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Monday, February 25, 2013

Note to GOP: When You Cheer on Sequestration, You Own It

Orrin Hatch
I'd imagine that one of the many problems with being a Republican is that lying wears on your conscience. And even if you're a conscienceless sociopath, it rubs at your psyche. After all, you believe your views are correct, but you also know they're unpopular. You'd just feel so much better if everyone agreed with you. So every once in a while, you tell the truth -- just to test the waters. This almost never works out well for them. In the political world, a Republican telling the plain, unvarnished truth almost always comes across as a gaffe. When you're punished for telling the truth, you don't do it often.

So take a lookie here. It's a rare thing:

Salt Lake Tribune:

..."I’m for sequestration," [Sen. Orrin] Hatch said, if Congress can’t cut spending. "We’ve got to face the music now, or it will be much tougher later."

With across-the-board spending cuts set to kick in next week, Hatch said sequestration would lead to an economic disaster in Utah as two-thirds of civilians working at Hill Air Force Base would be furloughed. He said it would be "devastating to our nation’s readiness."

It's not a lot of work to unpack the argument here; it's pretty plain. Sequestration will be "devastating to our nation’s readiness" and "lead to an economic disaster" -- so hell yeah, let's do it! And he's not the only one. There's a pretty good list of examples of GOP truth-telling over at PoliticusUSA, but few are as clear about the consequences as Hatch's "we have to burn the village to save it" argument.

Republican leadership may be trying to wash their hands of sequestration by arguing it was the president's idea, but what the party members say shows that this sort of blame-laying is as irrelevant as it is dishonest -- the sequester will happen because a lot of Republicans want it to happen. When you say things like, "I'm for sequestration," while the president's saying we need to avoid it, you own it. It's yours.


Republicans are fixated on cutting spending in order to avoid raising taxes on the top 1%. But at this point any pretense of sound economic stewardship is out the window. Republicans like Hatch are arguing -- quite plainly and without shame -- that they're not just willing to see the economy go down in flames, but that they want it to go down in flames. Then they get the deep cuts they want and avoid raising taxes on millionaires and billionaires.

Follow their logic here: they've argued that raising taxes on the very wealthy would be bad for the economy. So their argument now is that they have to wreck the economy or raise taxes, which will wreck the economy. There is no continuity in their reasoning, which means that the things they say about taxes and the economy are an ever-evolving rationalization, not fact-based arguments. If they weren't, Republicans wouldn't wind up with contradictions like this. They aren't interested in the economy, they're interested in protecting the wealthy from taxation. The party that shrieks about elitism is firmly in the pocket of the actual elites.

And what does this say about the party of "patriots," wrapped in the flag, outraged that the Pledge of Allegiance isn't recited everywhere, every ten minutes, and shocked that the nation isn't covered in flag lapel pins? It says that their patriotism is as phony as you've always known. When you're arguing that we have to destroy the economy and hurt military readiness in order to protect a handful of very rich Americans from paying their fair share, you get to STFU about how patriotic you are. I mean, for chrissakes, Hatch admitted he was for harming America.

How much more clear do you need this to be? Republicans are not operating in the nation's interest, but in the interest of the elites. Who cares if you lose your job or your community cuts back on police and fire? What's really important is that a tiny cluster of very rich people don't see an increase in taxes -- an increase, by the way, that would affect their lifestyles not at all. They'd still have penthouse pools and private jets and watches that cost more than you make in a month. The very rich would still be very rich.

But serving the nation is not what that tiny gaggle of tycoons are paying the GOP to do. So that's not what the GOP is doing. They're actively crashing the economy, while shouting from the rooftops that they want to do it.

And they still say it'll all be President Obama's fault? That little pack of American aristocrats must've bought their pet party a huge, golden pair of balls.


[image sources Michael Jolley, benwatts ]

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