis,  vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense; and Phyllis Bennis, director of the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies.

1 comment

  1. TMC

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