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Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) walks with House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) to a meeting with House Republicans on the
You can't be for it while you're against it
Just about everybody in Washington, DC says they are against the draconian spending cuts scheduled to begin on March 1 thanks to the 2011 debt limit crisis. The problem is, nobody is willing to support the easiest and most responsible way to avoid those cuts: dumping the sequester.

Take House Majority Whip Tom Cole of Oklahoma, for example. Yesterday on ABC's This Week, he said he was "absolutely" opposed to replacing the sequester's deficit reductions with a deal that includes revenue. The only thing he said he'd consider was "redistributing" the cuts, presumably to screw over people that he doesn't count as political allies.

But although Cole blamed the sequester on President Obama and said people "ought to be worried" about the impact it will have, he said it was "inevitable." The only thing that proves, however, is that Cole doesn't understand what the word inevitable means, because if Congress wants to avoid the sequester, it can simply repeal it.

As you'll see below the fold, while Cole was taking his hard line against revenue, Senator John McCain actually did the unthinkable, telling Fox News that he wouldn't rule out accepting new revenue as part of a deal to replace the sequester.

"Republicans and Democrats are responsible for the new cliff, and I'll take responsibility for it for the Republicans," McCain said on "Fox News Sunday. "But we've got to avoid it. We've got to stop it."

"Would I look at some revenue-closers? Maybe so," said McCain, sounding slightly more conciliatory than his House GOP counterparts. "But we already just raised taxes. Why do we have to raise taxes again?"

So you've got a top House Republican saying "absolutely" no revenue and a top Senate Republican saying "maybe so." Republicans in disarray! But wait, hold on a minute, because while they both say they are against the spending cuts in the sequester, neither one of them was willing to suggest just getting rid of it altogether.

Unfortunately, while Democrats and the White House have a far better approach to replacing the sequester than Republicans, they also have been unwilling to suggest repealing the sequester. That means they either believe they can use the sequester as leverage to push through a deficit reduction plan that they support or they are simply afraid of the political consequences of supporting repeal.

To be clear, the sequester isn't the absolute worst policy option on the table. The Republican plan to replace the sequester with cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other social insurance programs would be even worse. And the sequester might just be the only way to begin getting military spending under control. But given the state of the economy, this is no time for austerity, especially since the budget deficit has already dropped by 40 percent since the sequester was signed into law. Barring a deal to replace it with something better, we should repeal it—or at least postpone it for a couple of years.

And as for Washington politicians who say they are against the sequester but can't bring themselves to support simply getting rid of it, well, they aren't really against the sequester. You can be for it before you were against it, or you can be against it before you were for it, but you can't be for for it while you're against it.

Originally posted to The Jed Report on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 06:34 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Perhaps they could bundle it with the AUMF. (0+ / 0-)

    That would save a lot right there.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 06:46:18 AM PST

  •  Don't be silly, Jed! If they (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, asm121, glitterscale, twigg

    repealed the sequester, they might actually have to, you know, do SOMETHING!

    •  Except that, if they repeal the sequester, they (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bon Temps, PatriciaVa

      won't do anything.

      I've come to have a warm feeling for the sequester at the same time I have to laugh at the assorted folks who figured that it was just a showy gesture, sure that nobody would ever let it happen.

      The sequester is actually a brilliant way (in hindsight -- I can't believe any actual brilliant thought was involved at its inception) to move the conversation forward.

      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

      by dinotrac on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 07:56:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  600B in defense cuts over 10 years (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dinotrac, nextstep

        Dems will never do better.

        Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

        by PatriciaVa on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 08:14:39 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Respectfully, what is "brilliant" about it if it (0+ / 0-)

        (the Sequester) results in draconian cuts to Social Security and Medicare?

        And, BTW, don't worry about "repeal."

        The President threatened to "veto" any repeal of the sequester in 2011.
        Here's an excerpt from the November 21, 2011 Forbes piece, entitled "Obama: I Will Veto Attempts To Get Rid Of Automatic Spending Cuts."  And here's the link.
        President Barack Obama gave a press conference after the Supercommittee officially admitted it failed to reach an agreement to cut $1.2 trillion in budget spending over the next 10 years.  Obama told reporters he would veto any attempt to get rid of the automatic cuts which are set to kick in as a part of the sequester proposition, which will be triggered unless Congress reaches over the next year.

