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Blog of Mass Destruction

Cutting Spending Makes Matters Worse

By The Reverend Published: November 1, 2011

Should the Super-Cartoon-Characters on the Super Committee fail to come to a consensus by Thanksgiving, automatic cuts to discretionary government spending will go into effect. While entitlements are excluded from the automatic cuts, defense spending is not.

That reality is now being taken seriously by Republicans. Up until now, Republicans have encouraged cutting government spending at every turn. All spending except defense spending, that is. Some Republicans have paid lip service to cutting defense spending...but as a rule, Republicans have resisted any serious cuts in defense spending. Defense spending has doubled from 2001. We now spend approximately $700 billion per year on defense.

Now the Party of Hypocrisy, and the rich, is starting to whine about what will happen if the Super Dupes can't reach an agreement on spending cuts and/or increased revenues....and those automatic defense spending cuts kick in....

“What’s more, cutting our military—either by eliminating programs or laying off soldiers—brings grave economic costs,” wrote Chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA) in a Wall Street Journal op-ed last week. “[I]f the super committee fails to reach an agreement, its automatic cuts would kill upwards of 800,000 active-duty, civilian and industrial American jobs. This would inflate our unemployment rate by a full percentage point, close shipyards and assembly lines, and damage the industrial base that our warfighters need to stay fully supplied and equipped.”

“Should another $600 billion in cuts come to pass, at least 200,000 pink slips could be delivered to active-duty warfighters; at least 13 percent of our servicemembers will be forced out,” wrote Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA) in Stars And Stripes last week. “Another 200,000 job losses will come to Department of Defense civilians working at installations across the country. We would be asking 1 in 4 highly skilled defense civilians to leave service.”

In other words, Republicans are admitting that if government cuts spending, in this instance cuts in defense.....many, many people will lose jobs. Unemployment would increase. Buck McKeon is clearly stating that in a severe recession like we're in now, with high unemployment, low interest rates, and a lack of demand....cutting government spending will make things worse. More jobs will be lost, unemployment will increase, demand further reduced. The downward spiral will continue.

Of course, this has been The Reverend's complaint from the beginning of the singing by the debt and deficit fetishists over cutting government spending right now. Any cuts in government spending RIGHT NOW only makes national economic matters worse. It is impossible, laughable really, to think economic expansion will result from austerity measures....yet up until Republicans noticed defense spending might be cut......it's as if this expansionary austerity nonsense was our solution to very high unemployment and low demand.

Naturally, Republicans have been faking it up until now. They do that a lot. Pretend.

Defense sector jobs are no different from any other government jobs....teachers, police, EMT's, social workers, etc....as far as the economy is concerned. If cutting defense jobs would mean higher national unemployment and a negative ripple effect for the economy.....it is also true that cutting jobs in education, law enforcement and safety...or Head Start, or the food stamp program, or aid to dependent children,...or any government program, will also mean higher national unemployment and a negative ripple effect for the broader economy.

Up until now, Republicans have been totally silent on the negative impact to our economy from the slashing of government spending that they insist on.....and take hostages over. Republicans have viewed reduced government spending during our deep recession as the path back to prosperity. That has always been ridiculous. Worse than laughable. Of course cutting government spending in the middle of the worst recession in 80 years will only make matters worse.

Thanks Republicans for finally agreeing with The Reverend on this most important issue. It's about time.

Perhaps now...as Brian Beutler of TPM mentions....high profile Republicans like Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) and Speaker Boehner (R-OH) will change their tunes.

Earlier this year Cantor crowed of the Republican vision of a "Cut & Grow" economy. Oxymorons must have been on sale that day.

Hensarling was even more embarrassing. Hensarling complained that Democrats failed "to produce any credible plans to cut spending in order to grow the economy." That would be because there is no way to grow the economy during a low demand period by cutting government spending. Cutting government spending, as Republican McKeon finally recognized about defense cuts....makes economic matters worse.

But then there is always the Tan Man from West Chester, Ohio. Earlier this year during one of the three GOP hostage taking standoffs, Boehner was confronted with the question of...cutting government spending equaling fewer jobs...which he responded to by saying, "If some of those jobs are lost, so be it."

I wonder if, "so be it", will be Boehner's view of lost defense sector jobs.

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