The new budget agreement announced yesterday by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) was immediately denounced by right wingers. What is important to note here is that the tentative budget agreement accomplishes almost every Republican objective. From Bloomberg....
The bipartisan plan would set U.S. spending at about $1.01 trillion for this fiscal year, higher than the $967 billion required in a 2011 budget plan. The agreement sets spending for defense at $520.5 billion and for non-defense at $491.8 billion.
The accord would reduce the budget deficit by $20 billion to $23 billion, the lawmakers said. It would ease the automatic spending cuts known as sequestration by $40 billion in 2014 and about $20 billion in 2015.
The agreement also cushions the military from a $19 billion cut scheduled next month as part of the across-the-board cuts that lawmakers from both sides warned would hollow out the military and cost U.S. jobs.
The only concern conservatives had with the sequester was defense spending. "Real" conservatives wanted to replace all defense cuts with cuts to entitlements. Instead, the Ryan-Murray budget proposal leaves entitlements alone while partially protecting against sequester defense cuts. But what's very important to note here is that the proposal reduces the budget deficit by over $20 billion.
That's not good enough for the people responsible for shutting the government down a couple months ago....
Chris Chocola, president of the fiscally hawkish Club for Growth, “Apparently, there are some Republicans who don’t have the stomach for even relatively small spending reductions that are devoid of budgetary smoke and mirrors. If Republicans work with Democrats to pass this deal, it should surprise no one when Republican voters seek alternatives who actually believe in less spending when they go to the ballot box.”
The political war on the right is raging....or at least that's what the GOP wants us to think. Even Speaker Boehner acted peeved at the conservative response....."They’re (Club For Growth, Americans For Prosperity, FreedomWorks) using our members and the American people to their own purposes,” an angry Mr. Boehner said. “This is ridiculous.”
Meanwhile, extended unemployment benefits are not part of the budget deal.....which means that over 1 million long term unemployed will take a hit come January.
More deficit reduction, punishing the long term unemployed, and restoring a good portion of sequester cuts to defense is simply not good enough for radicalized conservatives who long to metaphorically drown the federal government in a bathtub....as long as that drowning results in reduced taxes and regulations on the privileged 1% class.
My cynical self wonders if Republicans are playing a pretend game of good-Republican...bad-Republican here. Republicans pretending they are in disagreement over a budget proposal which....like Obamacare....has been their plan all along. I mean...cutting deficits and unemployment benefits during a high unemployment recession is not a liberal, or even progressive, effort.....but rather a hard core conservative one.
The Koch-funded conservative pimp groups rush out to oppose the Republican-leaning plan. Name brand confederates like Newt and Marco and Ted and Rand publicly denounce the proposal. Ryan explains that there are enough votes to pass the mostly-Republican plan....and if he's correct....the country moves incrementally to the right. See how that works?
Our nation's authentic controllers, the oligarchs, play a long game. It's a generational game. It's a game where patience is essential. It took 30 years for the rich to get income, estate and capital gains tax rates halved. It took decades of putting oligarch-favoring judges on federal benches to allow oligarchs to simply buy elected officials on the open market. Hollowing out the richest nation on earth for their own benefit takes time....dontchaknow.
And as small and modest as the Ryan-Murray budget proposal is.....it still accomplishes more of what oligarchs desire than not. That, I think, is a prime example, however small it is, of how our nation is continually pushed to the right.
Teanuts in Congress will most likely vote against the budget proposal. in the Broken House that Boehner built....it might take Democratic votes to pass the Ryan-Murray proposal. What House Democrats should do in that case is demand the extension of unemployment benefits before passage. Democrats are already signaling they won't do that.
And so....conservative economic policy, although a proven failure and still unpopular with Americans, will once again move the country a bit further to the right.
At a time when more government spending, not less, is the only compassionate and intelligent path forward.....elected officials are planning on passing a budget bill which will cut more spending over the long term and abandon 1.3 million unemployed in the short term.
Yes, it could be worse. But this proposal, even if ever so incrementally, moves us further to the right.
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