        Asking Congress to “work with a scalpel, not with a hatchet,” President Obama sought to provide the people, and markets, with a little hope.  Despite 'the Supercommittee' failing to agree on spending cuts for $1.2 trillion, Obama noted there’s still a year before automatic cuts kick in.

        So, whereas some folks may be perfectly satisfied with the status quo--striking a Grand Bargain by enacting draconian cuts to the social insurance programs--I hope that those in this community who do not support these cuts, will please call the White House, and their Senators and Congresspersons, asking that they repeal this ill-conceived and gimicky bill.

        Mollie

        "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

        "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

        by musiccitymollie on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 10:11:58 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Get your facts straight. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mwm341, Albanius

          It does NOT create draconian cuts in Medicare.

          Medicare cuts are limited to 2%.
          Not good, perhaps, but hardly draconian.

          Social Security will not be cut at all as it is exempt from sequestration -- both retirement and disability.

          So are Railroad Retirement benefits and VA benefits.

          The sequester takes a disproportionate swipe at defense spending.

          So...maybe you should do a little research and see if you still feel the same way about the sequester.

          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

          by dinotrac on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 11:33:06 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  On the other hand (0+ / 0-)

      If they do repeal it, could we attach "No Child Left Behind", and "The Patriot Act" to that vote?

      :: hopefully ::

      I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
      but I fear we will remain Democrats.

      Who is twigg?

      by twigg on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 10:12:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Austerity. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MKinTN, Cugel, cactusgal, quill, twigg

    I keep being reminded of the summer camp where we got four ounces of orange juice and a half a slice of toast for breakfast.
    It's a fancy word for abuse, that's all.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 06:49:47 AM PST

    •  Only One Who Can Force Austerity Down Our Throats? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      quill

      President Obama in his endless obsession with his idiotic "Grand Bargain". Here's what he keeps insisting is "still on the table":

      On the spending side of the ledger, Obama offered $800 billion in cuts, plus $130 billion in savings from adopting a new, less generous mechanism for adjusting Social Security benefits for inflation, the so-called "chained consumer price index" (CPI). To soften the blow to liberal Democrats like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who has warned against any roll-back of benefits, the White House proposed unspecified "tweaks" that will protect "the poorest social security recipients," the source said. Obama gets another $290 billion in interest payment savings.

      The president's proposed savings include $400 billion in health outlays, $200 billion in mandatory spending in other areas, and $200 billion in discretionary cuts — including $100 from the Pentagon. As described, it does not include a Republican push to raise the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67

      This is still "on the table" while Republicans want MORE, which means since Obama STARTED the "negotiations" in the middle of the road, any deal will have to be MUCH WORSE than even these unacceptable cuts.

      And every Democrat will be pressured into supporting this insanity.

      OUR ONLY HOPE IS REPUBLICAN INTRANSIGENCE and no deal. Hence, McCain's waffling is REALLY HORRIBLE NEWS. If this signals a GOP fold on "no new revenues" then Obama will jam this garbage down our throats as "painful but necessary medicine."

      And all we have to do is look at Britain to see what will happen next: Austerity = double dip recession.

      •  the problem with that is (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nextstep, VClib

        "no deal" means the sequester cuts happen in three weeks.

        The President is in a position of needing a deal in order to prevent the "austerity" that Democrats do not want.  

        The President put himself in this position when he proposed the sequester in 2011 -- where the sequester is now the default position.

        •  But, if the President would take back his "veto (0+ / 0-)

          threat," why couldn't it be repealed?

          I've heard Rep Chris Van Hollen, of all people, say that there is no reason that the sequester cannot be repealed (IOW, no law precludes the Congress from taking action to repeal the sequester.)

          The "austerity" you refer to is trading tax loopholes (which according to Bowles-Simpson will primarily fall on the lower and middle classes) for draconian cuts to Social Security and Medicare.  

          If I may ask, exactly what do you mean by preventing "the austerity that Democrats do not want?"

          It is beginning to appear that Democrats have decided to get on board with Pete Peterson's demands (see excerpt and link, below), and cut the social insurance programs, in order to funnel money to him and other billionaires, via a 'private infrastructure bank,' etc.

          Otherwise, why don't Democrats (and the White House) allow, and push for, military spending cuts?  Having worked with DOD for over twenty years, I can vouch for the fact that there is A LOT OF FAT TO CUT.

          I went through repeated RIFS and furloughs during my career.  These mechanisms are simply "budgetary tools," and have been used for decades. The "end of the world" scenario is ridiculous, at best.

          Bottom line, for the life of me, I cannot understand how anyone in Washington believes that the effect of temporary, short-term furloughs (mainly), could be any worse than the effect of cuts to seniors' pocketbooks, which will surely hamper their ability to participate in the broader economy.

          Why did you start the Peter G. Peterson Foundation?

          I think of my life as one of those great, only-in-America stories. And I want to do all I can to make sure that my own grandchildren and future generations of Americans benefit from a growing economy that provides abundant opportunities for success. This will require investments in areas such as education, research and development, and infrastructure that give rise to innovation and new jobs.

          Here's the link to the entire Q&A.

          IMHO, we need to cut military spending, not social programs, in order to "free up" money to spend on infrastructure, R&E, etc.

          BTW, don't mean to be contentious.  I agree with you on a lot of matters.  :-)

          Mollie

          "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

          "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

          by musiccitymollie on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 10:38:13 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The way to free up money is for Congress to loosen (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            musiccitymollie

            the purse strings.
            The idea that dollars first have to transit through banks and the bond market before the Congress can spend is ludicrous. All it does is remunerate a permanent class of middlemen who have grown accustomed to getting a cut of every public dollar spent. They're like highway men of old, except their holdup is enshrined in the laws. The outlaws are now inlaws. The illegal is not legal.

            We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

            by hannah on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 11:04:10 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  The sequester is a promise to engage in (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          musiccitymollie

          self-abuse. You are welcome to define that anyway you like.

          Cutting off your nose to spite your face is an old saying and, apparently, not without relevance.

          Sequester is also a fancy word for hoarding and rationing. Like austerity is sounds better, but the basic object is still abuse.

          And we wonder how come domestic abuse is so prevalent.

          We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

          by hannah on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 10:58:35 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  The Great Depression II (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        twigg, musiccitymollie

        Was only avoided during the Bush II, [the war criminal] recession of 2007, because of Social Security.

        Imagine if 55 million elderly and disabled people had not had SS to protect them from the ravages of that recession.

        I am being somewhat redundant, but the solution to SS is not cuts of any kind.

        The solution is to remove the cap on FICA taxation for the wealthiest earners and include dividend and capital gains income for FICA taxation just like labor income.

        Bernie Sanders, [I], Vermont introduced such a bill in 2012. It sits in committee unable to make it to the Senate floor for a vote.

        Contact YOUR US Senators and urge them to bring the Sanders bill to the floor for a vote.

        BTW, sequestration is no something either party wants to avoid. It is part of the effort to consolidate the power of the MIC under privatized corporate power dominated and controlled by the wealthy elite.

        Neither party wants to stop sequestration.

    •  There is only one problem with austerity. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      musiccitymollie

      It only ever hurts the poor and lower paid. I'll extend that to much of the middle class, who are all wage-earners of one sort or another.

      Austerity NEVER affects anyone who votes for it, or their families, or anyone with sufficient resources to ride it out.

      They do not share the sacrifice, they simply demand it of us.

      When austerity can be made into a shared sacrifice, then I will support it but I rather suspect that it wouldn't be necessary.

      I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
      but I fear we will remain Democrats.

      Who is twigg?

      by twigg on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 10:15:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It doesn't really matter whom abuse affects. (0+ / 0-)

        Even the abuser is reduced in stature when he gets away with depriving his own kind of the necessities of life. If s/he's been tasked with actually providing, then the offense is double.

        We have to reject the notion that humans have to deserve to live. If they have a right to life, then they are entitled to live and somebody has an obligation to see that they do. In the interest of efficiency, we have delegated those obligations to representatives assembled in Congress. So, if they don't carry out their obligations then, like the unjust steward in the Bible, they have to be sacked.
        The Congress has jurisdiction over all national natural resources and public assets, including the currency.  If they can't manage, then they need to, like Ratzinger, resign.

        The Congress seems full of extortionists.  What do they want to extort? Votes. How do they mean to accomplish that? By visiting deprivation on everyone who has voted on wrong so next time they'll vote right and the less-deprived can say to themselves "there but for my Republican vote, go I."
        Or, think how much the dead-beat dad is loved when he comes home from the pub without a dime and doesn't take it out of the children's hide, after all. What a good dad!

        We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

        by hannah on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 11:16:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  If only Mitt had won. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cactusgal, Aquarius40
  •  Completely wishful thinking (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib, JeffW, dinotrac, nextstep

    The sequester was the President's proposal last time around in order to get a deal with the Republicans.  And when the President talks about how much he's cut spending, he counts the sequester as spending cuts he's enacted.  

    Unless you think that you're going to convince the Republicans that we don't need to cut spending any more, there's no chance in hell that the sequester just gets repealed.  And, as long as spending hovers around 24% of GDP, there's no way that you're going to convince Republicans that we don't need to cut spending.  

    If the President, tomorrow night, takes a tact of "I've changed my mind since 2011 when I proposed the sequester, we don't need to cut spending," there were but ZERO chance that the sequester doesn't happen.  If he does that, there won't even be a deal to replace it with something else at that point.  People like McCain would never -- not in a million years -- simply agree to give up those spending cuts in exchange for nothing (as they see it).  

    I don't want the sequester to happen.  That's why I hope the President DOESN'T adopt the view you are advocating, because I think that would be the surest way to assure that the sequester DOES happen.  

    •  But if the sequester actually happens, there (0+ / 0-)

      will be real pressure on the GOP because the sequester makes significant cuts in defense spending -- maybe not as much as we really need, but a lot more than anybody's been willing to actually do.

      Those lovely defense contractors will be making a lot of noise to deal.

      A smart negotiator will leave some of them unhappy.

      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

      by dinotrac on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 07:58:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  dino - I think the consensus among the GOP (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dinotrac, nextstep, coffeetalk

        is growing that the sequester is the only budget cuts that are going to happen during the 113th Congress so, while they don't like the defense cuts, it's the price for spending reductions and they will take it. The House isn't going to put more revenue on the table for the balance of the 113th Congress unless it is part of a comprehensive tax deal. I think the GOP would respond to a different set and maybe a somewhat smaller number of cuts, but as long as the President requires more revenue, the sequester will happen.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 08:09:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think that's exactly right. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dinotrac, VClib

          As I heard one Republican say this weekend, "why would I give up spending cuts in exchange for tax increases?"  

          And as some pointed out, only something like 15 of the House Republicans come from districts the President carried, so the fact that they are opposing the President won't hurt House Republicans at all.  

      •  dinotrac, Republicans will not make cuts to the (0+ / 0-)

        defense budget, without deep cuts to the social insurance programs.

        So how is this "austerity measure," a winner for the American People?

        Mollie

        "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

        "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

        by musiccitymollie on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 11:35:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Republicans will be between a rock and a hard (0+ / 0-)

          place.

          The cuts will already be made, and the cuts to Defense will be the biggest cuts of all.

          Medicate will be only lightly touched and Social Security not at all.

          It'll be like a zero-based budgeting session -- give a little, get a little.

          But Defense has a lot more to give.

          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

          by dinotrac on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 11:49:12 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Hey, dinotrac, I'm for defense being cut, as (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            dinotrac

            I've previously stated, but I'm wondering how you're so sure that there will not be cuts to Social Security?  Where did you hear this?

            And Medicare touched "lightly?"  That's news, too.

            I hope that you are correct, believe me.  

            But I'm very dubious because of all that I've read and heard, including the President's own words from his February 5th Press Conference (below).

            Both the President and Jay Carney (as his Press Secretary) say that he is willing to cut "entitlement programs."

            This is documented.

            Here's a brief excerpt, and link to just one incident.

            PRESIDENT OBAMA:  The proposals that I put forward during the fiscal cliff negotiations in discussions with Speaker Boehner and others are still very much on the table.  I just want to repeat: The deals that I put forward, the balanced approach of spending cuts and entitlement reform and tax reform that I put forward are still on the table.

            I’ve offered sensible reforms to Medicare and other entitlements, and my health care proposals achieve the same amount of savings by the beginning of the next decade as the reforms that have been proposed by the bipartisan Bowles-Simpson fiscal commission.

            These reforms would reduce our government’s bill -- (laughter.) What’s up, cameraman? (Laughter.) Come on, guys. (Laughter.) They’re breaking my flow all the time. (Laughter.)

            [This transcript is linked directly to the White House website.]

            Mollie

            "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

            "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

            by musiccitymollie on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 12:19:58 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You can read about it here: (0+ / 0-)

              www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R42050.pdf

              LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

              by dinotrac on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 12:52:46 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Respectfully, this document has nothing to do (0+ / 0-)

                with the subject that I'm discussing.  

                Since you didn't "point out what you believe is pertinent in this document," I'll venture to guess that you may mean this:

                Section 255 contains a list of programs and activities that are exempt from sequestration.

                • Social Security benefits (old-age, survivors, and disability) and Tier 1 Railroad Retirement benefits.

                • All programs administered by the VA, and special benefits for certain World War II veterans. . . .

                This list has nothing to do with my point.

                I am aware that the social insurance programs were not written into the "sequester" legislation.

                That is a given.  Had they been, Social Security and Medicare could not have been used as pawns, or bargaining chips "to avoid sequestration."

                I'm not sure how much more direct that I can be.

                Here's the bottom line:  If there was a true desire to ensure that our social insurance program remain intact, the sequester would be appealed.  But the Administration in a formal Press Conference, took that possibility "off-the-table."

                Now, that obviously gives the Republicans the "upper-hand" in demanding that entitlements be cut, in exchange for the tax revenue that the Administration desires.

                Between that explanation, and the scores of references in the Mainstream Media regarding the Administration's willingness to put entitlements "on-the-table," I can't offer any more proof.

                The brief that you cite, simply explains that the programs in the list are not a part of the sequestration package.  

                No where does it say that the Administration cannot "bargain with" these programs, in order to stop sequestration.

                Get back to me, if you can point that out, LOL!  But, seriously, pretty sure that won't happen.  

                That's what this entire "Kabuki Theather" is all about.  It's to set up the excuse ("hostage taking") that the Administration "had no choice" but to cut Social Security and Medicare if they wanted more revenue.

                And yet, we all know that they could have let all the Bush tax cuts expired (and then reinstated the middle-class tax cuts), if there sole purpose had been to raise tax revenues.

                It looks like we'll just have to 'agree to disagree' on this one.  :-)  But thanks for the discussion.

                Mollie

                "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

                "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

                by musiccitymollie on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 01:22:32 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  You need to understand how negotiations work. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  musiccitymollie

                  Basically, each side has goals they wish to achieve and trade concessions in order to achieve their goals.

                  Look a little more carefully at that document and try to understand it in the context of negotiations:

                  Social Security is off the table.
                  Medicare is scarcely touched.
                  In fact, things like Medicaid, housing assistance, lots of stuff directly related to caring for the needy are untouched.

                  Non-defense programs are cut by a smaller amount than defense programs.

                  In other words, after the sequester, Democrats have a stronger hand than Republicans. They can offer very generous concessions fro defense programs in exchange for maintaining or even increasing current non-defense programs.

                  Seriously, Republicans are badly screwed by sequester if Democrats will simply have the courage and intelligence to play their hand properly.

                  LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                  by dinotrac on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 02:20:38 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Hey, I appreciate your response, but I give up (0+ / 0-)

                    trying to explain what I'm saying.

                    As as far as "understanding how negotiations work"--I understand quite well.  

                    As I've mentioned to coffeetalk, I have over 20 years with the DOD, and budgeting was a part of my duties as the Administrator over the entire branch of Army Community Services.  I believe that I understand very well what is going on, and why.

                    I believe that you view this process not from the budgetary standpoint (as I do), but from a political strategic or tactical standpoint.  And I believe that's why we aren't communicating effectively, LOL!

                    But, that okay.  As I've said, we can just "agree to disagree."

                    I actually hope you're right.  But I am convinced that most of the Bowles-Simpson recommendations will be implemented, including the several recommendations to cut Social Security.

                    If I am wrong, and if this has not happened by the end of the President's second term, I'll be more than happy "to eat crow."  And I'll even find you! :-)

                    Mollie

                    "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

                    "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

                    by musiccitymollie on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 02:52:52 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I hope I'm right, too. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      musiccitymollie

                      This is the best chance we've had in years to actually put a dent in defense spending, which, as you know, is very well protected by a web of interlocking contracts that give every person in Congress a vested interest in, at the very least, preserving it.

                      But you're right, too.  Nothing guarantees that the hand will be played properly.  It will take a little bit of courage and a little bit of skill.  Makes me long for Bill Clinton, frankly.

                      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                      by dinotrac on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 04:36:50 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

  •  and while your at it - (0+ / 0-)

    Repeal the Authorization to Use Military Force and restort the Congressional control of war powers.

    How about that?

    No one ever mentions this neo-con wet dream made true.

    This is the basis for our on-going military (mis-)adventures that are sapping the Treasury and spawning ever more enemies.

    The AUMF effectively transfers critical authority clearly and specifically defined as Congressional to the Executive branch.

    This is what allows the President to unilaterally conduct drone war, etc.

    Where are all our Constitutionalists on that one?

    chirp chirp chirp.

    •  Drone Wars are much more cost effective than.. (0+ / 0-)

      ...troops on the ground.

      And in 25 years, don't be shocked if the US no longer has manned jets, and their very expensive life support systems.

      Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

      by PatriciaVa on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 08:17:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  but what cost? (0+ / 0-)

        The implicit assumption is that endless war is a given and therefore, the economic cost to pursue it is a priority.

        Drone costs in short term dollars may be lower than troops on the ground, but the long term costs are incomprehensible.

        Ever expanding hate and opposition to United States - how much will that "cost"?

        Ever escalating development of drones and support systems - how much will that "cost"?

        Inevitable drone counter attacks on United States targets - embassies, ships, airlines, etc. - how much will that "cost"?

        We have always been at war with Oceania.

  •  Where we went wrong (0+ / 0-)

    Instead of cuts to the military as the Republican side of the sequester, a better thing to FORCE them to act would have been tax increases on the business sector.  
    #maybenexttime

    Minority rights should never be subject to majority vote.

    by lostboyjim on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 07:53:08 AM PST

  •  While the plan may be fool-proof, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cactusgal

    Congress is not.

    I believe in democracy, civil liberties, and the rule of law. That makes me a liberal, and I’m proud of it. - Paul Krugman

    by Gentle Giant on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 07:56:17 AM PST

  •  someone in the "media" needs to (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cactusgal, Aquarius40, wishingwell

    ask the Republicans why they voted for the sequester

    •  Because the President proposed it (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nextstep, VClib

      as a way to have the spending cuts they demanded in exchange for raising the debt ceiling in 2011.  In other words, it was guaranteed spending cuts if Congress did nothing.  In exchange for those spending cuts, they voted to raise the debt ceiling.

      •  yes, so in other words they could not (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        musiccitymollie

        actually propose their own spending cuts before the election, so they agreed to this stupid publicity stunt and now they will not accept responsibility for it.  That is what should be reported

      •  If that was the only motive, the President wanting (0+ / 0-)

        guaranteed spending cuts if Congress did nothing--why did he threaten a "veto" after the Supercommittee failed to reach a "Grand Bargain."

        It appears that the Administration wanted only "one kind of cut"--to the social insurance programs.

        Remember, Stephanie Cutter mentioned on a Sunday show, yesterday, that the "sequester" was proposed because the Administration did not think that the Republicans would allow it to go through, as is.  

        The Administration seems to have wanted this as a "bargaining chip" for revenue or tax increases, in exchange for agreeing to massive (and matching) cuts to Social Security and Medicare, as concessions (obstensibly) to Republicans.

        Nothing else make sense.

        Mollie

        "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

        "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

        by musiccitymollie on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 11:52:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Repeal would be an admission of fact. (0+ / 0-)

    It is a widely observed, repeatedly proven and easily testable scientific theory that the Republican House is totally incapable of any serious problem solving. And you know how the teahadists feel about scientific theory.

  •  Nothing is foolproof if the GOP is involved (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite

    eom

  •  Revenue? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib

    If Obama (and other Democrats) wanted revenue, all they had to do was take the suggestion of Howard Dean and other sensible people; just let those tax cuts, expire, period. And tell the Repugnikans that you're not negotiating with them, period.

    •  Hear, Hear! N/T (0+ / 0-)

      Mollie

      "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

      "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

      by musiccitymollie on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 10:42:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  roberb - I had advocated letting all the Bush (0+ / 0-)

      tax cuts expire in 2010 and 2012. That would have generated nearly $400 Billion of annual revenue increases. That's REAL revenue, not just nibbling around the edges.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 10:45:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  McCain walking back that comment in 3, 2, ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite
    •  Never mind McCain. It's all Kabuki. Republicans (0+ / 0-)

      are "foaming at the mouth" over cutting tax expenditures.

      It favors the wealthy. And coporations.  This overhaul will go to committee, most of us will never even hear which "loopholes" went.

      And, if by some chance the wealthy lose a couple of theirs, lobbyists will get them back for them at a later date--again, we'll hear nothing about it.

      It's a win-win situation for those who don't want the wealthy to take more hits, and who want to lower marginal corporate tax rates.

      Mollie

      "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

      "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

      by musiccitymollie on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 10:46:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  "Rope a dope" comes to mind in this situation? (0+ / 0-)
  •  Actually... (0+ / 0-)

    I think the Republicans are trying to be AGAINST the sequester while also being AGAINST being AGAINST the sequester. Get it right, dude!!!  

    "Why you gotta act like you know when you don't know?" - Ben Folds

    by RNinNC on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 08:13:43 AM PST

  •  The sequester should be delayed until ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corwin

    the economy grows at least 3% for 4 consecutive quarters. Then it will take effect in 6 months.

    But reducing all this spending right after the 4th quarter's -0.1% growth number is fucking insane.

    Gee, it's almost as if the GOP wants us to go back into recession.

  •  Why not just go totally nuts with this thing? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bryduck

    Replace the "Greenback" with Blue Dollars.  Declare all Greenbacks null, void, and non-exchangeable for Blue Dollars outside the United States.  Declare null and void all foreign-held stashes of Greenbacks and all foreign-held bonds and debts formerly exercised via the Greenback.  Tell the world that "from now on, they have to buy our stuff from us with Blue Dollars --- and then manipulate the living hell out of the new currency (just like China, but put it on some serious steroids).

    The rest of the world no longer owns half of America; they're no longer sucking the life out of the economy through interest payments on debt, and since they probably won't want our new mney, we'll actually have to start manufacturing stuff in the US again.

    Hey --- it's been a crazy day, okay?

    Proponents of gun violence own guns. Opponents of gun violence do not own guns. What part of this do you not understand?

    by Liberal Panzer on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 08:15:11 AM PST

    •  Crazy it may be, but a *total* reset (0+ / 0-)

      may be the only way to square this circle without completely killing what is left of the middle class. I'm not sure what you'd do with held wealth, but returning the estate tax to somewhere north of 50% would help. We are supposed to be a meritocratic country, after all.
      Dreams . . .

      "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

      by bryduck on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 09:14:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  LP - Wow, we could be a third world country too (0+ / 0-)

      that does not fulfill its obligations to other nations and people outside our shores, what a great idea. NOT.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 10:48:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  We're kinda-sorta doing that right now. (0+ / 0-)

        But "wiping the slate" and shifting to a "tabula rasa" methodology would effectively wipe out the hyper-profiteers that have trashed our economy and came within a smidgen of bringing down the world economy.  Once they're effectively out of the way, we make good with everyone else, and leave the so-called "Masters of the Universe" treading swill....

        Proponents of gun violence own guns. Opponents of gun violence do not own guns. What part of this do you not understand?

        by Liberal Panzer on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 01:44:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  And still the media refuses to call out the GOP (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skod

    on the undeniable reality that the majority of the debt and deficit is their fault, by voting for 2 hugely expensive wars we didn't need, massive increases in spending on Cold War era military programs, Medicare C (Advantage) & D (Rx), huge tax cuts for the rich, and deregulation that caused the crash of 2008.

    The media acts as if the massive deficit just sort of happened, and was not mostly caused by the people who are now calling for it to be lowered by cutting spending that didn't cause it. They should be pilloried, not respected.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 08:18:25 AM PST

  •   I wrote about this the other day.... (0+ / 0-)

    If you take the Road Runner Cartoons and put that creature and make him the Economy, well....you can see where I am going with this.

  •  I'm willing to agree with McCain (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    musiccitymollie

    Both dems and rethugs created this frankenoid all by themselves. We in the hinterland did not ask them to do this.

    WHY did they do it? Why because they wanted to force themselves into doing something unpalatable. And what was that something? Screwing with medicare, ss and medicaid.

    It was "nice" of them to acknowledge how unpalatable screwing us is.

    American Television is a vast sea of stupid. -xxdr zombiexx

    by glitterscale on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 08:52:16 AM PST

  •  Not gonna happen since it would mean.... (0+ / 0-)

    ...the reversal of an Obama decision.

    Little Big Man (1970)
     the reversal of a Custer decision.

    Jack Crabb: You're not going to hang me?

    Gen. Custer: Your miserable life is not worth the reversal of a Custer decision.

    Crabb: That was the worst thing he could have done to me.
    There was nothing left of my self-respect at all.

    That's how Obama makes liberals feel all the time.
  •  I find it hilarious that Obama (and kossacks) (0+ / 0-)

    can talk about how dire these "draconian" cuts are and in the same breath demand higher taxes.

    Congress and Obama just took $120 Billion per year out of the pockets of the working class by not extending the payroll tax holiday.  That's $1.2 Trillion dollars over the next ten years.

    Where was the hue and cry and concern about the economy over that move?

    Where are the calls for no more tax increases because of what they will do to the economy???

    Y'all are pretty funny.. taking funds directly out of the economy is good.. (About $350 Billion per year with the new taxes plus rescinding the payroll tax holiday) - But, not spending is "dire" and "draconian" and will drive the economy into a new recession???

    So, please.. stop this shit about how bad a mere $100 Billion in cuts will be to the economy.  If you cared about the economy, you wouldn't be pro-tax and in favor of draining hundreds of billions from the economy in the first place!

  •  "Redistributing the cuts" is Republican code for (0+ / 0-)

    exempting the Defense department from the sequester.

    Just when you thought there wasn't a dime's worth of difference between the two parties, the Republicans go and prove you're wrong.

    by shoeless on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 10:13:20 AM PST

  •  They will make a new law ... (0+ / 0-)

    Extending February to 31 days.  Taking back a day from March, May and July to give themselves a extra 72 hours to figure something out

  •  What happens during appropriation? (0+ / 0-)

    I have a question.  Congress has to go through budgeting and appropriations this year.   How does the sequester override future Congressional budgeting and appropriations?

    If Congress budgets and appropriates more than is allowed by the sequester in the next budget and appropriation cycle doesn't that override the sequester?

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